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William wants to complete Hartest horse drawn fire engine

A man who gifted a piece of Hartest history to the village is hoping to complete the job with a little help.

William Miller’s mother and father retired to Hartest in 1985 and lived in Curates House which, in 1840, was the village’s fire station.

He said: “When my mother died two years ago and I was clearing out the garage, I realised that there was still some of the lockers that the fireman had kept their boots and helmets in,

William Miller at Hartest Village Fete with the top half of the 1840 Hartest fire enginePicture by Mecha Morton
William Miller at Hartest Village Fete with the top half of the 1840 Hartest fire enginePicture by Mecha Morton

“This is when I thought wouldn’t it be fun to research this a bit, so I went online to see what I could find.”

As soon as the 68-year-old retired environmental consultant from Northampton typed in ‘Hartest Fire Station’, a site came up in Warwick selling the top of the village’s first horse drawn fire engine.

He said: “It was being sold as a storage chest – as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it.”

After buying the engine for £1,000 and gifting it to the village, William has now found a complete bottom half for the engine, in pieces, at the Whitewebbs Museum of Transport, in London, and is in discussions with them to purchase it, though he will need assistance putting it back together.

William also hopes to find a suitable place to display the completed engine in the village.

He said: “I would love to have it on display there to thank the very beautiful village where my mother was very happy for more than 30 years.”

The fire engine received great interest at the Hartest Village Fete on Bank Holiday Monday and William hopes by the time the next one comes around the village will have a complete engine to admire.

He said: “The fact that the bottom half of the engine may become available is news which may be slightly startling to my friends in Hartest.

“I’ll have to discuss it in detail with them, but in principle, it would be absolutely marvellous to be able to display the engine in full working condition at future village events.”

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