A very good book has been written on this subject:
"Manchester Fire Brigade" - Robert F Bonner, 1988

In Mr Bonner's book, there are several photographs of Upton Street Fire Station at the turn of the century - at least one includes Henry Parker. Here is an excerpt from the book describing the life of the ordinary fireman:

"Life in the Manchester Fire Brigade at the turn of the century was hard and monotonous. The men worked long hours on the "continuous duty" system, with only one day off in every thirteen, their families usually leading drab lives in one of the residential stations. The only relief the men were permitted on their long twelve day tours of duty was the unofficial practice of "going to the corner" - a quick drink at the local hostelry - and they were disciplined if they took too long over this. For men on street-escape duty, conditions were worse; working in pairs on 8.00 'til 8.00 shifts the men still had routine work and fire calls to deal with when they returned to their home station. If it was one man's leave day, his partner had to provide total cover until he returned."

Upton Street Fire Station - 1906 (Married Quarters in the foreground).
The station was one of three virtually identical stations opened by Manchester Fire Brigade in the years 1891/2. The other two (New Street, Miles Platting and Ash Street, Harpurhey) were related to boundary extensions in the city, whereas Upton Street was more a case of improved cover etc.  The other difference was that Upton Street was  built on land that already included a large house (No. 260 – I think – Stockport Road), with the station effectively being built in the back garden, with the access along the side (Upton) Street.  A public urinal was also built alongside the station.  Originally the back door led into the fire station yard, I recall, in later years, the house was walled off and used as some kind of home by the Council.
One man and a fire escape ladder were stationed at the site in October 1891, whilst the station was being built, in August 1892 the residential quarters (in the house) were occupied and in December 1892 it became a fully working fire station
The station covered the Charlton-on-Medlock, Longsight, Ardwick and Gorton areas, a very busy residential and, to some extent, industrial area.  It got progressively busier and, by the 1960s/1970s slum clearance was an extremely busy fire station.
By the 1930s it was considered to be in poor condition and warranting replacement. A site on Kirkmanshulme Lane was considered at one stage.  The war intervened of course and with the fire service taking over the large St.Joseph’s School complex on Stockport Road, Longsight as a training school in 1939, it was hoped that after the hostilities the school site could be used for a new station.  In 1948, however, the City Police took over St.Joseph’s instead, so that scheme was lost. 
It was to be 1974 before the station could be finally closed, and replaced by a new station at Birch Street, West Gorton, just off Hyde Road.  This was planned and built by the City brigade, but by the time work was complete, Greater Manchester Fire Authority had taken over.  Upton Street finally closed on 1st May 1974.
Information courtesy of  Bob Bonner, Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum.
Wilmslow Fire Brigade.jpg (94647 bytes) Wilmslow Fire Station personnel at Hawthorne Street Fire Station, 1930s - Harry Parker at right front
Upton St.jpg (57460 bytes) Horse-drawn escape, Upton Street, built by William Rose, 1899
Upton St Fire Station.jpg (32993 bytes) Upton Street Fire Station - Steamer & Crew
Horse_Drawn_Fire_vehicle.jpg (40476 bytes) Horse-drawn escape, Upton Street, probably Henry Parker in foreground
Manchester Fire Brigade.jpg (46791 bytes) Manchester Fire Brigade personnel
fire_escape.jpg (58839 bytes) Upton Street Fire Station personnel - Henry Parker in centre
Manchester Fire Brigade (& Henry) - 1880s.jpg (28338 bytes) Manchester Fire Brigade Officers - probably Henry Parker second from left at rear


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