Master Wheelwright and Coachbuilder Phill Gregson

50′ wheeled fire escape.

One of my favourite projects over recent years has been the complete restoration of a Liverpool built 50′ wheeled fire escape.

The escape arrived at the workshop in a very sorry state, the wheels had collapsed and one was missing its axle box, the ladder was rotten and collapsing in places and all the metal work was rusting heavily, shedding its paint.

As a result we had to near enough start from scratch.


10501857_548352345270582_5351543958492396453_nNew naves for the escape.

1234614_588320897940393_5790920271555035395_nFreshly spoked escape wheels.

10612574_588320937940389_3763980458107198591_nWheel during spoking

10603610_590270374412112_3490084764805383269_nFelloed wheel

DSCF5743Set up for hooping

10615568_596578123781337_2928729926920596076_nFreshly hooped wheel


10687068_597758040330012_4603750537449533561_nSanding after hooping

10653307_599150010190815_7569268750667651438_nFirst coat of primer, it’s almost a shame to cover up the wood!

10487255_548352255270591_8370583563607711117_n Part of the escapes chassis back from sandblasting, primed and having new timbers fitted.

10610494_597758193663330_1724734740440475389_nFitting the new wheels onto the axles and chassis.


10372759_597758003663349_7636993018274012774_nPepper inspecting the job so far!


10343654_601420716630411_8897246281628274263_nJoe fitting a replacement stay.

1981892_600510410054775_70904439057191417_nFirst tier of the ladder fitted onto the chassis.

10676294_599148566857626_2520002873242431384_nSecond tier of the ladder being spliced and having new rungs fitted.

1482910_601420763297073_1632778918204290031_nJoe restoring the top winding mechanism.

1613864_640150349424114_3909736854264346265_nFully assembled ladder being wheeled out of the workshop, it runs and balances so easily one man can handle it!



10959818_640150286090787_7134950269061352579_nFinal checks and a touch up before delivery.

10988935_640496432722839_1206474591433563716_nDelicately loaded onto a crane wagon to be transported to it’s home in the Merseyside fire service museum.