Ernest Victor Clarke served as fireman at this station from 24th April 1906 until 18th May 1909.
John Charles Clarke was born on 2nd December 1908 at the Home for Mothers in nearby Wood Street and spent his first five months living in the terraced accommodation next to the station.
Woolwich is London’s second oldest Fire Station.
Thanks to the friendly fire man who invited us in to look round – sadly this station is to close later in 2013.
Grade II Listed.
Fire station, 1887, by Fire Brigade Branch of Metropolitan Board of Works, chief architect Alfred Mott, job architect Robert Pearsall; and c1910, by the Fire Brigade Branch of the London County Council Architects Department. Minor later alterations.
Stock brick with red brick and stone details; (renewed) tile roof with tall brick stacks.
Fire services in London emerged principally from the need for insurance providers to limit their losses through damage to buildings and property in the period after the Great Fire of 1666. Initially each insurer maintained a separate brigade that only served subscribers until the foundation of an integrated service in 1833, funded by City businesses. In 1866, following an Act of Parliament of the previous year, the first publicly-funded authority charged with saving lives and protecting buildings from fire was founded, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. Under its first Captain, Eyre Massey Shaw, the Brigade undertook an ambitious expansion programme of which a station at Woolwich, built near to the present station in 1868 but now demolished, was a part. By the 1870s, a distinctive fire station-type of identifiable, landmark building had emerged from the previous practice of adapting or emulating domestic buildings. The use of the Gothic style became more elaborate in the 1880s under the influence of MBW architect Robert Pearsall who, after 1889, headed the new Fire Brigade Section of the London County Council. Woolwich Fire Station of 1887, which replaced the earlier station, is a good example of Pearsall’s work and now quite rare as only a small number of his stations survive. Derived from the influential plan of Southwark Station, Woolwich is romantic in its detailing (which includes pinnacles, buttresses and terracotta decoration) and has a striking watchtower. Of other Pearsall stations Holborn, West Norwood, Kentish Town, Shadwell, North Kensington and Camden Town have all been demolished; only Tooley Street, Bishopsgate and Stoke Newington survive and all but the last are listed Grade II.
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