The mechanical team gathered at Romford today with the intention of changing the engine oil & filters and a provisional look at the the next task of changing the gearbox oil. Meanwhile others had arrived to start the installation of some of the fittings and accesories that will start to make 240FLM look original again.
With the necessary safety options in place, the drain plug was opened and a rather unpleasant looking volume of old engine oil appeared. No one actually knows when it was last changed as we hadn't done this since we purchased her, however, it quickly became apparent that this was a wise decision. The rest of the day was spent inspecting the general access and state of the mechanics in preparation for the forthcoming season.
Meanwhile, the other lads were busy installing the new roof aerial and running the cable from it back towards the radio pack which, if we can locate one, will be sited in its original position under the offside rear crew seat.
A fully restored original CTC ( Carbon Tetra Chloride) extinguisher and bracket were fitted in the correct location behind the drivers seat. 2 of the newly re-chromed grab handles were refitted in the front cab, much to everyone's relief, the hand bell was removed to allow for the replacement of the leather strap which had broken during one of our event days and the original remnants of the 4 chains that retain the female blank caps were removed to enable us to try and source replacements. All in and excellent days effort before christmas.
The waiting was over, the decision made, the funds approved and finally, the majority of the items needing re-plating were off to the factory! Although as a group we had decided from the beginning that 240FLM was not going to be restored to "Concourse" condition, we had always envisaged that she would look at least as good as when she was operational. Items which would detract from that look were always likely to be the shiniest parts and during the restoration it became apparent that the Francis searchlight, which sits very prominently on the cab roof, and the interior grab handles were probably going to be the items most in need of re chroming. As we had reached a suitable point, the hunt began for a company capable fof undertaking this work, which we had assumed would be straightforward. This was a wrong assumption though as most plating companies will not deal with cast brass items, which both the grab handles and blank cap are made of, and the quantity is rather small. It was a relief indeed when we did manage to locate a company near Stevenage in Hertfordshire willing and able to offer a full professional service. The items have now been returned and look fantastic, almost as new, and we look forward to installing them in the new year.
During the course of November, a number of working parties have taken place. The purpose was initially to seek to remove the differential so that a troublesome oil leak could be repaired. However, on the chosen day, an electrical issue meant that we were unable to relocate the appliance from Romford to a pre-agreed location nearby where we could have use of HGV ramps.
Undaunted, the team set about the next task of dealing with the removal of the rear brakes to assess the condition of the linings and other mechanical parts. Over a period of 4 weeks, the small team, working outside in all weathers, removed both sides, and sets, of wheels, brake drums, hubs and seals. A thorough inspection revealed that the hub seals were failing and the brake linings were heavily contaminated so the decision was made to replace all these parts. The brake shoes were relined and new seals installed.
This was an onerous task, made all the more difficult as most of the team are of a more mature age and the weather was not always very kind. However, a very determined and small group of members, led by Colin Farrington and Trevor Barnwell supported by Dave Porter, Steve Houston, Steve Lomas and other supporters got the job done.
With the first, and unexpectedly busy summer now firmly behind us, the team are preparing to get stuck into some much needed winter maintenance on 240FLM. In particular, the differential has developed a leak and Colin, Trevor and Steve Lomas have prepared plans to access it and install new seals and oil with support from other group members.
Other maintenance will include complete renewal of the brake linings and adjustment of the handbrake cable as well as general greasing of the grease points and perhaps an attempt to get the onboard pump working so that 240FLM can once again pump her own water supply to the monitor.
In addition to this, further restoration will carry on and we are hopeful of re installing the communications system between the operator console and head of ladder, bringing the cab to a complete finish ready for next year with the installation of new interior lights, original equipment such as the radio system and all the small gear normally found in the cab of a fire appliance. All the original equipment has now been sourced and restored where necessary and is ready for installation and if at all possible, the final fit of the dozens of rubber treads to the 3 moving extension rounds.
On the exterior, the foot lockers on both sides of the vehicle need final carpentry work such as door shuts and then the refitting of all the small gear brackets and clips, of which there are many! Once this is done, the final painting can take place and then the equipment can be restowed finally.
Recently, we have been very fortunate to have been contacted by retired members of the London Fire Brigade with offers of some very rare items applicable to 240FLM. As well as uniforms etc of the correct period and which will complement our project beautifully, there has also been donations of: 2 original "Certificates of Ownership" to be displayed in the cab window, both have the signatures of the Chief Officers of the LFB at the respective times and each covers a block period of 240FLM's service period. An original and much prized, unused London County Council appliance log book and incredibly, an original mechanical clock, complete with bracket to sit proudly in the vacant space above the centre of the windscreen and a super rare original radio speaker to match the radio pack.
