On the 14th January 1901 St Andrews Town Council set up a new committee known as The Steam Fire Engine Committee. This was formed on the back of a generous offer by a noted citizen of the town, Major Donald Lindsay Carnegie, to fund the purchase of a new Merryweather Fire Engine similar to the appliances which had recently gone into service with London’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade
The committee’s first task was to sanction the expenditure of £250 to alter the premises in Church Square to accommodate the appliance and to construct a 45 foot hose tower. The committee also heard that Major Carnegie had paid for new helmets and tunics for the crew and a set of ‘Morris Couplings’ for the hose.
In recognition, the committee persuaded Major Carnegie to allow them to place a brass plaque on the engine giving details of his gift to the town. This plaque is still in place today.
The Merryweather ‘Gem’ arrived by train in St Andrews on Thursday 30th May 1901 accompanied by a Merryweather agent. Pulled by four horses, the engine clattered through the streets of St Andrews watched by hundreds of spectators who had turned out to see their new fire engine.
The first call it attended was to a fire in the goods station on Saturday, June 8th 1901, where only 9 days previous it had arrived by train. The crew were under the command of Captain W. Watson and arrived within 8 minutes of the call being made to the Fire Brigade.
The appliance was last used shortly after the Second World War to pump away flood water and it was during this incident that the boiler burst. The engine was gifted to The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Heritage Trust by Fife Fire and Rescue Service on a permanent loan basis in January 2007.