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Eileen Bailey (nee Wood) 2007
Fire Station Visit

Lately used as a Nursery school
The datestone above the main door way
The Fires Station in Newton Road
Firemen in the 1950s in their uniform
North End School in Hayway - previously the Intermediate
Date stone & Fire team 1950s
The old Fire Station

It was a fine day as I recall, on the day our class was taken for a visit to the Fire Station in Newton Road. Leaving our school, North End Secondary Modern as it was called in those times, we were marched along in double file with our teacher. I am not sure which of our teachers came with us but I think it was Miss Thornton, who was our tutor at the time. I always liked Miss Thornton, she was very friendly and she always seemed happy to be in our company. I hadn't been at the school very long and was a shy child being very thin and small for my age. After some jibes when in the changing rooms I  was embarrassed that I didn't have the 'shape' of most of the others. So I kept myself to myself until I made some very good friends who still remain friends to this day. I was walking with my new found friends on that day, Jean Eyre, Olive Kitchener and Ruth Masters. We eventually reached the station and were invited inside by a nice young fireman. Some of the girls were making eyes at him, giggling and wriggling about. Needless to say he ignored them and took us around the station, allowing anyone who wished, to slide down the pole one after the other. If I remember correctly the engines were out that day so we couldn't climb on them which he apologised for. He showed us where they made their tea, and where they slept when on duty. Showed us the uniforms hanging in the little back room, then we were all taken out into the back yard to see the many different types of methods to put out a fire. They ran the hose, which caused much laughter as you can imagine. We all began to feel it wasn't as boring as we initially thought it might be. Our fireman guide then fetched an extinguisher from inside asking if anyone would like to put out a fire. If we had been boys I suppose this would have been a hard choice, but no one wanted to be responsible. 

Firstly another fireman came through and they lit fires and put them out to show us the different methods. While the fireman was lighting a fire in a contained area, our teacher smiled and said; 'Ok, come on girls, someone must want to do this'. She laughed at all of us, standing there like dummy's and then said, 'Ok, lets make it easy, whoever wants to do this, just take a step forward.' Guess what everyone, took a step backwards, even my friends, and there I was, stuck out front like a sore thumb. I could hear the giggles behind me, but glaring at my new found friends, I walked bravely over to the fireman who handed me the extinguisher. He had his hand over mine to ensure I knew what I was doing and then the others realised that little me, quiet and mousy Eileen Wood, had managed to get closer to the fireman then they had. I put out the fire with a flourish, received congratulations from the firemen and my teacher, then we all left the station and walked back to school. My friends apologised and said they wished they had been brave enough to do the job, and told me they were quite envious.......

I lived off that little adventure for weeks. It also helped me cure some of my childish embarrassment. And as I passed, the station on my way home, I often saw the fireman, who used to nod and smile in my direction. Needless to say I used that well over the next few weeks...... 

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