1906 Albion 16-hp Estate Fire Engine with Merryweather Steam Driven Fire Pump  Chassis no. 2344 Engine no. 02344 (50A)

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Lot 162
1906 Albion 16-hp Estate Fire Engine with Merryweather Steam Driven Fire Pump
Registration no. HS-184 Chassis no. 2344 Engine no. 02344 (50A)

Sold for £ 21,850 (US$ 28,697) inc. premium
1906 Albion 16-hp Estate Fire Engine with Merryweather Steam Driven Fire Pump
Registration no. HS-184
Chassis no. 2344
Engine no. 02344 (50A)
Believed originally built as a wagonette, this twin-cylinder 2350cc Albion was bought by the Duke of Sutherland for use on his estate at Dunrobin Castle. The vehicle’s file includes a buff logbook recording the Duke’s ownership and declaring the date of first registration as 21 March 1924. Since the index “HS” was first issued by Renfrewshire in December 1903, it seems likely that 1924 was the first time that this Albion was licensed as a fire engine, which carried a nil rate of tax.

The Duke had the Albion chassis fitted with a Merryweather steam fire pump, apparently taken from a horse-drawn appliance, to convert it into a self-propelled fire engine for his estate, where the volunteer fire brigade was recruited from among the employees. Unfortunately, while hurrying to a fire in 1932 the engine blew up and the Albion was converted into a trailer. A wooden box was fitted to the front of the chassis to carry the fire hoses and other equipment which would originally have been towed behind the vehicle.

In this form it was acquired about 1945 by Mr W.E.Sutherland of Golspie, Caithness, who set about the task of restoration. He had acquired a 1921-registered Barford & Perkins road roller from the Sutherland Estates which provided a similar 16-hp Albion engine to that originally fitted (a brass plate on one of the cylinders is numbered “50A”), but was still lacking a radiator, gearbox, dashboard and
petrol tanks. However, he then found a derelict and engineless solid-tyred 1907 Albion that had started life as a wagonette owned by a Commander Egerton, but which had spent many years as a coal lorry, and he was able to recover the components necessary to complete the restoration of the fire engine.

The engine was sent to John Gibson of Edinburgh, who finished the work for Mr Sutherland, and then bought it from him. It remained in store for some years, until Mr Gibson decided to sell it. Some brass parts from the steam pump are apparently missing.

George Milligen bought the fire engine at auction in 1966. It was in running order then, as a copy of an MoT test certificate dating from September 1965 is included in the Albion’s file. While he had not carried out any restoration work, he planned to get around to it as time permitted, for his notes record “awaiting restoration 2003”…

Saleroom notices

  • We are advised that Albion records and registration records confirm that this vehicle was first registered in 1907
1906 Albion 16-hp Estate Fire Engine with Merryweather Steam Driven Fire Pump  Chassis no. 2344 Engine no. 02344 (50A)
1906 Albion 16-hp Estate Fire Engine with Merryweather Steam Driven Fire Pump  Chassis no. 2344 Engine no. 02344 (50A)
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