Tyne and Wear HER(1734): Bishopwearmouth, High Street West, Central Fire Station - Details
Bishopwearmouth, High Street West, Central Fire Station
Shown as Central Fire Station on Ordnance Survey third and fourth editions. The fire station opened in 1907, the same year that the nearby Empire Theatre and law courts opened. All three buildings were designed by Sunderland architects William Milburn (1850-1935) and Thomas Ridley Milburn (1862-1943). William had already designed the imposing Langham Tower in Sunderland in 1891. They designed Thornhill United Methodist Free Church in 1902, the Sunderland and South Shields Water Company Offices in 1907, a children’s hospital in 1912. The Milburn brothers had acted as supervising architects on the Empire Theatre, South Shields, which was designed by Frank Matcham. They went on to build theatres all over the country (including Southampton, Cardiff, Birmingham and the Dominian Theatre in London) for the Moss Empires chain. In 1929 the brothers were appointed supervising architects to the North East Coast Exhibition of 1929. After World War Two they were elected to the R.I.B.A. Council. Brick with decorative stone dressings. The main elevation has five arched openings for the fire engines. These are now blocked up and filled with painted murals. There are five windows above with stone surrounds. In-between the windows are four circular carvings of flaming torches, brightly painted. There is a fine oil painting of the fire station by Ron Henderson, which is held by the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service at Sunderland East Community Fire Station.
<< HER 1734 >> Tyne and Wear Industrial Monuments Trust, 1978, Sunderland Town Centre Plan - Sites of Interest; GE Milburn and ST Miller (eds), 1988, Sunderland – River, Town and People; http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/old-sunderland-fire-station-57960/print/info