THE former Blackburn Fire Station is now a listed building, the Lancashire Telegraph can reveal.
Historic England has given the Byrom Street building, and nearby drill yard wall, a grade II designation, seven years after firefighters moved out.
Conservationists believe that the classically-influenced landmark, designed by Walter Strirrup of Blackburn and built by Messrs Marshall and Dent, is a fine early example of a fire station which was specifically built with motorised appliances in mind.
The listing adds: “It is an imposing complex with an impressive composition and design symbolising civic pride and encompassing Greek Revival and Baroque influences to dramatic effect, including an 80ft-high drill tower.
“It is an interesting example of a self-sufficient brigade headquarters incorporating fire, police and ambulance services, domestic accommodation, stables, stores and workshops.”
The heritage organisation says that many of the building’s original functions can still be determined from the current-day building, despite some later alterations. and it “retains its historic character”
Today the old fire station has been converted into business units, and serves as offices for Rummage Rescuers among others. Its replacement stands just yards away, near Wainwright Bridge.
The announcement is just the latest instalment in the storied history of the fire brigade in Blackburn, which can trace its roots back to the late 18th century and a fledgling squad of 17 firemen.
What could be considered the first modern fire station was housed in Engine Street, close to the town hall. But with the incorporation of the borough in 1851, the provision of improved facilities was considered a top priority. This led to the construction of a purpose-built station in Clayton Street, which was opened in 1865.
Later the standing brigade would be disbanded, as the Blackburn Police fire brigade came into being, with horse-drawn engines replacing the original steam appliances.
Land off Byrom Street was identified for the outfit’s new home and the local authority was allocated funding to lay the foundations in 1915. Work was eventually completed on the project in 1921.
The station had an engine house, an 80-foot tower for drills, a switchboard room, mechanics workshop, an ambulance house, stables for the mounted police and accommodation for the two first officers, as well as a concert room and recreation room.
Thirty-seven homes were also established around the perimeter for firefighters and their families.