A new history book sheds light on the early years of Eastbourne’s fire service.

It tells the story of the town’s fire service from its beginnings as a church-based voluntary service when fire personnel were local tradespeople and shopkeepers.

That’s in contrast to the more permanent and professional fire brigade, we know today.

For 150 years, Eastbourne operated its own fire service and was a municipal leader in fire services in England.

Shipping fires

From the early days of hand pumps through to horse-drawn steam fire appliances to motor-driven engines, the town’s service kept up to date with firefighting techniques.

The book covers the 19th and 20th centuries up to 1974.

Thay year saw the amalgamation of the town’s fire service into the East Sussex Fire Service which later became today’s East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

It covers two world wars as well as notable shipping fires such as the Norwegian oil tanker ‘Sitakund’.

Author Stephen Le Vine said, “Today, many people take our emergency fire service for granted.

“My research shows the history of Eastbourne’s service, how it was formed, and the bravery and sacrifices made to protect local people over many years in the 19th and 20th centuries.

“I hope the book sheds light on a forgotten era of heroism that protected the town through challenging times. “My thanks to local residents and former fire service members who have helped me with my research.”

To find the book on Amazon which retails at £12.50 visit the Amazon site. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0993544134 ISBN: 978-0993544132 Stephen Le Vine has published books on the history of Sussex’s town halls and a Sussex army barracks.

He moved in 1985 to Hailsham and became a resident of Eastbourne in 1987. With a keen interest in the history of Sussex, this is Stephen’s third book.