One item of particular historic value has been the gifting of an original 1965 LFB vehicle inventory sheet specifically for this type of appliance. To date, we have had to rely on memory and hearsay but now with the definitive list we can conclude our search for equipment far more rapidly.
A very difficult to find LCC hand Controlled Branch was also gifted to us and after full restoration it is now in its correct colour ready to restow. All of this however is now only possible thanks to the London Fire Brigade for allowing us to keep 240FLM warm and safe back in a London Fire Station and our group members who continue to support both physically where possible and financially likewise this project.
For all of this we are so very grateful because without the generosity of like minded people, the project may well have failed before now at worst or been nowhere near close to completion as we actually are!
After 3 years of collecting and having many items donated, the stores of uniforms, clothing and personal gear are now established at Romford. It was important to have it adjacent to the appliance so that on show days we can easily grab what we need to take with us.
Gary Quinnell and Paul Schedler Davis took 240FLM out for a lovely sunny day at the Dartford Classic Car Show in Kent. On show were a lovely variety of vintage and more modern vehicles although our appliance was the only fire engine on show, this of course meant that she attracted a lot of attention. Another excellent day and more publicity for our project.
240FLM and her crew were absolutely delighted to have been invited to attend one of the best Fire Station open days held in recent years. The organisers had gone to extraordinary lengths to get a broad range of attractions signed up and these included the traditional " wet sponge throwing" at various peoples heads which brought huge amounts of laughter, a wonderful selection of restored fire appliances, some right up to date and operational London Fire Brigade appliances and various side stands depicting the historical and cultural aspects of the Fire Service in London. One vital ingredients was an Ice Cream van which did a roaring trade thanks to the beautiful weather.
240FLM was inundated with children and adults all wanting to experience the inside of a vintage appliance, something that the group are keen to encourage as the vast majority of restored vehicles rarely allow this type of "hands on" approach for obvious reasons which are completely valid and understandable. The owners will have spent many thousands of pounds and hundreds of hours bringing the vehicles back to life and maintaining them and many of the "on board" items are irreplaceable. Alongside the fire appliances there were live action displays, demonstrations of the modern equipment, local suppliers of services and face to face communications with serving and retired London Fire Brigade members. At the conclusion of the event, all the vintage appliances participated in a historic "Turn Out" for a brief drive down the road and back, a real sight to see and it stirred so many memories for so many people. As a group we had a wonderful time. Thankyou.
2 working parties were undertaken during August.
On Saturday 18th, Pete started the final push towards getting the front of the cab area painted whilst Graham Pearce set about the final part of restoring the “Fly ladder” brackets with new copper washers and leather inserts.
Before setting about the actual cab, it was decided to try and clean up the aluminum trims around the windscreen and dashboard areas. This was no easy task as they hadn’t been cleaned in probably 30 years, are a difficult shape and area to get at and Pete had no real experience of the best method to use! After much head scratching and trying different techniques and materials, a plastic based rotary drill attachment with some metal polish, accompanied by occasional wire brushing, produced an acceptable finish.
Once this and the full masking up of the areas were done, all surfaces were cleaned thoroughly and finally the paint could go on. The dashboard area and the engine top cover had 1 top coat before time ran out, but the signs were promising for a good finish.
Graham meanwhile had made good progress but was prevented from finishing as he ran out of copper rivets.
The following week, Saturday 25th, Pete & Graham were back at Romford for a re run but this time it was decided that every effort should be made to get both jobs fully finished in advance of the next event for 240 which was going to happen on the following Sunday.
Once again, the front seats came out, the cab was stripped of all the small parts, had a thorough flatting down, clean and finally the masking up done and then the paint could go on. Once masked up, we were about to start the spraying of the area behind the seats when we realised that like last week, we should sensibly try to clean down the brightwork and trims abutting the paint area.
Last week was a real trauma trying different systems to clean the alloy so this time, a more pragmatic view was adopted and Pete set about the central divider top panel with a small amount of extra fine rubbing compound and a superfine sanding soft pad. Eureka!!! It has come up a treat with almost no effort. This will now be finished off next time with a quick clean with metal polish to be sure of removing the remaining paint residue from previous efforts of others.
The back panels and engine side panels had their first coat, the front dashboard area and engine cover, which had previously had 1 coat got masked up and then had their 2nd coat, and finally back to the rear panels and engine side panels for coat number 2 and the job, was done with ½ can of paint left out of the 6 x 400ml tins we started with.
It is really pleasing to see 240FLM with her correct colour reinstated, hopefully next year we will be in a position to do the same to the outside.
