Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page

Rules & Regulations of the Rushden Fire Brigade - 1888

Photograph of Rushden firemen after the fire at Cave's 1901
Firemen after Cave's fire 1901


1 This Brigade shall consist of a Captain, Foreman, Engineer, Sub-Engineer and eight Firemen, who shall be numbered 1 to 8 respectively, a Secretary and Treasurer. Persons only of good character shall be eligible to enter the Brigade and they shall be elected by a majority of the members present at a general meeting.

2. The business of the Brigade shall be conducted by a Committee consisting of three Lighting Inspectors of the Parish for the time being, the Captain, Foreman, Engineer, Secretary and two of the Firemen chosen by the Brigade; the Secretary and two Firemen to be elected annually at a general meeting of the Brigade, to be held in the Vestry Hall in the month of January.

3. Each member on joining will be furnished with an outfit consisting of Helmet, Cap, Tunic, Trousers, Belt and Axe and he shall subscribe his name to the Rules and Regulations of the Brigade in a book kept by the Secretary for that purpose in proof of his willingness to submit to all such Rules and Regulations and any alterations which may subsequently be made by the Committee and sanctioned by a majority of the Brigade.

4. Any member refusing or neglecting to attend a fire (to which the Engine is called out) without giving to the Committee a satisfactory reason for his absence, shall be fined a sum not exceeding ten shillings, or dismissed from the Brigade; and any member wishing to leave the Brigade shall give one clear month's notice (in writing) to the Captain of his intention to do so and shall deliver up his outfit with card of dates within fourteen days of such notice expiring.

5. The second Saturday in April, July and October shall be the dates of practice in wet drill for the Brigade (and as often as convenient to a majority of the members, practice in dry drill shall be held at the Engine House) the time shall be for wet drill, 4 p.m.; every Brigade man to have dates and times of meeting sent to his residence one week before the first practice in the year; any Brigade man not attending at the Engine House at the proper time shall be fined 6d, unless absence through illness or being unavoidably out of town.

6. Members must attend all Drills in Brigade Caps and submit to the discipline of and obey all orders given them by the Captain or Officer in command. The Committee shall have the power to fine or dismiss any member using improper or insubordinate language, or who may be found drunk or guilty of practical joking or disorderly conduct at any Drill or Fire, such fine not to exceed 2s. 6d.; any member wishing to report another for any such conduct must do so in writing to the Secretary within seven days of such conduct taking place and must be prepared to attend the next Committee meeting to support such charge; any member making a frivolous or false charge shall be fined not less than 2s. 6d. Smoking to be strictly prohibited at all times when the members are at Drill or attending a Fire.

7. The Captain must see that the Brigade have proper refreshments when they have been engaged on fatiguing duty for many consecutive hours and prevented from attending their meals. Spirituous liquor should never be used except in very urgent cases, experience having proved that great harm arises from the use of the same both to the lives of the Brigade and to the lives of others who may be in attendance.

8. The members of the Brigade are to understand that they are to take their orders only from the Captain or Officer in command and on no account to obey any order from other persons.



The moment an alarm of Fire is given, wherever it may be, he will repair to the spot with all possible speed and take command of the Force when there. He will be responsible for the general conduct of the Foreman, Engineer and Firemen under his charge. Immediately on the alarm of Fire every man except the Captain will proceed to the Engine House and the Foreman will number them off for duty so that on arriving at a Fire all may know their respective duties.


He will attend at Fires so as to render aid in case of injury, etc., either to the inmates of the house or to the Officers and men of the Brigade.


He will get the Engine to the spot as quickly as possibly and he will be responsible that everything required is taken, such as the Stand Pipe, Elbow Joint, Hydrant, Key, Fire Hooks, etc., etc,; he will also at a Fire obtain two separate gangs of men to pump the Engine, at which work he will see that they relieve each other every quarter of an hour. He will receive his orders and instructions from and make his report to the Captain, in whose absence he will take the command of the Force. He will have charge of the Engine and command of the section; he will be responsible that the Engine is in good order and will report to the Captain, in writing, any defect or disarrangement. His particular duties at a Fire are - to see that the Engine is placed as close to the supply of water as possible, to lock the fore-carriage of the Engine before it is worked, to remove the clips which keep the handles in a horizontal position and place these latter in proper order. His post is at the Engine, unless other orders are given him. He will give the word of command, viz.: - 'Get ready,' when ready, - 'Down with her,' and when the Fire or practice is over, 'Halt,' etc. He will keep an account of the time and of the names and number of men employed and not suffer idlers to stand about or interfere with the men pumping. Fire ropes should be used in keeping back a crowd.

