Heritage and History
On 14 June 1966 it was announced that the Fire Service Technical
College would be established on the site of the Home Office
Training Centre at Moreton-in-Marsh. The first Commandant of
the new college, Harry Judge QFSM MIFireE began his new role in
Considered to be a man of vision, Harry, formerly Chief Fire
Officer of the West Riding of Yorkshire, saw that the development
of a national training centre was a huge opportunity to build a
world class establishment with facilities that would not be out of
date in a few years. To many, Harry is considered to be the
founding father of the College that we have today.
In 1981, the Fire Service Staff College in Dorking closed with
some instructors transferring to the technical college which was
subsequently renamed the Fire Service College.
The early days
The Fire Brigades Act 1938 authorised the establishment of a
training centre for special fire service courses. A
site in Watford was identified but the outbreak of WWII meant that
a much larger site was required, so training commenced in Saltdean,
Following the denationalisation of the fire service in 1947, the
Saltdean centre was soon too large for peacetime training needs and
training was transferred to Wotton House, near Dorking.
Historically, firefighting was dealt with in very small areas,
with firefighters unable to travel outside of their parish or
village boundaries to respond to a fire. Indeed, it was a
common occurence for fire pumps to be sponsored by an insurance
company and if the pump was sent to your home to deal with a fire,
if you were not insured by the company who owned the pump, they
would turn around and leave the property to burn.