A beautiful Victorian fire appliance which was stored in one of the outbuildings at Oswestry Fire Station will soon be on public display at the British Ironwork Centre.
Although it remains the property of Oswestry Town Council, the Mayor, Councillor John Price Jones, will officially welcome it at its new location on March 12.
Research by the Oswestry Family and Local History Group found that originally the fire engine was purchased from the London company Shand, Mason and Co. and was designed to be drawn by two horses and carry a crew of up to 12 men. The company had exhibited engines at the 1851 Great Exhibition and this particular model, fitted with self-locking levers, a patent swing-bar arrangement, improved brakes and copper lamps, had been awarded first prize at an exhibition held in Edinburgh in 1886.
During the summer of 1886, Mrs. Wynne Corrie of Park Hall held a fete at her home, which raised the sum of about £100. Private subscriptions collected by Mr. Buller Swete supplemented this fund making it possible to buy the engine for the town in order to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of Queen Victoria’s ascent to the throne.
On Saturday 12th March 1887 at the Powis Hall, Oswestry, Mrs. Wynne Corrie, who was well-known in the area for her philanthropy, was invited to name the engine “The Park Hall” and break a bottle of champagne over it. Many towns and cities marked the Queen’s Golden Anniversary by buying fire engines and, at the start of June, “The Park Hall” together with 12 volunteer fire men including their captain Henry Titus Wakelam, who was also Oswestry Town’s engineer, travelled to Oxford to take part in a procession consisting of about 50 engines from all over the country.
“The Park Hall” first went into action at a stack fire in Haughton in September 1887.
The Ironworks have already prepared space for the appliance and it has been cleaned and freshly painted. Additionally, the Ironworks have prepared a giant story board for all spectators to learn about the machine’s history. The engine will be able to be viewed at the British Ironwork Centre by the public, where it will proudly remain a wonderful piece of Oswestry heritage and history for all of the world to see.