26. THE OLD FIRE STATION
This building, the first purpose-built fire station in the town, is dated 1911. It is a one storey building in red brick with moulded brick and terracotta dressings and has a slate roof with crested ridge tiles. It had two arched doorways with two folding doors. The Fire Station, moved from here to Gladstone Road, then Cattle Market Street and finally to Norwich Road.
In the top photograph, note the glass dome on the Corn Exchange in the background.
Fakenham has had many fires, and there were serious ones in 1660, 1718 and 1738.
In 1892, to fight a fire in Upper Market, the fire engine was placed here in Hall Staithe, where it drew water from the course of the old river nearby and pumped it up to the town, but not in time to save the roof.
In 1902 Stewardson's, printers and stationers, also in the Upper Market, was saved when the shop next door burnt down - this time the water was pumped from the main river via 800 feet of hose!
The Rampant Horse had fires in 1886 and 1896. In 1908 there was a very destructive fire on market day in Norwich Street, when the crowds did not disperse so it was very lucky that there were no injuries when a three storey building suddenly collapsed. In 1914 the Wharfedale Works, between Norwich Street and the Cattle Market, had a huge fire which led to its modernisation.
As recently as 2014 the Upper Market was again devastated when over 100 firefighters prevented the Aldiss fire spreading to the Church and along the adjoining shops.
The next plaque is on the gable end of the Old Maltings nearby.