The Town Council has decided not to sell “Frank Humphry”, the vintage fire engine which was used in Crowborough until the mid-1950s.
The Council own the 75-year old fire engine but it is currently stored at Bentley Wildfowl & Motor Museum at a cost of £500 per year. As the vehicle’s is no longer drivable, the only way currently to display Frank Humphry at local events, such as the Summer Fair, is to transport it to Crowborough on a trailer.
The 1936 Dennis Light Six Pump Escape Fire Engine is named after a Crowborough solicitor, who helped set up the first fire station (at the location of the former ‘Old Fire Station Cafe’) and later became Captain of the Brigade. In 2012 Crowborough Town Council proposed the street name “Frank Humphry Way” for a new development off Goldsmith Avenue, “Gorsedene Close” was chosen instead.
Councillors on the Communications and Events Committee were told, because of the vehicle’s age, sourcing replacement parts has been difficult. A quotation of £5,500 has been received to install secondhand diesel engine and gear box.
Last year the Council asked for help with the restoration, but there were unfortunately no volunteers:
At the meeting on 21st October, Councillors considered various options, including repairing the fire engine or selling it. Some Councillors were against replacing the original engine as this may affect the value and historical interest, and it was not considered viable to dispose of the vehicle in the current economic climate.
Councillors voted to keep the fire engine in its existing condition and to use funds from the council’s reserves to transport it to events on a trailer.
Frank Humphry can be seen on display in the Motor Museum at Bentley Country Park in Halland. You can see photos of the fire engine and read more about its history on the Bentley Estate Blog.