The last weekend of July and 240FLM had made the journey across country from Warwickshire to the Bressingham Steam Museum near Diss in Norfolk for their annual " Steam rally" .
A fabulous weekend of steam, vintage vehicles, including a range of fire appliances, and other means of transport were on display and several live action displays were put on, some of which included the participation of the Norfolk fire cadets.
Camping was available on site and our crew of Colin Farrington, suitably supported by Steve Houston,took advantage of this option.
During one of these wet displays, 240 did spring a couple of leaks but these can be fairly easily rectified, and, given the amount of miles she has covered, and the amount of pumping undertaken recently, the appliance held up remarkably well. The appliance was eventually returned down to Romford on Monday and a review of the journeys, displays and other vehicle activities has produced a "To Do" list which is not to painful to read!!.
All images are courtesy & copyright of the Norfolk Fire Museum, C Farrington and S Houston and no reproduction is permitted.
240FLM made the long journey out to the British Motor Museum last weekend to participate in the Fire service Preservation group 50th Anniversary rally. The appliance formed both part of the static display and also participated in live practical demonstrations during the weekend. Our particular demonstration was the 1960's to 1990's theme where 240FLM was used as a " water tower", something she was designed and built for as well as rescue operations.
A blisteringly hot weekend was enjoyed by all the group members who travelled out to help support the appliance and Colin, our valiant driver who had transferred the appliance from to and from Romford. A wonderful weekend of nostalgia, meeting and making friends and sharing in the remarkable event.
You are courteously reminded that all images are copyright 240FLM Preservation Group, No unauthorised copying, reproduction or use is permitted without prior permission being granted. Please use the contact facility to apply for a usage notice.
With a crew of 3, Steve Lomas, Gary Quinnell and Steve Houston on board, 240FLM attended her first event at a London Fire Station open day on Saturday when she did the short, 30 minute journey to East London to F44 East Ham Fire Station. Gary had been born in East Ham, and the 2 Steve's both know the area well from their Brigade service so it was quite a trip down memory lane for them.
A lovely day was spent entertaining the visitors and the "on call" crews put on an excellent demonstration of vehicle extrication and cutting despite the intense hot weather.
The appliance, although breathing hard in the sunshine, performed as expected and the return trip was made that evening ready for the very next day where a group of members from the " Fire Brigade Society" were starting their London tour at F38 Romford, home of 240FLM. The current PL and our own appliance were brought out into the sunshine for the photo call.
Work continued on the preparation and priming of the front cab interior. With the seats removed, it was possible to get in the tight corners to apply the spray primer. A small repair was done to the underside of the engine cover and whilst it was off, it was thoroughly cleaned of 50 years of grime!
The next step will be a final flattening and then the top coats can be applied.
The group were proud to have been invited to attend, and act as a backdrop, to an official London Fire Brigade retirement ceremony held at F21 Stratford Fire Station on Wednesday 20th June 2018.
As it was planned to be an early start, Colin Farrington had relocated the appliance from Romford the night before to be sure of being on site in good time.
A little more progress this weekend!
The dashboard,surrounding framework and the back panel behind the OIC seat has now been partially spray primed/undercoated.
Being amateurs, we are having to find our way through each job both with regard to the work and the materials. Therefore, it was decided to just get one " rattle can" to see how far that would go.
With the masking up and final wipe down complete, a small fibreglass patch repair was sanded back,the OIC seat removed and spraying commenced.
The nearside footwell was given its last coat of "Hammerite" to make the final seal to the pan before the floor covering is fitted.
The rear seat cushions and back pad were reinstated and that element of the work can now be signed off. Not the busiest day but good progress continues to be made.
240FLM undertook its second "out duty" on the early May bank Holiday Sunday last weekend with its participation in the 2018 London to Brighton Historic Commercial Vehicle Run. This was not the first time that the appliance had done the run from Crystal Palace to Madeira Drive in Brighton but the last time was 1994 so quite a gap between attendances!
The crew of 4, consisting of Colin Farrington, Peter Russell, Paul Wood and Steve Houston, gathered the day before at Romford to transfer the appliance down to its secure overnight parking at the Crystal Palace Park ready for the 0815 start the following morning. During the first part of the journey the crew made a brief stop for photos at the original, first home, of 240FLM at New Cross Fire Station in SE London. The "on duty" watch were delighted to see one of their historic vehicles pull up outside and, for one of our crew members, a unique moment as he had driven our appliance when brand new at New Cross in 1964! A real moment of history.
