Manual fire engine, 1898.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
In the 19th century, public authority fire brigades could not give sufficient protection to country houses, institutions or small factories, so many of them set up private fire brigades. The small manual engine was popular with these brigades long after the public and larger companies had adopted the steam, and later the motor, fire engine, mainly because of its simplicity, easy maintenance and low cost. This Merryweather 'Factory' engine was used in Dorchester Prison. It was hand drawn and worked by 12 men.