Basingstoke Volunteer Fire Brigade
The arrangements for fire-fighting in the town before the creation of Basingstoke Volunteer Fire Brigade are unclear. An inventory of the goods inside Basingstoke church taken by the churchwardens in May 1728, listed a fire engine with 16 buckets. Also potentially of use in fire-fighting was the “cradle for mending the tower” and two ladders. This indicates that the cost of purchasing and maintaining the engine might have been met from church rates. An account of a fire in the town later that year refers to “the playing of two Engines” and the use of firehooks. It is not clear whether the second engine was owned by the town, or by a Fire Insurance Company.
A fire brigade was established in 1838 to serve Basingstoke and the surrounding villages. It was resolved that the engine would be sent to any parish in the vicinity of Basingstoke in the event of fire if the messenger brought a written undertaking signed by a responsible inhabitant of the parish confirming they would pay £2 for each engine required and all the expenses attending the conveyance.
Content derived during research for the new VCH Hampshire volume, Basingstoke and its surroundings.