Once photos had been taken and a brief chat with the station personnel concluded, it was back on the road to the overnight parking at Crystal Palace Park. The crew were staying at a local hotel and had booked an early taxi for the return to the appliance, however, the taxi failed to appear so after some fine diplomacy, the team who had brought a beautiful 1948 single deck coach from the South Yorkshire Transport Museum kindly agreed to give our lads a lift to the park in time for their allotted start so the 0815 time was just met.
Once on the road, the initial journey was quick and untroubled and they headed south to reach the 1/2 way stop at the George Hotel near Crawley.
This was a welcome break given the rising temperature on this beautiful day and the stop also allowed plenty of local visitors and supporters of the run to get a close look at 240FLM and take pictures before the crew were back on board and moving again.
Sadly, the smooth journey was about to come to a halt near the notorious " Pease Pottage" Boot sale venue where the combination of boot sale visitors, historic vehicle and their supporters and holiday makers all came to meet and create a 90 minute delay with static traffic for most of it. Not to be daunted, the crew reverted to old school local knowledge and took to the country lanes, not necessarily something to be done to often with a vehicle of this size and age, but nevertheless, better than sitting any longer being cooked in the cab next to a 6 cylinder diesel! Once out of the traffic chaos, the run down into Brighton was smooth and the lads arrived at their allotted position at just about 13.45.
Once parked up in the midst of several other fire appliances, lunch was happily devoured, obviously fish and chips, and the afternoon judging commenced. visitors and supporters flocked to see the vast array of vehicles of all types, sizes and ages and even the Mayor of Brighton took a shine to our old girl.
As the afternoon closed, the final judging result was announced and to everyone's surprise, we were awarded 2nd place in the Fire Engine class, this is a wonderful vindication and regard for all the hard work put in by the restoration team over the last 3 years. Even though the appliance still has much to be done to it, this award has served to inspire us to push even harder so that by this time next year, we may well be in a position to take first place!
As the sun began to set, it was time to head off back up the A23 to North East London, to Romford, and base for 240FLM.
The journey back was uneventful, but long, and our sole driver did a fantastic job under very tiring conditions, especially as once the appliance was safely home, the crew still had the long drive back to their own homes, some of these journeys were over a hundred miles so a huge but rewarding effort and the whole 240 FLM Preservation Group are proud of their achievements.
The day finally arrived when all our efforts over the last 3 1/2 years were put on display to the public.
240FLM was being used to transport the late Station Officer William " darkie" Knight (C24 Whitechapel Red Watch. London Fire Brigade.) from the funeral directors on the Bromley Road SE6 to Hither Green Crematorium.
The assembled crew of Paul Wood, Steve Houston, Colin Farrington and Pete Weight had met at Romford Fire Station, The home of 240FLM, and headed off down the A12 via the Blackwall Tunnel to Bromley. The journey down was straightforward, once we had decided that Sat Navs were not always right, and we arrived in plenty of time for local residents and passers by to come and have a look, take pictures, and generally show a great deal of interest.
Equally interested were the staff from the funeral directors, Francis Chappell & Sons, who welcomed us with cups of tea which was a nice gesture much appreciated.
Transfer of the coffin was to take place outside the Funeral Directors and this was a tense moment being our first experience of doing this, however, all went smoothly. A last minute decision was made to have two of the crew riding (as is traditional) on the side plates and this added an additional safety level to ensure all was well on the journey as well as looking exactly correct for the family and assembled congregation waiting at the crematorium.
Much discussion had taken place before the final journey about whether or not we could get the appliance close enough to the actual chapel due the regular problem of insufficient parking on site, therefore,a plan was devised in case this was the situation. However, on arrival, Colin skilfully manoeuvred the ladders down the very narrow road and positioned the appliance exactly where it was meant to be.
The family, friends and ex colleagues were very grateful for our efforts and professionalism and I think we as a small team were also proud of what we had achieved as " First Timers".
Thanks to Paul Wood for getting some sensitive images which of course remain copyright protected to him,no reproduction is permitted without express authority being granted.
On Tuesday 1st May, at 13.30, 240FLM will undertake its first "Out duty" and Public engagement. The appliance has been requested to participate in the funeral of the late, Station Officer, William " Darkie" Knight at Hither Green crematorium, London SE6.
We are honoured to have been approached to conduct the last ride for this highly respected fireman who served much of his career at C24 Whitechapel during the 1960's.
The appliance will be travelling from Romford to Hither Green during the morning via the A12, Blackwall Tunnel and South Circular and returning the same day so if you see us out and about please give us a wave, or if you are attending the funeral, please come and say hello after the ceremony.
