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Saturday, 2 April 2011

One Hundred Years of the British Fire Engine by Neil Wallington

'One Hundred Years Of The British Fire Engine' tells the story of how fire engines developed from early horsedrawn contraptions to today's advanced lifesaving vehicles. Starting with the first motorised fire engine, the 1903 Tottenham Merryweather, it reveals how competition between great British manufacturers including Dennis, Leyland and Bedford fuelled important innovations far beyond their ability to pump firefighting water such as turntable ladders and hydraulic platforms. It gives an account of how fire engines rose to the challenges of World War II and how the post-war period brought both the introduction of standard specifications for engines and the iconic Green Goddess. It also traces the decline of British makers in recent years, as foreign badges became an ever-more familiar sight in fire stations. As well as technical information, 'One Hundred Years Of The British Fire Engine' is full of fascinating facts and stories. Find out why firemen had to hold on tight until the 1930s, which fire service painted their engines yellow and how London taxis played their part during the Blitz. The author, Neil Wallington, had a distinguished thirty-year firefighting career and has written a number of other books, including 'Firemen At War', 'In Case Of Fire' and 'Great Fires Of London'. With many photographs of old fire engines both in preservation and in action, 'One Hundred Years Of The British Fire Engine' will appeal not only to fire service enthusiasts but to anyone interested in vintage vehicles. Its magnificent engines are a lasting monument to British engineering and invention, as well as to the brave firefighters who rode them. About the Author Neil Wallington had a distinguished thirty-year firefighting career and has written a number of books, including 'Firemen At War', 'In Case Of Fire' and 'Great Fires Of London'.

A perfect book for fire engine enthusiasts or firemen who wish to reminisce! The book is full of photographs, both black and white and colour, of fire engines over the past 100 years. The book begins with a concise historical overview of the development of fire engines, starting at the end of the nineteenth century where horse drawn and steam power engines were the order of the day, right up until the present day Volvo machines. Looking through the book is like a trip down memory lane for enthusiasts via the photographs. Neil Wallington has produced a book full of details and facts that will interest historians and fire service enthusiasts busy for hours. There is lots of technical detail included within the book, but does not detract from the history of the engines and the changes within the service as a whole. In the introduction, Wallington has admitted the book is not the definitive history of every make of fire engine but a personal celebration and general overview. It is evident through reading the book that Wallington has done much research and his love for the service is shown throughout the book. I recommend this book as a great gift for fire service enthusiasts and ex fire service personal everywhere. Thank you to Jeremy Mills Publishers Limited for sending me the book to review.

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