Matlocks UDC Fire Brigade, 1925-30
|People who lived in the Matlocks
: Photographs, Postcards, Engravings & Etchings
The idea of a Volunteer Fire Brigade for Matlock was first suggested
in 1882 but it was
not until 1889 that a fire engine bought by private subscription
and John Nuttall, was appointed captain of the Local Board's Fire
Brigade. When the
Fire Brigade first started the apparatus consisted of an old hand
manual, but this was superceded by a horse-drawn steam engine and
then the modern motor engine shown above.
They were based at the Town Hall for many years
and the team was made up of one officer and about eight to ten
men in the early years. In 1903 the Fire Brigade's personnel were
the Foreman, Sam Platts,
and the firemen Herbert
Hodgson, R. Taylor,
J. Reader, H. Dunn, A
Swift, A. Froggatt,
W. Allen, R. Smith, Frank White and George
Merrington Porter (the coloured links go to their 1901 census
entry, where known).
When the newly amalgamated Matlocks Urban District Council decided
to purchase a new and up to date motor fire engine in 1925, costing
about £1,100, they approached Wirksworth Council to see if they
would be prepared to pay a retaining fee of £30.
The Matlocks Council agreed to give the old manual fire engine
to the committee of St. Andrew's Boys' Home for the
lads to use and decided to advertise the steam fire engine the
sale which they subsequently sold for £53.
In this photograph the Matlocks UDC Fire Brigade were kitted out
in macintoshes and sou'westers, with wellingtons protecting their
feet. Some of them appear to be standing in water, so it is likely
they had been pumping out flooded buildings on one of the occasions
when the river had burst its banks.
The picture almost certainly includes Mr. Samuel Platts,
who had been a member of the Brigade from its inception and
was captain from 1923 until he retired in 1932.
He was probably on of the two men wearing a trilby. During his
time as a fire officer he'd attended the Royal
Hotel and Glove
Factory fires in Matlock Bath.
There are more photographs of the fire brigade in the Vernon
Lamb Archive. See the section on Matlock
Photograph taken by [Harry] Gill, Smedley St. W., Matlock. Image
supplied by and copyright © Glynn Waite collection.
Researched by and © Ann Andrews. Intended for personal use only.
links go to on site transcripts):
Times and Chesterfield Herald",
25 November 1882.
 "The Derby Mercury, 11 September
1891 Directory, Officials (Matlock, Public Establishments)
| Kelly's 1908 Directory,
Public Establishments) | Kelly's
1916 Directory, Officials (Matlock, Public Establishments)
| Kelly's 1925 Directory mentions Sam Platts as the captain
and the brigade were still based at Town Hall in 1932.
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
7 November 1938. Funeral of Mr. Samuel Platts, aged 72 of Sycamore
Road, Matlock, formerly the captain of Matlock Fire Brigade.
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
17 October 1903. George Merrington Porter, who had been a member
of the Fire Brigade since its inception, had died at Matlock Green,
aged 54, on Thurs 8 Oct. The men of the Fire Brigade had intended
to carry their late comrade's coffin, but "Mr.
Joseph Allen of Matlock Bridge, whose hearse was there in connection
with Mr Brookhouse's funeral, kindly offered its use".
 "Derby Daily Telegraph", 18
August 1925 and 23 June 1925.
 "Derby Daily Telegraph", 9
February 1926 (decision) and 16 November 1926 (sale).
 They were on hand when the river flooded.
For example, the "Derby Daily Telegraph" of 05 September
1931 carried a story about flooding in Matlock when the firemen had
put out fires in Matlock gasworks, and the Matlock fire engine was
busy pumping away flood water in order to ensure a supply gas to