About this image
The photographer's original caption reads:
'Oldest Fire Engine in Britain. Wirksworth (Derbyshire, of 17th Century.'
In fact, while it was believed to be the oldest fire engine in England, it was of 18th century origin rather than 17th, being made by Richard Newsome, who patented a 'water engine' to help fire-fighters put out fires by directing a jet of pressurized water, in 1721. Its latterday use had been as a means of cleaning windows, but it was duly offered by the Wirksworth Town Surveyor to the Victoria and Albert Museum as it was 'older than any fire engine held there.'
Further information on this hand-operated machine would be welcome as there is some doubt regarding its ultimate fate (the Science Museum in London has a similar machine but it is not this one, the wheel sizes being different).