March 13th 2015 Marked The End Of An Era At SFRS Training Centre In Gullane
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Heritage Trust were honoured to accept an invitation to take part in the closing ceremony for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Training School in Gullane
The Gullane Training School officially opened in 1954 and has been the primary training establishment for new recruits into the Scottish Fire Service until replaced by the superb purpose built Headquarters and Training School in Cambuslang so sadly, the doors on this iconic building have now closed for the last time.
Imagine the excitement in the village in 1899, when the Hopes of Luffness announced they were to build a hotel in Gullane right next to the railway terminus, then only a year old
The railway was to bring visitors in their thousands, some 20,900 were counted through in 1900 along with a measure of prosperity to the village. As the work proceeded, imagine the gossip amongst the 500 or so inhabitants, the exclamations at the beautiful woodwork, the lofty rooms, the sweep of the magnificent staircase, the “tower” with its prospect for miles around
Move on through two world wars, when the army requisitioned it, to peace in 1945 and the hope that once again, the Marine Hotel, Gullane, would bring employment and status to the village. For a few years, it did so. Molly Alderson, who was to work at the Fire School in later years, but had come through from Dumfries after the war to work for the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield, remembers the dances she was invited to at the Marine by the golfers who stayed there. But it was not to be sustained and with its closure in 1951, the prospect was of a crumbling white elephant, a depressing ruin on the approach from the east
To the rescue came the Trustees of the “Fire Service Research and Training Trust”, a U.K body. They were persuaded by the Scottish Home and Health Department of the Scottish Office to provide £13,500 in 1953 to acquire the former hotel, as well as 3 acres of adjoining land “for recreational purposes” at £306 7s. 2d (to include legal fees). This would enable the Scottish Fire Service Training School to move from unsuitable premises at Moredun, Paisley, to pastures new in Gullane and signalled the beginning of a relationship with the village that was to be to the benefit of both parties.
The Scottish Fire Service Training School is administered by the Scottish Home and Health Department. It started at Moredun, Paisley and Whitburn, West Lothian in the 1940s and subsequently moved to Gullane in 1953 into the former Marine Hotel
The school was responsible for the training of all recruits into the Eleven Scottish Fire Brigades and also carried out training on specialised subjects for firemen and junior officers as well as certain industrial courses
The Scottish Fire Service Training School in Gullane was officially opened on the 1st of April 1954, replacing the SFSTS Moredun and Whitburn facilities which had been in use from the 1940s to 1953, and was in use from 1953 to 2002 as the SFS Training School and from 2002 to 2015 it was known as the SFSCollege
The College’s core business was the provision of development for trainee firefighters for the original eleven Scottish Fire Brigades, (Northern, North Eastern, Angus, Perth and Kinross, Fife, South Eastern, Western, Central, Lanarkshire, Glasgow and South Western)
That provision of basic skills, knowledge and understanding was augmented by further development in the areas of Road Traffic Accident Extrication Techniques and Instructor Development, Breathing Apparatus Instructor Development and more recently Urban Search & Rescue Tools Skills and Mass Decontamination Instructor Development.