On 31 March 1894 Ryde Fire Brigade's senior fireman, Captain Charles Langdon, called a meeting of the captain's of all the Isle of Wight fire brigades at Ryde Town Hall.
The purpose was to formalise the arrangements for a drill competition at the Jubilee Recreation Ground (Simeon Street) to coincide with the Ryde Carnival celebrations later in the year. Although some minor drill competitions had been held at various places since the 1880's, nothing had been done to formally gather all the brigades in one arena. This meeting gave birth to the Isle of Wight Fire Brigades Association.
The IWFBA, renamed the Isle of Wight Fire Brigades Federation (IWFBF) by spring 1897, became the centre-piece of Island fire-fighting development, competition and camaraderie through the next five decades until eventually fading away shortly after the end of World War Two.
The final verifiable evidence of the Federation's last act is of a celebratory dinner held in November 1945.
The reason for the Federation's demise lay in the rescinding of a government pledge made by Home Secretary Herbert Morrison in 1941.
In the August of that year the country's local brigades, approximately 1600 of them, plus the staff of the Auxiliary Fire Service, were merged in to a single National Fire Service. Morrison promised that when the war ended so too would the need for the NFS and the responsibility for managing fire brigades would be returned to the borough, town and parish councils as per the pre-war arrangements. However when the war ended so did that promise, the NFS remained active until 1948 when the revised Fire Services Act compelled the formation of County brigades and the Isle of Wight County Fire Brigade was created for the first time. With only one brigade for the whole Island there was no longer a role for a Federation of brigades and the IWFBF finally folded.
This website aims to bring back to life the IWFBF and is dedicated to all members of Island fire brigades, including the private and works brigades and the modern fire and rescue service throughout the course of its history.
As research continues more information will be added to the site.
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I hope you enjoy your visit and come back again soon.