Wednesday 18th September 2019 marks the day 90 years ago that Hove Borough Fire Brigade in Hove Street received its new PN 4119 reg fire engine from Dennis Brothers of Guildford.
Following its ‘call up’ into the National Fire Service in World War Two, the vehicle was used as a reserve appliance at Hove before transferring to Newhaven Fire Brigade. In 1952, it was sold to Baker Perkins Ltd., a manufacturer of food processing and printing equipment based in Peterborough, as their factory works vehicle. Here it was often used for drill practice on Sunday mornings at the local sports ground and apparently never gave any trouble.
In 1972, it was purchased by a Mr Hawkins who entered it into various competitions including the 1974 London to Brighton Historic Commercial Run and the Concours d’Elegance at Beaulieu at which it was a winner in 1976.
It later became part of the historic vehicle collection at Flambards Theme Park in Cornwall before returning to Hove, being repurchased by Hove Borough Council in 1995 with assistance from the Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material (PRISM) Fund.
During its time in Hove, it was garaged at Hove Fire Station in English Close off of Old Shoreham Road. It has been lent by Royal Pavilion & Museums to Amberley Museum in West Sussex since 2009 during which time it has made appearances at other historic vehicle events including the Goodwood Revival.
Much is owed to the commitment of Tony Brooks and Ken Towner who between them have volunteered over 40 years to maintain the appliance in good working order, enter it into historic vehicle events and share their historical knowledge of the appliance and the fire service.
The vehicle is currently on display in Amberley Museum’s 1950s inspired fire station where it can be viewed alongside other historic fire engines and appliances by enjoyed visitors.
Dan Robertson, Curator of Local History & Archaeology