FIREFIGHTERS in Colchester is something likely to date back to Roman times.

But it was only after the Great fire of London in 1666 that formal fire crews, Fire Insurance Companies, were formed.

Essex had already invested in firefighting equipment, in 1632, when Braintree got a fire engine.

Towns covered by one or more of these brigades included Colchester, Chelmsford, Maldon, Coggeshall, Wivenhoe, Manningtree, Thorpe-le-Soken and Rayleigh.

Since then major changes have occurred and our archive images this week show how even in the past 60 to 70 years the equipment and vehicles have evolved.

* Contact us with your memories on 01206 508186.