The need for water for the fires must have been a problem as the fire station was located at the highest point of the Quarter.
In 1984, when researching for Heritage items for Hockley Flyer No.3, I was told by Mr Fletcher, himself for many years a fireman at Albion Street Fire Station: and since his retirement, a janitor at a Birmingham Fire Station, that, not only was Albion Street Fire Station the busiest in Birmingham, but in fact it was the busiest in the whole Country. The firemen worked a ’24 hour on – 24 hour off’ shift in those days and during a normal working shift expected an average of 23 ‘call-outs’. It was the general feeling that after a period of working at Albion Street a man could work at any station in the Country.
Hockley was notorious for being a ‘high-risk’ area because of the back-to-back houses and the rabbit-warren which comprised the Jewellery Quarter in those days. Also there were many small engineering companies and as there were practically no safety regulations, the firemen at that time were always being ‘called-out’ to remove men from machinery.
During the first years the fire engines from Albion Street were horse-drawn vehicles and there were stables, hay-lofts, etc and also extensive living accommodation for the firemen.
It is an interesting fact that the father of the occupier in 1986 (Cambrian Garage) actually worked for the builder who built the station!
This fire station always worked in close co-operation with Kenyon Street Police Station during these years and used to help the police by providing ladders, etc when needed, very often to remove burglars from roof-tops, which was a popular means of entering workshops to rob them, and as a means of escape. Many fire-fighters from all over the country spent time at this station as part of their training experience.
When Cambrian Garage vacated the property, it was taken over by ‘Busy Bee’ Nursery and the steam traction engine by that name used to steam up from The Science Museum in Newhall Street to visit the children, much to their excitement.
The Fire Station is Grade 2 Listed Fire Station building is still there today. The Birmingham Coat of Arms is still in position, also the Fire Bell – imagine the excitement of the local children when the Fire Bell rang and the horse-drawn engines came flying out of the Station!
The Fire Station is situated on the ‘Dayus Square’ in Albion Street.
Source: Jewellery Quarter Heritage 2016
Laying the Foundation Stone
It was mid-December in 1909 when on a bitterly cold day: ‘Councillor T Brown, Chairman of the Birmingham Fire Brigade Sub-committee, laid the foundation stone of a new fire station in Albion Street, the fourth in the scheme to provide the city with well-equipped stations.
The Lord Mayor, prior to the stone-laying ceremony, said the jewellery district was, unfortunately, one in which many fires occurred, and the contents of the buildings were very valuable indeed.
Mr A R Tozer, the Chief Officer, then presented to Councillor Brown a suitably inscribed silver trowel, with which the stone was laid.
Subsequently, there was a pleasant ceremony in the Station parade ground, where the Lord Mayor christened one of the new engines ‘Sam Edwards’ and Chief Officer Tozer, on behalf of the Brigade, presented to the worthy alderman an illuminated address in appreciation of his services as a member of the Watch Committee during the past 26 years. These marks of esteem Alderman Edwards spoke of as the crowning compliment of his life.’
Source: Evening Post Dec 11 1909