Framed. Gala firemen present restored pump. ( Feb. 1982)
Framed. Gala firemen present restored pump. ( Feb. 1982)

Pictured outside Galashiels fire station in Abbotsford Road in February 1982 are local firefighters, members of the Lothian and Borders Fire Board, plus representatives of Borders Health Board.

The occasion was the completion of restoration work by firemen on a trailer pump which once formed part of the firefighting equipment at Peel Hospital. The pump had been bought in 1939 when an emergency wartime hospital consisting of wooden huts was established in the grounds of Peel House, near Caddonfoot.

When hostilities ended and the National Health Service was founded, Peel would remain the general hospital for the region until the opening of Borders General Hospital in 1988.

The hospital – in both its wartime and peacetime role – had its own firefighting equipment to be used until crews arrived from stations such as Galashiels, Selkirk, Melrose and Innerleithen.

The pump was handed over to Edinburgh councillor James Cook, chairman of the joint fire board, by Robert Pellow, the fire officer at Peel Hospital. He’s pictured with Borders members of the board – Councillor Joe Boyle of Galashiels and Bill Douglas from Hawick – together with some of the Galashiels firemen who restored the pump to working condition.

The pump was taken to Edinburgh where it was put in the Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade museum attached to the brigade’s HQ at Lauriston.

The museum charts the history of the fire service in the area which began when Edinburgh formed the first municipal fire brigade in the United Kingdom under Master of Fire Engines James Braidwood in 1824. But some of the exhibits on show date from firefighting during the 1400s.

Some of the exhibits have featured in screen films and television programmes, including the Battle of Britain and Dr Finlay’s Casebook.

– compiled by Bob Burgess