If the Engine can be quickly drawn by hand to a Fire it will be better not to wait for horses but for all to lend a hand in dragging the Engine to the required spot. Should the distance be too great horses must be procured. The men must seat themselves on the Engine, Officers in front; even numbers on the right side and odd numbers on the left.

On arriving at the Fire the men will dismount and place themselves along the side of the engine from which they must not move until the Foreman gives the word of command.


He will hold and have the direction of the Branch Pipe which throws the stream of water upon the Fire. He will give orders for the requisite number of lengths of hose to be affixed to the Engine and carried in the direction of the fire. He will take from the box at the side of the Engine the Branch Pipe and attach the same to the hose. At a Fire he will receive orders from the Captain only; in the absence of the Foreman the Engineer will take command of the Engine leaving the Sub-Engineer to perform the duties of the Engineer.


He will carry 60 feet of strong rope slung by a belt from his shoulders or waist for hauling the hose to a building or other place. He will assist the Engineer in affixing the Branch Pipe and in carrying the same. He will take any message which may be required to be sent by the Engineer to the Captain, Foreman or other person.


On the words, 'Get ready,' by the Foreman No. 1 is to mount the Engine and give out the Cistern and the lengths of hose as they are required and afterwards to attend to the suction; he will also see that everything used is returned to its proper place in the Engine.

No. 2 is to receive the Cistern from No. 1 and convey it to the Plug, Hydrant or other source from which the water is supplied; when there he is to open it (if a canvas Cistern) ready for use and return it to its place after the Fire. He will also assist in fastening the hose to the Plug or Hydrant and in affixing the suction pipe.

No.3 is to get a short length of hose from No. 1, convey it to the Plug or Hydrant and affix it thereto allowing the other end to hang in the Cistern; he is also to take from No. 1 the stand pipe (or brass elbow joint if the water is obtained from a Hydrant) and assist the Turncock in fixing the same.

Nos. 4 & 5 will take one length of the hose from No. 1 and affix the same to the side of the Engine in the direction of the Fire, uncoiling the hose forward until No. 6 be met, when No. 5 will return to No. 1 for another length of hose if required and so on until sufficient lengths are obtained.

No. 6 is to take from No. 1 a length of hose and proceed with it to the end of the hose procured by Nos. 4 & 3; he will then assist No. 4 in fixing the coupling screws and return to the Engine for more hose if required.

Nos. 4, 5 & 6 will pay special attention to the hose and when the Fire is over are not to drag it along the ground but to carefully coil it up in lengths with the swivel screw outside and return it to No. 1 who will replace it in the Engine. No. 2 will return the Cistern.

No. 7 is to take from the side of the Engine the suction pipe and strainer; attach the suction pipe to the end of the Engine, affix the strainer to the end of the suction pipe and place the strainer in the cistern. He will disconnect the suction pipe and strainer when the Fire is over.

No. 8 will assist No. 7 in affixing the suction pipe and strainer as detailed above and will assist him to disconnect the same when the Fire is over.

The Engine being ready to work and a supply of water obtained, No. 1 will attend to the suction and assist the Turncock. The remainder of the Firemen are to assist in pumping until the Foreman has obtained sufficient persons to work the Engine; Nos. 4, 5, & 6 will then attend to the hose, stationing themselves along the line to prevent persons treading upon it, or otherwise damaging it; they will also be a reserve to be employed by the Captain or Foreman, as occasion may require. Nos. 2, 3, 7, & 8 are to exert themselves in every possible way to render assistance by rescuing property, pulling down buildings &c.

In taking up the pipes, &c., the same order is to be observed as in laying them down, the swivel, or female screw being kept outside after they have been rolled up; as they are first required in again connecting the hose care must be taken that the thread of the male coupling is preserved.


Nos. 7 & 8 will direct the Fire Escape when required. It consists of a main ladder about 33 feet high, fitted on the under side with a canvas trough in which persons may slide with ease and safety from a window to the ground; to this ladder is joined a second ladder which is raised by a rope and lever on each side. A detached ladder, 16 feet high, is carried under the main ladder and can well be used for first floor windows. The whole is mounted on a light carriage, with springs and high spoke wheels, forming part of the Escape which can easily be moved by two men.

Chairman of Lighting Inspectors.



Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the Fire, Police & Crime index
Click here to e-mail us