The Old Fire Station,
55 High Street, Brentford
Originally used as a fire station and now a Cuban bar downstairs and a Persian restaurant upstairs.
Grade II statutory listing;
In St Paul’s Conservation Area, Thames Policy Area
Opened on 22 February 1898 with much pomp and celebration; ticket-holders were able to see inside. It was designed by Nowell Parr, surveyor to Brentford Urban District Council, and cost about £3,000. Built 1896 on land bought from the Parish to a design of Nowell Parr by Barnes of Brentford who apparently offered to withdraw as they had underestimated by £300.
Faced with red terracotta Doulton tiles. Drill yard was to the east and the hose tower where leather hoses were hung to dry is still evident.
A horse-drawn steam pump was purchased by the Urban District Council in 1890, and was housed in the new fire station. The firemen used an escape, an extended ladder system, which they had to drag to the site of a fire, leaving them exhausted and unable to perform a rescue. A horse-drawn escape replaced it in 1906 and the first motor fire engine was bought in 1924.
The Fire Station was altered and refitted many times between the 1920s and 1950s until it closed in 1965; then it was used by the ambulance service until the 1980s. In 1990 it was Listed and it became a restaurant “The Old Fire Station” in 2003.
EH Listing description
Fire station, now office.
1897 by T H Nowell Parr for Brentford District Council, converted late C20.
Red brick in Flemish bond with terracotta dressings; imitation Welsh slate roof with crested terracotta ridge tiles. 2 storeys with 3-storey bay at rear. 3 bays below paired gables.
Chamfered plinth; moulded cornices and strings; moulded buttresses with decorative finials, to angles rising from ground floor impost level, and to gables which are set with decorative tiles.
Openings have late C20 glazing with glazing bars and quoined round arches; the 2 ground floor engine entrances have pilaster jambs with fluted capitals; quoined jambs to the three windows above; the outer windows linked to entrances below by broad, swept, corbels; foundation stone between entrances and plaque above with the legend ‘Fire Station’, and District’s coat of arms.
Truncated lateral stack to right return, left bay, rising above 3-light mullioned and transomed window with segmental pediment; on the right is window and door with 4 sashes over and another to taller rear bay; parapet with moulded strings and parapet.
Left return: taller rear bay has full-height round-arched window with keyed archivolt; round-arched doorway to its right, and two lst floor sashes; 2 truncated stacks breaking parapet.
Rear: central corbelled lateral stack (truncated) flanked by sashes which are segmental-arched on ground and 1st floors.
Interior: late C20 partitioning and mezzanine floor. At top of rear left bay (the escape and hose tower) are 12 rings in the ceiling from which hoses would have been hung.