Memory Lane

BRASS BUTTONS
Written by Peter Crook
As a Union Branch Official
During the manning disputes 1993

I joined the Fire Brigade when I was keen and fresh.

I looked forward to a long “Career”.

The Brigade was steeped in tradition, people were respected, there were strong bonds of comradery, and above all discipline and dedication were paramount.

The uniform I wore was made of wool, a smart tunic with rows of brass buttons.
Like the Fire Brigade and the people who formed it, those buttons needed constant care and attention to keep maintained.

I now “work” for a Fire Service.

It frowns on tradition, it cares little for comradery, but instead promotes team input.

Discipline has been replaced by threats and demands, through Standard Operational Procedures and Standard Administrative Procedures.

My uniform is baggy and synthetic.

The brass buttons have been replaced by plastic and clips.

There is no need for brass buttons, and there is little need for care and attention, for now there is little left to maintain.