Old Fire Station

In

This site is on the Heritage Asset Register which is the official list of Trinidad and Tobago’s historic sites that are worthy of notation and preservation. The register is authorized by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago’s Council and is by no means exhaustive. The sites on the Heritage Asset Register are not owned by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. The Trust welcomes any historical information and oral histories the public wishes to share with us concerning this site via the feedback form.

Special Ordinance No. 17 of 1860 called for a volunteer fire brigade for Port of Spain. By 1892, the force was made of volunteers and paid men. There was criticism for both the paid men and volunteers, the former often from criminal elements, the latter, as captain Fortescue described them, “flabby, poorly disciplined and maintained”. It is likely that Port of Spain’s huge fire of 1895 reduced enthusiasm for ceremony in favour of the fire protection at any cost. In 1896 the city’s first steam fire engine replaced old and worn out hand-pumps, the same year that the Fire Station on the corner of Abercromby and Hart Streets was commissioned. Architect George Brown was responsible for much of the suburban architecture for the new Port of Spain after the fire and he may well have been responsible for the design of the new Fire Station.

Strategically located for Port of Spain at the time, the Station was better equipped and manned than previous facilities. The building itself is the first reinforced concrete structure in Port of Spain and is a fine combination of old and new construction technology, blending well with the Red House and Trinity Cathedral with well-articulated quoins and traditional stone markings. The building is well proportioned and functional in design, a central tower providing a lookout over Port of Spain. There is a beautiful rhythm to the fenestration and fire engine doors. The design is tropical allowing good cross ventilation. Internally there is a magnificent cast-iron staircase. Massive trusses with decorative detailing support a slate roof.

The design can perhaps be described as being a transition from traditional to modern Trinidad and Tobago architecture.

Geoffrey MacLean/ Rudylynn De Four Roberts

Other Known Name: Old Fire Brigade Building

Address: Corner Hart and Abercromby Streets

Town/City: Port of Spain

Region: Port of Spain

Site Type: Cultural Heritage

Ownership: Public

Public Accessibility: Limited Access

Listing Status: Stage 4 – Preparation of Dossier for Heritage Site

Cultural Community: British

Site Features: Public Buildings

 

Address:

Corner Hart and Abercromby Streets, Port of Spain