Man who bought derelict building shocked to learn it was county's first fire station

A man who restored a derelict building in a Shropshire town was shocked to learn of its significance as the county's first ever purpose-built fire station.

A plaque on the wall of the building
A plaque on the wall of the building

Simon Peake, from Market Drayton, bought the site on Church Street, Market Drayton, with the aim of restoring it after it had been left derelict for around 22 years.

Little did he know that the building had an interesting local history, which would lead to him receiving around 600 enquiries from people in the community.

The 62-year-old said: "I bought it without even knowing what it was. It was boarded up, there was a tree growing out of the roof, it was derelict.

The old fire station before it was restored

"There's so much interest from local people. It was Market Drayton's first fire station and it's the first purpose-built fire station in Shropshire."

Plaque on the side of the building in Church Street

Established in 1790, the building was originally the old Fire Engine Station in Market Drayton, which served the people of the town for more than a century.

Powered by steam and drawn by horse, the fire engine was bought in 1774 and five shillings had been paid to bring it over from Tern Hill.

The fire alarm was raised by ringing the bell near the Buttercross, which would indicate that the horse needed to be collected from its field.

Simon has heard from residents of the town that the horse came to understand the sound of the bell and would often run off when it was sounded – but this is not certain.

The former fire station's interior

The old station ceased activity in 1920 and was converted into a toilet block.

After its restoration, Simon said he received around 150 requests to keep the tiles in the building which are 'extremely rare'.

Simon plans to let it out when it is finished and has already seen interest in the building to become a local meeting area, a hairdressers, or a pop up shop.

Whatever it becomes, Simon said that it will go back to serving the community.

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