Bergen Fire Station
Bergen Fire Station is situated in central Bergen next to both the old and the new Town Hall. The fire station was built in 1888, but the fire brigade had used the beautiful Hagerup’s town house as residence for the fire chief since 1863.
Today’s fire station consists of the red station building, the fire hose tower and Hagerup’s town house. There is also a number of buildings outside the station, where the fire brigade keep vehicles and other equipment. The fire brigade lacks room for even the most basic equipment. The lack of room, which was noticeable a hundred years ago, is regarded as critical today.
Initially the volunteer fire brigade was given two buildings for its use. One was Corps de Garde, and the other was Hagerup’s town house. Hagerup’s town house was Bergen’s first residence of a prefect, built in 1705 by the Chief of Customs. As it happened, the Chief of Customs turned out to be an unfaithful servant and was removed from office in 1716. The house was conveyed to the king and has been public property ever since. The house was given its name after Edvard Hagerup, who was the town’s prefect from 1834 to 1853. The fire chief lived there for 31 years.
Early on the fire chief claimed that the town dearly needed an up-to-date fire station. Most people acknowledged this need, but funding for the purpose was not found until 1887. The fire brigade moved into the new station in 1888. The station had room for fire wagons, horses, firemen’s quarters and storage rooms for different equipment. The very noticeable round tower was made for the hoses – they were hung up in the tower to dry after use.
The new building had two gates, which was expedient in a time when all turn-outs were done with horses. There were stables for 8–9 horses in the fire station. It is in these stables that the fire engines are kept today! Several vehicles have been constructed specially to fit through the gate.
In 1934 the façade was changed for the first and so far the last time. The two gates for the horses were altered to one bigger gate.
The fire brigade has been in need of a larger and more modern fire station for many years. The big questions, such as where to build it and how to finance it, seem to be about to be solved. Luckily the alternative of tearing down the next door county jail did not come through.
The firemen, and particularly the seniors, have acquired a passion for their own cultural heritage. Over the years they have put together a substantial collection of fire engines, fire wagons and different equipment all the way back to the Middle Ages. The historical collection, which is located in the suburb Arna, is said to be one of the finest of its kind on a world basis.
Til alle som har en fot i fortidens Bergen - hva med Elisabeth Welhavens fornøyelige historier fra Bergen rundt 1800? Boken kan bestilles på Histos forlag!