THE role of the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service features in our pictures today and the links with communities stretching back to Victorian times.

Ulverston fire station was built in 1886 and in more recent times became home to the St John Ambulance Brigade.

The current station was opened in 1974 at The Ellers and is due to be replaced by a £4.8m blue light hub off the A590.

The Barrow fire service was started in 1865and has been based at Phoenix Road since 1996.

Victorian councils in towns such as Dalton and Millom also raised money for their own fire engines.

A 1910 Shand Mason steam fire engine – once hauled to blazes by a pair of horses – is the star attraction in the Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum at Rochdale.

Machines much like it – with plenty of highly polished brass – were the pride and joy of Edwardian fire brigades throughout Lancashire and Cumbria. This one could supply 300 gallons (1,360litres) of water a minute.

But horse and steam power was very much at the end of its era and in 1912 construction was completed on Barrow’s new fire station in Abbey Road.

It has been described by Historic Englandas as: “Well-preserved example of the first generation of fire station built specifically for motorised appliances.”

The fire service museum, which opened in 1983, is close to the town railway station and can be visited for free on Fridays and the first Sunday of the month, from 10am to 4pm.

Among its hundreds of exhibits - telling the story of firefighting over the past 250 years - is a diorama showing how officers of the National Fire Service and Auxiliary Fire Service coped in the Second World War.

It is built around a trailer pump of the kind which would have been used to deal with blazes in the rubble of damaged streets during the Barrow Blitz of 1941.

Cumbria Fire Service was formed in 1974 after local government was reorganised. It took in old brigades covering Cumberland, Westmorland, Carlisle and Barrow.