Colin, Trevor, Pete and Steve Houston gathered at Romford to continue the work on the restoration. Trevor completed the installation of a permanent battery charger and associated electrical repairs and alterations which will ensure that the appliance never suffers from a battery drain down whilst residing in the bay at Romford. He then fitted the nice new control operators display panel which was needed due to the awful faded condition of the original one.
Colin got busy servicing one of the hydraulic jacks which unfortunately was starting to drip fluid due to lack of operational use, he also fitted the nice new " Burgee" or wind directional flag onto the beautifully handcrafted swing weighted bracket at the head of the top extension. Once fitted, he then managed to reattach the nearside front wheel "step down" rings which was not able to be refitted when the new tyres went on as the studs had snapped. Colin had carefully manufactured new ones at home and then drilled out the old broken studs on site.
Pete & Steve got stuck into the interior of the cab and it now has its cream coloured undercoat to the roof interior and back cab area. This is in preparation for the final top coats of "County Cream"which should go on this weekend. It was fortunate that when Pete removed the original inerior lights for refurbishment, a small patch of the original colour had been spotted so this meant that the repainting would be exactly in line with how 240 would have appeared fresh from Merryweathers.
The group are delighted to be able to announce that following an invitation, the Chief Officer & Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Dany Cotton, has agreed to become our new President. She will assume position at the 2018 AGM. She takes over the vacancy left by the sad passing of Bill Butler, former ACO in the London Fire Brigade in 2016.
A very happy new year to all our friends and followers, we hope you had a most enjoyable seasonal break.
With 2018 well underway, the first small working party gathered at Romford to accommodate the fitting of a complete set of 6 new tyres. This was decided following the unfortunate incident on the day of the relocation to Romford when the appliance suffered a blow out on the motorway, fortunately, the driver was able to control the vehicle and continue the journey.
During the day, a couple other small jobs were undertaken including finally resolving where the last few remaining diamond plate panels should be fitted!. these plates were usually hidden when the appliance was constructed so it is like a game of "Cluedo" trying to establish exactly where they go,but eventually it all made sense and they can now be returned to their correct locations.
The first of the show dates has now been pencilled in and more will follow once the various groups around the country start to announce their shows. we look forward to announcing our attendance at some of these in due course, however, before we do venture out, more work will take place to bring the appliance to an even better position for showing, one of those jobs, the repainting of the interior of the cab, should start as soon as the weather improves enough for the paint to dry!
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.
The curtain comes down at Wicken!.
After just over 3 years of working in Cambridgeshire as the guests of Group Chairman Peter Russell and his lovely wife Julia, the last day of preparation took place in glorious sunshine.
Pete, Colin, Gary, & Mike got stuck into the cleaning and final painting of some small areas in the cab while Colin undertook the mechanical checks. As well as the cleaning and servicing, the remaining spares, equipment and tools were loaded into the appliance in preparation for the 22nd and the big move. at the end of the day and as the light faded, 240FLM was given a final wash and polish and proudly stood ready to move. Our warmest thanks go to Peter & Julia as without them, none of this would have been possible.
Trevor, Pete, Steve, Gary and Colin attended and carried on preparing for the forthcoming move to Romford on the 22nd November.
The roof interior of the cab has now been fully second undercoated, the Royal Coat of Arms badge is on the grill on the front of the appliance and the two tone horns have been tucked behind the grill to continue our theme of getting 240 to look as authentic as possible The foot locker doors are fitted and the monitor is in place.
The top extension pawl which had been misbehaving has been refurbished and refitted and the OIC seat is back in and secure.
Trevor, Steve and Colin continued getting the appliance ready for the move to Romford on the 22nd. The O/S front wheel arch and inner wing are now fitted and the fettling and fitting the locker doors continued. The nearside is now fitted and the offside frame is being "eased" to make it fit properly. The rusty floor section on the drivers side has been cut out the rusted sections behind the pedals treated.
A patch has been cut to cover this and will be fixed next time when the rust treatment is dry. The repaired indicator is fitted and the restored wheel hub covers are refitted.
Its surprising how much can be accomplished by just 2 people who are very determined and actually know what they are doing! So on the 1st November, Colin & Trevor met at Wicken and made more significant progress in the run up to the move to Romford.
The blue lights and front grill repeater all now work and flash correctly, this just leaves the fitting of a small switch for this work to be completed.
The final fitting of the nearside front wheel was completed and the checker plate returned to its original position.
The rotten offside inner wing sections were cut out and new sections welded in, this just leaves the hole behind the drivers pedals to trim up, rust treat and plate over and the new outer wing and wheel arch to fit. Once this is done, the second phase of the cab interior redecoration can be undertaken and the fittings can start to be reintroduced.