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A Blast From the Past 1902

Why Sevenoaks Urban Council want to buy the old steamer is not known but it has certainly divided the town and many letters have already appeared in the Sevenoaks Chronicle.

One of them is signed by the men of the Ready Brigade. "Sir, we the superintendent, engineer and firemen of the Ready Volunteer Brigade having heard indirectly that our engine has been sold to Sevenoaks UDC, and not having heard anything from our captain, decided to have a meeting in the engine house. Greatly to our disappointment and sorrow we found a new padlock on the door which prevented us from entering. As we are all still willing to volunteer our services we think we are justified in asking for an explanation."
Still no explanation has been received and it is likely now that the Sevenoaks Ready Volunteer Brigade will be consigned to history.


A rather similar fate has overtaken the gallant men of Maidstone Volunteer Brigade. In the last two years the Kent Fire Office Brigade has been taken over by the Royal Insurance and their steamer .presented to the Maidstone Borough Corporation. Long discussions have been held over the formation of a Borough Fire Brigade but no?one has bothered to ask the volunteers for their expert opinion.
The Maidstone Borough Brigade is now in existence and all the Volunteers' appliances have become the property of the Corporation. The Volunteers have been invited to apply to join the new brigade ,but all have refused!

September: To the great consternation of the people of Sevenoaks, the local fire brigade,affectionately known throughout the district as The Ready Volunteer Brigade ,has been disbanded after a massive row with the local council.
The trouble first began a few months ago when the town's only fire engine was secretly sold to the council, without any consultation with the officers and men of the brigade.

The money to buy the engine, a fine steamer called "The Ready ", was raised by public subscription in 1882 and fo 20 years it has bee the pride of Sevenoaks;
in fact the volunteer firefighters with 12 officers and men have dealt with hundreds of fires and won prizes for good work throughout the district.

January: Gravesend Grammar School for boys has been opened in Pelham Road.
An outbreak of smallpox in London and north Kent has prompted doctors to warn that only public support for a vaccination programme will halt the epidemic. The number of victims has risen to 2,273.
February: A petition signed by 37,000 women textile workers has been presented to Parliament demanding votes for women.
The Royal Sailors' Home has been opened in Upper Barrier Road, Chatham and partly financed by the Admiralty. The large military presence in Chatham is influencing the way in which the town is developing. A large number of clubs and institutions are being opened all designed to meet the off duty needs of both "Tommy Atkins" and "Jack Tar".
March 18th: Harold Apted has been hanged at Maidstone Prison for the murder of Frances 0'Rourke, aged seven ofVauxhall Road, Tonbridge.
April: North Kent fire?fighters have been called to the City of London to help quell a massive blaze which threatens to destroy more than 30 factories, warehouses and shops in the Barbican.
June 1st: The Boer War has ended. At midnight last night the Boer leaders signed the terms of surrender in the presence of Lord Kitchener.
June 10: The Chatham and District Light Railway Company has opened its tram service with routes to Chatham Cemetery, Chatham Dockyard and Gillingham (Victoria Bridge/Pier Road via Brompton or Jeezrels).
June 24th: King Edward has been admitted to hospital for an appendix operation. The Coronation, due to take place at Westminster Abbey in two days time has been postponed.
August 12th: The Ramsgate fishing smack ldalia has been lost on the Kentish Knocke sands in a fearful gale.
August 9th: King Edward VI Ihas been crowned at Westminster Abbey before most of the monarchs of Europe. Our new King is aged 59 and a grandfather.
October 4th: Kitchener has visited Chatham and been presented with the Freedom of the Borough. He dined with the officers of the Royal Engineers at the Mess, before his departure to India the next day.
October 29th: The old viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham has now been demolished to make way for the fine new viaduct, opened today amid much acclamation. It took a year to completeand, thanks to the use of iron girders, a much greater span has been created. The greatest beneficiary will be the newly opened Chatham and District Light Rail Company whose trams will shortly pass underneath.
October 30th: A tram, out of control, ran down Westcourt Street, Chatham and into the Police Quarters where it turned over. The tram has been in operation for just four months and was carrying 70 men from Old Brompton to the dockyard. One person died and several were injured.