Alan Haycocks, a former Brownhills firefighter, posted a remarkable image on Facebook last weekend, which shows Brownhills Fire Brigade in training on the grass in front of Holland Park bandstand in Brownhills in the early 1970s.
The image is interesting for a number of reasons, and not just the fantastic representation of brave local firemen honing their skills. This is the best photo I’ve ever seen of the bandstand, now long gone, that many will remember well. It also shows, behind the fire engine, the building that was Brownhills own morgue.
Alan Haycocks said of the image:
Firemen of blue watch practicing for Staffordshire Fire Brigade annual drill competition, probably around 1972/73.
We used this spot because, somewhere on there, is a ‘dummy hydrant’ which was installed for this very purpose.
We also remained on call via radio.
These are the guys who would work so hard fighting grassfires on the Common in the hot summers of 75 and 76, when most of the area from the railway embankment on Coppice Lane the A5 completely cleared of scrub.
Of course, a task for anyone with time to kill – is the dummy hydrant still there?
This image sits well alongside recent contributions from Godfrey Hucker, also a Brownhills fireman.
Thanks to Alan for such a wonderful, evocative image – if you can add anything, please do – either by commenting here or mailing me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.