Shand Mason Curricle Ladders (1898) | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Shand Mason Curricle Ladders (1898)

Item details

Name of item: Shand Mason Curricle Ladders (1898)
Other name/s: No.4 Curricle Ladders
Type of item: Movable / Collection
Group/Collection: Utilities - Fire Control
Category: Fire Control Objects (movable)
Location: Lat: -33.74775006 Long: 150.6934446
Primary address: 1 Museum Drive, Penrith, NSW 2750
Local govt. area: Penrith
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Deerubbin

Boundary:

The SHR curtilage boundary is limited to the item itself and does not include the land it is located on or the structure it is housed within.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1 Museum DrivePenrithPenrith  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The 1898 Shand Mason Curricle Ladders demonstrate the continuing process of improving and upgrading firefighting equipment and techniques in NSW, in response to the increasing and new demands of a developing and expanding City of Sydney. These ladders demonstrate rarity, as they were the first of only two sets of Curricle Ladders to be imported by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (the remainder being locally produced). They are a fine example of the work of the Shand Mason Company of London, and are representative of their class in principles of elevation and extension; however, they are unique in terms of being the only set curricle ladders used by the brigade, to incorporate a wooden box-like framework to increase the ladder's weight bearing capacity. They are also the only set of Shand Mason Curricle Ladders imported by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, as well as the only fifty-foot set of Curricle Ladders used by the brigade (the remainder being forty-five feet). Investigation suggests that these are the only extant Curricle Ladders used by the Metropolitan, and NSW Fire Brigades. They have a historical association with one of Sydney's major early fires (the Anthony Hordern & Sons fire of 1901), which was had a devastating impact upon the Sydney community. The integrity and condition of the ladders are good. Firefighters and fire engine enthusiasts hold the ladders in high esteem, and this is evidenced by the ongoing care and maintenance carried out by volunteers at the Museum of Fire, Penrith. Social significance is also demonstrated by the decision of the Board of Fire Commissioners to dedicate the ladders for preservation.
Date significance updated: 16 Jul 12
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: Shand Mason & Co. of London
Builder/Maker: Shand Mason & Co. of London
Construction years: 1898-1898
Physical description: The 1898 Shand Mason Curricle Ladders are telescopic ladders consisting of one main length, and two sliding lengths, mounted on a horse-drawn carriage. They are hinged at the front of a hose box, which is centrally located over the axle. A contemporary fire brigade training manual described the ladders as follows:
The elevating and extension gear consists of two winch handles fitted to a shaft, which operates by means of gears, a winding drum (with ratchets and pawls) fixed to the main ladder, and also a roller working in brackets attached to the shafts. It is so arranged that by inserting or withdrawing a locking bolt in the ladder the elevating and extension gear can be thrown in or out of action. A flexible steel wire rope is wound on the winding drum. It passes over the roller and is connected to the ladder through suitable sheaves. Steel angle sections with holes drilled to take a cross bar are fixed to the shafts for securing the ladder in a vertical position. The ladder can only be mounted when the rungs of each section are in opposition to one another. Two pointers are fitted to the winding drum to indicate this position. Plumbing tear, consisting of a worm and shaft gearing, is fixed to the hose box on either side to plumb the ladder when being used on uneven ground. The top ladder is detachable and can be used separately. (Ladders Description & Drill, p. 22).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical Condition - Good
Archaeological Potential - Low
Modifications and dates: Pre 1922: Bracket and crossbar fitted to carriage shafts to enable the vehicle to be drawn by truck. This bracket is on location with the ladders but no longer affixed. The fabric of the shafts show wearing, and screws/screw holes, where these were once fitted.
1922: New wires were spliced by the brigade workshop 'sailor-men', due to the hoisting gear being frayed and the splicing defective.
1922: There was a request that 'pawls be fitted to the extension ladders as an additional means of safety'. The ladders currently do not incorporate pawls and there is no evidence in the fabric that any were fitted.
1923: A new drum was manufactured and fitted by the brigade workshops.
Pre 1931: The Rotary Gong is now located on the front of the hose box, directly under the ladder lengths, and appears in that position in a 'Ladder and Drill' instruction manual (1931); however, rotary gong's were normally fitted to the underside of the driver's footrest in horse drawn engines. The fabric of the driver's footrest reveals mounting holes that correspond to the bolts of the gong, suggesting that the footrest was, in fact, the original position. This is further supported by the extreme difficulty in reaching and operating the gong in its current position, from any of the four seating positions.
Pre 1960: Repainted.

