New Project

I'm currently engaged in sorting out a short history of my former place of employment and doing a fair bit of research for it. It isn't just a 'pet project' it is part of a larger attemtp involving two other former members of the staff to bring together all the memories and all the history we can before it is lost. Part of the drive to do this is that changes in use, changes in culture and changes in our Service itself have all given rise to a decline in the activities we used to provide and a fragmentation of what the place was set up to provide.

The research for it has, in itself turned up information which casts new light on certain aspects and certainly there have been some surprising revelations, some of which will be included. Others, for a variety of reasons we may exclude and leave to others to 'uncover' at a later date. 

I was once told that technological development is "linear" but human history goes in circles. That is certainly true in the writing of this little bit of it. Centralised training for the Fire Service was identified as a need in the 1920s but it took the Blitz and the Luftwaffe to get the motivation into action. From 1941 onwards all aspiring officers in the UK's Fire Services had to attend a variety of "progression courses" at the Central Training establishment. It was the envy of the world and non-UK fire officers aspired to being given the opportunity to train there, and many were lucky enough to do so.

But, in 1994, the UK's largest service decided to go its own way and in 1997 others began to use "Treasury" rules requiring "best value" to argue for cheaper alternatives and from there on training has been fragmented again. Mapping it all out, I wonder how long it will be before someone, somewhere asks - why did we let it all go?

In the meantime we are hoping to produce a history and a memoir which will record all the history, the personalities and all the names of those who worked there, shaped courses and delivered the training. Perhaps, in future, it will provide someone with the inspiration ...

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