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Beyond the Flames-bookcover

By: David C. Pike

Beyond the Flames

Pages: 583 Ratings: 1.4
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As a teenager at a South London comprehensive school, young David Pike is advised by his careers master to seek employment at a local engineering factory. Determined not to do so, 'Pikey' first considers the Metropolitan Police; disappointed at their rejection, he sees an advertisement for the London Fire Brigade, who at sixteen offer him a place as a Junior Fireman.
From those early days in the 60s as a Junior Fireman, Pikey's career spans four decades and numerous jobs as he climbs the career ladder in the London Fire Brigade. On the way he undertakes a wide variety of roles, as well as organising several high profile charity events and official Fire Brigade commemorations.
David Pike's enthralling book is his own account - sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, but never dull - of his career in, and dedication to, fire fighting in the capital city. The reader will gain a fascinating insight into the workings of the London Fire Brigade and the firefighters who keep us safe.

Starting his career as a fire-cadet at sixteen the author rose to senior rank, always in an operational role. A steady ‘plodder’ more than a high flier he learnt his trade craft serving, and commanding, the Capital’s busiest and most challenging fire station, Brixton. Awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct he also rowed himself into the Guinness Book of Records whilst raising many thousands of pounds for charity. A talented organiser he was involved in delivering some of the London Fire Brigade’s most high-profile public events during the 1990s including royal visits and the unveiling of the national Blitz memorial by St Paul’s Cathedral. A fireman first and foremost he provides a valuable human story into the life and history of the London Fire Brigade from 1965 to the late 1990s.

Customer Reviews
47 reviews
47 reviews
  • Lloyd Dunn

    I had bought David Pike second, London's Firefighters, and had to buy his first. This book is an absolute pleasure to read, the book amazingly brings a fireman's dramatic and eventful career into perspective. His story offer a surreal insight into real events and show the true formidable side to the firefighters, then firemen's, bravely. I would definitely read this book if firefighters nterests you, however if you are not, like me, someone that doesn't have a particular interest in them I would still give it ago! It's an engaging read which is hard to put down once you pick it up.

  • Mikorah

    A good book and a lot to read. I joined the LFB in the late 70's, just after the strike. I only knew Dave Pike via our in-house magazine. This book is probably the boldest I've read and I've pretty much read all the LFB books now ! Dave doesn't hold back with his memories of drinking on the stations it was rife and was getting well out of hand. We only had one sober driver one night duty and two fire engines ! The junior firemen part of the book was quite an eye opener, no wonder those lads stood out at stations after two years of virtual military service. I served with a fair few of those lads and they certainly knew there stuff. So pleased that Pageants Wharf got a mention, my mum and dad and two older brothers lived in brigade accommodation at that station 1957 to 1959. Dave's out duty there just cracked me up !
    Fascinating to read about his time at Lambeth, not to mention the non-stop station work ! I never actually got to do station cleaning as the union had kicked it out in '72. Not sure if that was a good thing judging by the state of stations in the late seventies. The book covers over thirty years of service by the author and it's got everything but the kitchen sink in it, tons of charity work, fires, senior management doing there best to cock things up, all in all a brave book by someone who has finally told it as things really were.

  • Jamie Adam

    While collections of amusing anecdotes make good reads, this book is different in that it takes you right to the heart of what it means to be a career fireman - warts and all. Written in a light hearted but committed style, the author takes us through the highs and lows of a truly varied and inspirational career. There are lessons to be learned for us all at some point in his story, but that doesn't prevent it being fascinating throughout.
    An absolute must for anybody who wants to learn what it is like to be a fireman, and both how and how not to manage others.

  • John Buck

    Read the authors first book second having seen it in his London's Firefighters. This is an excellent account, that pulls no punches, of a lad becoming a man in the London Fire Brigade. A damn good read. Recoomended to aanyone who enjoys an autobiography.

  • Wishing Shelf Book Awards

    The following review was originally written by a Wishing Shelf Book Award reader.
    "I work in the fire brigade up in Lincolnshire so I was delighted to read this book for The Wishing Shelf Award. I thought it was facinating particularly how different the service is now compared to back then. A long book but, then, it had to be to cover the history of such a noble service. Very well done."

  • Lara King

    This is a book that gives you an accurate account, frequently humerious, occasionally very funny and sometimes painfully sad as to what the London Fire Brigade was once all about. It covers 30 years of operational activity of the author, who whilst a fireman first was presented with some exceptional challenges that you don't readily associate with the fire brigade, such as unveiling a 12 foot statue at St Paul's Cathedral! Simply a good read, filled with history, detail and tradition but all linked together by some wonderful anicdotes of David Pike's interesting, varied and at times amazing career.

  • Mat Rosendale

    This book is gripping and fills in all of the missing pieces. It is a
    humorous and easily readable account of a remarkable man. It does not
    disappoint on any level. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

  • david pike

    As you might expect, it is a personal journey. But one that is filled with humour, real life drama and an unique insight into the people that make up the varied layers of the London Fire Brigade. You do not have to be a \'fire brigade buff\' to enjoy this tale, that is written in a style that involves you in the story from page one. The various black and white images add an additional fascinating dimension, interspersed between the chapters, the tell there own story, of the people who are proud to call themselves firefighters.

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