Mitcham’s fire brigade was a volunteer service until 1920, when Albert Wells was appointed Chief Officer. He introduced retaining fees for the chief and sub officers at each station, and remunerations for drills and call-outs for the firemen.
Stories from the British Newspaper Archive
Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 07 September 1889
The Volunteer Fire Brigade.
—The annual test drill of the brigade took place on Wednesday evening, when the men mustered in full force and arrived at the tanyard, Beddington Corner, with their engine punctually at six p.m., and in about three minutes got to work with one jet. To this was shortly added another, junction being made in the hose about ten yards from the engine ; another connection was rapidly made from the engine with additional hose, and three powerful jets of water were concentrated on point where an imaginary fire was raging. A correspondent who witnessed the drill is of opinion that from observations made and the excellent espirit de corps shown the men, that this, as an entirely volunteer brigade, in a position to cope with any emergency which may arise in the vicinity. An essential point with men who give their time and labour gratis is having confidence in their leader, and this the Mitcham men certainly have in Superintendent A. R. Harwood. The following members of the committee were present to witness the proceedings, viz., Mr. S. Wells (chairman), Mr. Harwood, sen., Dr. Love, Mr. Sampson, and Mr. S. Love.
Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 23 February 1889
The Mitcham Volunteer Fire Brigade.
— The committee of this brigade entertained the members to dinner on Wednesday evening, at the Old Nag’s Head, Upper Mitcham. Mr. Wells, the chairman committee, occupied the chair, and Mr. A. R. Harwood, the superintendent of the brigade, the vice-chair. There were present Messrs. W. R. Harwood, Dr. Love, F. G. Sampson, R. M Chart. S. Love, and W. Jenner, members of the committee, and the brigade with the turncock and call-boys. An excellent repast was put upon the table by Mr Tomlin, and served in his best style, to which ample justice was done. The usual loyal toasts were also given, with that of the brigade, committee, &c. and a most enjoyable evening was spent. During the evening some capital songs were rendered by Messrs Shepherd, Brown, Dill, Turner, and others.
Agricultural Express – Saturday 25 February 1893
—On Thursday morning a fire, which originated in a store used for frying fish, broke out at 2, Rock-terrace. The rafters in the chimney had caught alight, but the volunteer fire brigade were able to extinguish the flames with a few buckets of water. The house was occupied by woman named Patience Stone.