1902 Encyclopedia > London > Fire Brigade

(Part 12)


Protection from Fire

Until 1866 the duty of extinguishing fires was in the hands of the fire insurance companies, which in 1832 united in support of one brigade, for the whole of London, but only kept a comparatively small establishment, in the central districts of the metropolis. The other districts were protected by small hand-engines kept up by the parochial authorities according to the 14 Geo III c. 78. Since the staff of the fire insurance companies was placed under the care of the Metropolitan Board, the number of stations has been increased from 17 to 53, with 4 floating stations, while 11 movable stations have also been provided; the number of engines has been increased from 11 steam and 27 manual to 3 floating engines, 38 steam land engines, and 115 manual; and the number of men has been increased from 130 to 536, in addition to 68 coachmen and pilots. The board has also undertaken the duty of protecting life from fire, which previous to 1867 was discharged by a society supported by voluntary subscriptions, and they at present maintain 137 fire-escapes, which are stationed during the night in the most prominent parts of the metropolis. The total receipts of the brigade in 1880 was 91,545 pounds, and the expenses 88,980pounds of which 56,021 pounds, was defrayed by the board, 10,000 pounds was paid by the treasury, and 21,464 pounds was contributed by the insurance companies, at the rate of 35 pounds for every 1,000,000 pounds insured by them. In 1881 the expenses were over 100,00 pounds, of which over 60,000 pounds was defrayed by rates. The number of persons endangered by fire during 1881 was 154, of whom 114 were saved and 40 lost their lives. The following table (VIII) gives a classification of fires since 1874:-


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