Hove Fire Brigade Receives its New Fire Engine, 18th September 1929

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.

Members of Hove Fire Brigade with the vehicle PN 4119, c1930. Credit: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Members of Hove Fire Brigade with the vehicle PN 4119, c1930. Credit: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Display of Hove Fire Brigade’s vehicles at their Hove Street base, c1930, including the newly purchased PN 4119 furthest right. Credit: James Gray Collection | The Regency Society
Display of Hove Fire Brigade’s vehicles at their Hove Street base, c1930, including the newly purchased PN 4119 furthest right. Credit: James Gray Collection | The Regency Society

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.

Facsimile copy of the order note detailing the vehicle supplied by Dennis Brothers to Hove on 18 September 1929. Credit: Alexander Dennis Ltd.
Facsimile copy of the order note detailing the vehicle supplied by Dennis Brothers to Hove on 18 September 1929. Credit: Alexander Dennis Ltd.

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.

Volunteers Tony Brooks and Ken Towner with Cllr David Smith aboard the fire engine in the Royal Pavilion Gardens marking its 80th birthday in July 2009. Credit: Hannah Brackenbury / Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Volunteers Tony Brooks and Ken Towner with Cllr David Smith aboard the fire engine in the Royal Pavilion Gardens marking its 80th birthday in July 2009. Credit: Hannah Brackenbury / Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

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 on display at Amberley Museum in West Sussex, July 2019. Credit: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
The vehicle on display at Amberley Museum in West Sussex, July 2019. Credit: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

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

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