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Collections Spotlight – The 1851 Great Exhibition and 1846 Fire Engine

We have some more cool objects to showcase: The 1851 Great Exhibition and one of our lovely fire engines!

The 1851 Great Exhibition

Richard Garrett III was a major innovator. In 1851 he was invited to the Great Exhibition at the crystal palace, in London. Upon attending the great exhibition, Richard Garrett met Samuel Colt who described his concept of flow line manufacturing. Richard Garrett started construction of the long Shop the following year. The Exhibition had introduced the firm to the field of International Exhibits. In the hundred and forty days that the Exhibition was open, over six million people visited. Following the Exhibition, the firm looked to export their custom and to a much narrower range of products – principally steam engines, threshers, and seed drills – for their main revenue.

The image below is an artist’s rendition of Richard Garrett III (far right), with a client at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London.

1846 Fire Engine

The Tilley Second Size Fire Engine was horse drawn and manually operated by six men on each side. It was bought by the Fire Brigade Company in 1846 for £159-0s-2d. The first fire attended by this engine was at Theberton Hall on 21st May, 1848 and the last fire attended was at Bulls Hall, Knodishall on 22nd February 1935, a whole 87 years of service!

In order to safeguard the Town and Garrett Works against the hazard of fire, Richard Garrett III instigated a share holding group and a number of contributors to secure the purchase of a fire engine.

Five-Pound shares were held by:R Garrett – 7, G Neave – 2, C Geater – 1, J Girling – 1, W Last – 1, N Garrett – 1, J Grimsey – 1, G Gildersleeves – 1, R Tuffield – 1, L Cottingham – 1

Other contributors included Lord Huntingfield £10, Lord Furlow £5, Lord Rendlesham £5, Ed Fuller £5, four fire insurance companies with amounts ranging from £5 to £10.

These two objects in our collection are very important. The Great Exhibition is what lead to the Long Shop being built, and the fire engine helped protect not just Garretts but Leiston and the surrounding villages also!