Fire Brigade House
The main Fire Station in Barbados was located at the corner of James and Coleridge Streets in a complex of abandoned old buildings that are thought to date from the 17th century. Fire carts were drawn by one or two horses or by men. Hand-drawn carts were manned by four men, with two on either side. They were fitted with steam pumps that pumped water to douse fires. The carts were also fitted with a buggy bell. Motorized vehicles were later introduced in the 1920’s.
The Central Fire Brigade House was founded as part of the Police Force in 1858. By 1900, there were 6 fire stations around the city. The original one remained part of the Police Department, and in 1955 became the home of the Weights and Measures Section when the Barbados Fire Service became autonomous and moved over to Probyn Street.
[Sources: S. Carrington et. al., 2004. A-Z of Barbados Heritage. MacMillan Caribbean, 2nd Edition
M. Greenidge, 2015. Bridgetown, Barbados: A Walking Tour in Six Parts, Calton Printing, Barbados]
The buildings fell into disrepair, used only recently as a carpentry repair shop for the Police headquarters. The ‘adaptive reuse’ proposals in the 2016 restoration for the Fire Brigade Station comprised the following elements:
A museum illustrating the history of the Barbados Fire Service in Bridgetown
A small café to provide snacks & refreshments in the adjacent building
An art gallery located in the former Weights and Measures building