History

Historical notes: The Number 4 Shand Mason, 50 foot (15.25m) Curricle Ladders (1898) were ordered by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in 1897, for use at Newtown fire station. The ladders are of a telescopic design and were pulled by a single horse. Following the ladders' arrival in 1898, the Newtown firemen were given a course of instruction. An additional man and horse were subsequently placed at Newtown once the men were conversant with the use of the ladder. A report by Charles Bown (President of the Fire Brigades Board) stated that the ladders proved to be 'a very valuable addition to the equipment of the Brigade'. (Annual Report for 1898, p.3.).
Whilst attached to Newtown station, the Curricle Ladders was one of four sets of ladders involved in operations to extinguish one of Sydney's most famous major fires - the Anthony Hordern & Sons fire, at Haymarket, in 1901. 'No other fire in Sydney's history has evoked more publicity than the Anthony Hordern & Sons fire of Wednesday 10 July 1901' (Adrian, p. 195). This fire destroyed five major high-rise buildings, in which 1200 people were employed. Five people were killed in this blaze: four were burnt to death having been trapped inside the buildings, and another fell 120 feet (36.5m) to his death in Gipps Street (he jumped when it became obvious that the brigade's largest ladders could not reach him). These Curricle Ladders operated at this fire alongside another heritage-significant fire engine: No. 18 Shand Mason Steamer (1891) and today, they again stand side by side, on permanent display at the Museum of Fire, Penrith.
In 1907, the Curricle Ladders appeared in a Fireman's Manual of Instruction with a brass number '3' attached to its hose box, suggesting that at the time, it was attached to Circular Quay fire brigade. This is further supported by a list of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade plant dated: 1 June 1909. Three months later, it was transferred to Headquarters fire station. By July 1913, the Curricle Ladders were at Darlinghurst fire station, from where it responded on the 18th of that month to a fire at No. 100 Brougham St, Darlinghurst, in which ten drays and three lorries were alight. It appears that the ladders were not much used at Darlinghurst after that. On 10 December 1917, Station Officer Arthur Wickham recommended that the curricle ladders be removed from Darlinghurst, for since the installation of a motorised engine in September 1913 (with its thirty-five foot ladder), the horse drawn curricle ladders had not attended a call of fire. District Officer George Grimmond replied, 'I do not consider it advisable to remove same owing to the risk in this portion of this district' (G. Grimmond to F. Jackson, memorandum, 11 December 1917). He further advised Mr Wickham that the situation might be reconsidered when a 'motor and 65 foot ladder combination set' could be installed at Darlinghurst (Ibid.).
On 29 November, 1922, the Curricle Ladders re-appear at Headquarters: awaiting repairs. They were no longer being drawn by horses; but rather, were towed by truck. The horse-drawn era of the fire brigade was fast drawing to an end, and by this time there were only sixteen brigade horses remaining in Sydney - all of them in the suburbs. The much-needed repairs did not take place, however, until after 26 July the following year. The brigade workshops were too busy to attend to them immediately, and so in the meantime, it was used in connection with the painting of Headquarters. The repairs were carried out after the painting was completed.
It is known that the ladders were in service at Newcastle in June 1924, and that they returned to the Sydney Fire District circa 30 April 1925.
After being withdrawn from service, the Curricle Ladders were presented to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (now Powerhouse Museum). In 1979, they were reclaimed by the NSW Fire Brigades and presented to the Museum of Fire, Penrith.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
When the Metropolitan Brigade took control in 1884, they possessed 'one American ladder truck'. With the arrival of the No. 4 Curricle Ladders in 1898, the brigade plant consisted of 2 large ladders and 4 small ladders. The 1898 Shand Mason Curricle Ladders demonstrate the ongoing process of the improvement and development of firefighting capabilities and equipment, during the late nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries, in response to the increasing demands of an expanding and developing City of Sydney.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Curricle Ladders have an association with one of Sydney's most devastating fires of the early twentieth century - the Anthony Hordern & Sons fire in Haymarket, on 10 July 1901.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Curricle Ladders are a fine example of the work of the Shand Mason Company of London, from whom many of the state's fire appliances were ordered.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Ladders are held in esteem by firefighters and fire engine enthusiasts, and this is evidenced by its preservation and ongoing care and maintenance work carried out by volunteers at the Museum of Fire, Penrith. Social significance is also demonstrated by the decision of the Board of Fire Commissioners to dedicate the ladders for preservation.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The ladders were the first of only two 'imported' curricle ladders purchased by the Metropolitan Brigade - the remainder all being locally manufactured. It was the only set of Shand Mason Curricle Ladders purchased by the Brigade, and the only set of 50 foot Curricle Ladders used (the remainder all being 45 feet). Research suggests that these are the only extant Curricle Ladders used by the Metropolitan, and NSW Fire Brigades.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The ladders are a fine representation of the now defunct technology of Curricle Ladders. They are representative of Curricle Ladders in principles of elevation and extension; however, they are unique in one respect: whilst other ladders incorporated metal bowed trussing to increase the ladder's weight bearing capacity, these Shand Mason ladders incorporated a wooden box-like framework to perform the same function.
Integrity/Intactness: The locking bar for locking the ladder into a vertical position is no longer with the ladders and a new drum was manufactured and fitted by the Brigade Workshops in 1923. Apart from this, the integrity of the ladders is of a high degree and the ladders are in good condition. The adaptation of a crossbar (circa 1920s), which facilitated the conversion from horse-drawn ladders to truck-towed ladders, is still located with the vehicle (although it has been removed).
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Feb 25 2013
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions HERITAGE ACT 1977

ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2)
TO GRANT SITE SPECIFIC EXEMPTIONS FROM APPROVAL

1898 Shand Mason Curricle Ladders

SHR No. 1899

I, the Minister for Heritage, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of that Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule "C" by the Fire and Rescue NSW or the Museum of Fire described in Schedule "B" on the item described in Schedule "A".




The Hon Robyn Parker, MP.
Minister for Heritage


Sydney, 24th Day of October 2012


SCHEDULE "A"

The item known as the 1898 Shand Mason Curricle Ladders, situated on the land described in Schedule "B".


SCHEDULE "B"

Moveable heritage item currently stored at 1 Museum Drive, Penrith, Parish of Castlereagh, County of Cumberland.

SCHEDULE "C"
EXEMPTIONS UNDER SECTION 57(2)

1. All Standard Exemptions
Reason/ comments: These cover a full range of activities that do not require Heritage Council approval, including Standard Exemption 7 which allows consideration of additional unspecified types of minor works for exemption.

2. Replacement of parts as required to keep the Shand Mason Curricle Ladders in good repair and order where the existing parts cannot be repaired and retained. Parts are to be a replica of the original parts except where this can no longer be achieved and will not impact on the significance of the item.
Reason/ comments: To ensure the maintenance, repair and conservation of the Shand Mason Curricle Ladders.

3. The disassembly and reassembly of the Shand Mason Curricle Ladders for the purposes of maintenance and repair to keep the item in good repair and order.
Reason/ comments: To ensure the maintenance, repair and conservation of the Shand Mason Curricle Ladders.

4. The removal of the Shand Mason Curricle Ladders for storage outside the Museum of Fire Penrith for the purposes of maintenance and/or repair/ where an agreement is made to return the locomotive to the Museum within a specified time period.
Reason/ comments: To ensure the maintenance, repair and conservation of the Shand Mason Curricle Ladders.

5.The removal (on loan) of the Shand Mason Curricle Ladders from the Museum of Fire, Penrith for the purposes of exhibition in other exhibition institutions or as part of a travelling exhibition where an agreement is made to return the items to the Museum of Fire, Penrith within a specified time period and where moving will not damage items.
Reason/ comments: To enable the public exhibition of the item.

6. The deaccessioning of the item where the item will be disposed of in NSW.
Reason/ comments:To ensure that the SHR item remains located in NSW (notwithstanding temporary periods on exhibition outside NSW)
Feb 25 2013

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0189925 Feb 13 30491 & 493

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBoard of Fire Commissioners of NSW1931Ladders Description and Drill
WrittenMetropolitan Fire Brigade1899Annual Report for 1898
WrittenMetropolitan Fire Brigade1898Annual Report for 1897
WrittenMetropolitan Fire Brigade-58Fire Record Book
WrittenVarious Various Brigade Reports

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5056131
File number: 12/06393


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