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  • The Institution of Fire Engineers, an international profession body was founded in Leicester in 1918
  • The original fire station for Leicester was on Bowling Green Street behind the Town Hall
  • Central Fire Station on Lancaster Road was the most advanced fire station in the UK when it opened in 1927

Institution of Fire Engineers

On the 31st October 1918, Chief Office Neal of the Leicester Fire Brigade called together 10 British Chief Officers to a meeting at Rutland Street fire station, then the city brigade headquarters.

It was here in Leicester that these forward-thinking men decided to form the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE), an international body that over 100 years later has spread its membership of fire professionals across the globe. Chief Officer Neal laid the foundation of the IFE but more so by holding that meeting in Leicester he created a continuing association between the IFE, the city and the fire and rescue service of present day.



Central 90th Anni (1)1
Fireman pose for a photo around 1936, possibly at a retirement get together. Malc Tovey

The Fire Service in Leicester

The original fire station for the city was located on Bowling Green Street before the headquarters relocated to Rutland Street Fire Station in 1892 (since demolished). In another of Chief Officer Neal’s forward thinking initiatives a purpose built Central Fire Station was created on Lancaster Road between 1925 and 1927.

Central station is a grand structure that has stood for over 90 years guarding the city and its people. A. E. and T. Sawday architects designed the station along with the specially built firemen’s houses that surround it.

When it first opened in 1927, it was reported to be far in advance of any other fire and rescue station in the country and it remains as Leicester’s flagship fire and rescue station today. The station was originally home to six fire engines, two turntable ladders, three ambulances and lorries for salvage work. A major refurbishment of this listed building took place in 2010.

Fire service today

On January 9th 2018 as an acknowledgement of the IFE’s 100 years of existence, a plaque was commissioned and in agreement with Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service, sited and unveiled at Central Station.

Today the IFE continues to uphold professional standards in the UK and worldwide by offering assessment of knowledge and opportunity to gain continuing professional development to fire professionals.

Central Fire Station on Lancaster Road plays a vital role in the safety of Leicester to this day with its fire personnel attending a variety of incidents across the city daily.

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Can be seen from the street


Roman Leicester

(47- 500) A military fort was erected, attracting traders and a growing civilian community to Leicester (known as Ratae Corieltauvorum to the Romans). The town steadily grew throughout the reign of the Romans.

Tudor & Stuart Leicester

(1500 – 1700) The wool trade flourished in Leicester with one local, a former mayor named William Wigston, making his fortune. During the English Civil War a bloody battle was fought as the forces of King Charles I laid siege to the town.

Georgian Leicester

(1700 – 1837) The knitting industry had really stared to take hold and Leicester was fast becoming the main centre of hosiery manufacture in Britain. This new prosperity was reflected throughout the town with broader, paved streets lined with elegant brick buildings and genteel residences.

Victorian Leicester

(1837 – 1901) The industrial revolution had a huge effect on Leicester resulting in the population growing from 40,000 to 212,000 during this period. Many of Leicester's most iconic buildings were erected during this time as wealthy Victorians made their mark on the town.

Edwardian Leicester

(1901 – 1910) Electric trams came to the streets of Leicester and increased literacy among the citizens led to many becoming politicised. The famous 1905 ‘March of the Unemployed to London’ left from Leicester market when 30,000 people came to witness the historic event.

Modern Leicester

(1973 – present day) Industry was still thriving in the city during the 1970s, with the work opportunities attracting many immigrants from all over the world. While industry has declined in recent years, excellent transport links have made Leicester an attractive centre for many businesses. The City now has much to be proud of including its sporting achievements and the richness of its cultural heritage and diversity.

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