Ind Coope's Own Regiment

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The restored Ind Coope fire engine with Ian Peaty in full uniform!

Ind Coope Ltd's Own Regiment

By Ian P Peaty

The Ind and Coope families and the company played an active role in the affairs of both the county of Essex and the country. Apart from providing Romford with its fire protection, the firm had raised a company of soldiers as early as 1864 which was attached to the Essex Rifle Volunteers and were known as “Ind Coope’s Own Regiment”.

Mr E.T. Helme, the Company Chairman, was the first captain, with Octavius Coope acting as the Honorary Colonel. The company was attached to the 3rd Administrative Battalion of the Essex and later formed part of the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Essex Regiment.

The firm had previously formed a brass band of 30 players in 1859 which was to have the distinction of becoming the Battalion Band; this played at all the major county and local events.

The Romford Brewery fire department remained in existence right up to closure in 1993, although the fire engine, a Morris Commercial 26bhp converted from a dray lorry in 1938, went out of use in the 1950’s. However, when I returned from my stint at head office at the old Cannon Brewery, Farringdon, London, in 1980, the brewery engineers department renovated the vehicle and I drove this to carnivals and on the Vintage Vehicle run to Brighton.

The machine had all its original equipment including stand pipes and hoses with “Ind Coope and Allsopp” emblazoned on each. On these runs, we always took several of the firms apprentices, just to get them into the brewery way of doing things.