IT was January, 1970, and a 1901 horse-drawn Merryweather fire engine was being taken through the streets of Glasgow, en route to the Museum of Transport.

It was 69 years old at the time but it could still pull its weight. “If she was to come across a fire on the way she could still handle it,” one fireman remarked. “Nae bother.” On board the engine were firemen James Murray, 60, and Alex Campbell, 57. They were among six men on board the Merryweather, all wearing fire uniforms from its period, as it made its stately way from the fire HQ on Ingram Street to the museum on Albert Drive. The four others on board were William Cunningham, Ron Russell, William Cunningham and Bob Dryden.

The city’s firemaster, George Cooper, looked on as driver John McPherson took the reins and the horses – Harvey and Charlie – trotted off.

Two years earlier, a 1928 Merryweather-Albion fire engine, supplied by Galway Urban Council, went on display alongside a more modern fire engine.

The contrast underlined the remarkable advances in fire-fighting technology that were now coming on stream.

The Glasgow fire brigade was putting on show its latest devices – the country’s largest foam generator, and a hydraulic platform capable of carrying it high over a fire.

The generator could cover the pitch at Hampden Park with foam a foot deep in the space of six minutes.

On board the platform were a water monitor, which could

throw 1,000 gallons of water a minute; two 75ft hoses for immediate entry into burning buildings up to 70ft above ground level, a communications link between the cage at the top

and the ground, and a CCTV camera.

Read more: Herald Diary