In 1866, Thomas Horrocks Miller inherited the Singleton Estate from his father. He built Singleton Hall and estate housing nearby, making Singleton into a ‘model village’ for its workers. In 1882, a fire engine house was constructed at the centre of the village. This small ‘Mock Tudor’ style building, some 18 feet long by 14 feet wide, contained a horse drawn fire engine. A small tower on the back of the building housed the alarm bell, which would be rung to summon the volunteers. The crew consisted of the captain, his fourteen men and the horse that drew the engine, which was grazed in the adjacent field. The engine itself is thought to have been made by Merryweather and Sons, who produced horse drawn steam fire engines.
The fire station was closed down in 1946. Today, the building has found a new function, as one of the most elegant electricity substations in the country.
The outside of the Singleton Fire Station, now Grade II protected, reveals a wealth of detail. The pargeting (decorative plaster work) on the white panels shows an array of stylised plants. Lions heads grace the guttering. The roof tiles are a mixture of straight edges and curves, topped off with a decorative roofline. The small bellcote that covered the bell is still in place. Above the front double doors, in red lettering, are the words ‘FIRE ENGINE’.
There is parking at Singleton village hall off Station Road. The village has a number of interpretation boards that describe the history of the area.
Lancashire Curiosities, Richard Peace (1997), The Dovecote Press