This year when Her Majesty The Queen celebrates 70 years of reign, we take a trip down memory lane when she officially opened our Service Headquarters on 17 July 1987.
See more photos of this momentous occasion on our dedicated webpage, click here.
As we look back, we’ve heard from retired and present staff who remember the occasion well.
Duncan Bower, who retired in 1997 recalls: “I was a member of the crew manning the Control Unit that day at the new HQ, I was based at A3 (Calvert Lane) fire station on Green watch. Happy memories of the day and my time at Humberside Fire.”
Tom Houltby, remembers: “Myself and Col McNicol were made responsible for Her Majesty's opening of the new HQ by the Chief Fire Officer at the time, Bryan Collins. We had 6 months to plan all aspects of the visit which included all the planning for the exhibitions and displays, visiting and arranging the Army Band and vetting all workers, and lots more. We were sworn to top secrecy as we prepared and I’ve never divulged all the details.”
Norman Downs, Leading Firefighter at the time remembers: “I was in the guard of honour lined up at the SHQ entrance, it was an honour to be chosen, when you think over 1000 firefighters and only 12 selected. At the time I was based at Hull Central, Blue Watch."
Simon Rhodes, Head of Corporate Assurance, described the transition for Control: “I joined the Service in July 1982 working in the Control Room, which was located at the old Hull Central Fire Station on Worship Street. In 1982 the systems, equipment and procedures were all manual with throwbacks to 1960s technology and the Cold War, even having a nuclear attack early warning receiver that was tested every day. Full-time fire stations were turned out verbally over the station tannoy, On-Call by activating alerters and then instructing the crew over the telephone. Incident details and logs were manually written and then laboriously typed up into a summary every day at midnight, back then we were receiving around 30k calls a year. No computers.
"For Control the move to a purpose-built Control Room at the new HQ was largely welcomed, but as our current Control Staff will still appreciate, it was a huge challenge moving to a computerised mobilising system and other new technology for the first time, bearing in mind that the training process started with most of us having to learn to touch type and having to achieve 30 words per minute before being trained to operate new-fangled technology.
"The layout and console design for the Control Room was done in a warehouse, Frank Baron (sat to the right of Simon in the picture above) built mock ups using cardboard and sticky backed plastic to create a full-size model for staff to get used to what it would look like.
"Control staff alternated being trained at the new HQ and keeping Worship Street going and then moved into HQ some weeks before everyone else, I remember the first shifts being a bit tense, getting used to and trusting the computers. For the official opening the Queen and Prince Philip were given a tour around the Control suite and a demonstration of the equipment by the duty watch, I think I was on nights so missed the whole event. 35 years later the staff in Control still have my utmost respect and admiration for their professionalism and skills, a different world to Worship Street 40 years ago, but we should be proud of how our Control Room and staff have developed (still proud of my Control roots!).”
Do you remember the Queen visiting the Humber region 35 years ago or even opening our HQ?
If so, get in touch to share your story. We'd love to hear from you.
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