This fireman’s helmet, from the early 20th century, is made from papier-mache. They were typically better for identification purposes than protection! Stronger brass helmets were also used, but as these conducted electricity, they were normally only worn at ceremonies.
Leather helmets, which were a lot safer, eventually replaced both. Phew!
Firefighting has been known in Market Harborough since 1679 when water was pumped manually from the Folly Pond, next to the present day fire station on Fairfield Road.
In 1870 a volunteer fire brigade was created with horse-drawn fire engines. But by the end of WWII locally organised fire brigades like this had been merged into the National Fire Service.
In 1903, a new fire station was built on Abbey Street which you can still see today with its distinctive red doors and polished tiles. Since the current fire station on Fairfield Road opened in 1989, the Abbey Street building has been home to a variety of businesses.