Lees Fire Brigade

When a gathering of local businessmen and members of the council met at the Red Lion in 1819 it was decided to purchase a fire engine. The fire engine was built by a London firm, Messrs Hopwood & Co., for £71 8s 1d and then cost £2 17s to bring it up from London. James Knott, a blacksmith, was appointed engineer and 6 others became the first firemen in Lees. They were instructed to practice 6 times a year. An engine house was built on land bought for £4 from Joseph Bracewell of Lees. This triangular piece of land could not have been in a more awkward position – a few yards up from Hey Lane (what is now Elliot St/ St John St). When there was a fire the fireman would commandeer any horse that appeared in view to pull the engine & the wagon would have to wait until the horse was brought back!

     James Knott - Head engineer, a blacksmith was requested to undertake the superintendence of

     the engine and keep it in thorough repair.

On the 5 October 1852 a second fire engine (Medlock) was purchased from Messrs Barlow & Co. for £143. The third fire engine (Ganges) came on 11 September 1855 and cost £115 from Barlow & Co.
During a fire at the Old Grot Mill in 1880 the “Medlock” engine caught fire!

Lees Fire Brigade was eventually disbanded in 1890.