At last the day had arrived! On Wednesday 22nd November 2017 at exactly 12.00, TL 240FLM returned to the London Fire Brigade at Romford Fire Station in North East London. The three years of endeavour by the small but very dedicated team of restorers ensured that she looked in tip top condition for the event and although suffering a tyre failure on the drive down from Cambridgeshire (a heart stopping moment for Colin Farrington the driver and the accompanying support vehicles driven by Trevor Barnwell and Peter Russell), she continued at a reduced pace but still met her deadline.
Arriving at the newly built Harold Hill Fire Station about 10 minutes from journeys end, the appliance was met by other group members where she was partially “dressed” and crewed by Mike West and Pete Weight wearing appropriate gear for her service period.
The duty watch at Harold Hill generously provided tea and coffee to the guests meeting there as well as the members making up the transport convoy which included Trevor Barnwell and Peter Russell. After a short pit stop, 240FLM resumed her journey to F38 Romford Fire Station which fortunately was only a short distance away.
Arriving at her final destination bang on time, she was met by an enthusiastic collection of group members and representatives of the LFB including Station Manager Colin Digby, Group Commander Paul Hobbs and station personnel from F36 Romford.
The assembled crowd quickly gathered and got “hands on” with 240FLM, questions asked and answered, incidents re-lived, stories told, and tales of fires fought were exchanged and compared.
Before moving her into her new home in the centre bay at Romford, the team got her to work with a brief but memory evoking demonstration and the “click click” of the pawls dropping over the rounds brought smiles to many, because that sound is synonymous with mechanical turntable ladders.
Amongst the visitors on the day were two of the original builders of 240FLM from 1963 at the Merryweather factory in Greenwich, South East London.
Vaughan Turney and Bill Chandler, Vaughan had been involved with the fitting of the wings and other bodywork as well as manufacturing some of the footplates for the jacks and Bill was one of the original fabricators of the actual ladders.
An absolute privileged to have them both there for this historic occasion.
Bill (Left) and Vaughan share a tale or two.
Once the photos had been taken in the rear yard the appliance was relocated to the front of the station for a curtain call and further photos. Finally she was moved inside where a short presentation was given by group Chairman, Peter Russell, including presenting certificates to some of the restoration team.
The group extends heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Dany Cotton all those involved both during the planning phase and on the day at both Harold Hill and Romford Fire stations. We are indeed fortunate to be given this rare privilege and greatly appreciate what it means both to retirees and serving members of the LFB. A piece of history has been saved and we look forward to being able to share this iconic vehicle with Firefighters both young and old.