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Title: Fire Prevention and Fire Extinction
Author: Braidwood, James
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Jas. Braidwood]











[_The right of Translation is reserved._]



Introductory, Early Fires, Fire Engines, and Fire Brigades           5

Mr. Braidwood's birth and education                                  7

Great Fire of Edinburgh, and appointment as head of Brigade          8

Award of Silver Medal of Society of Arts, London; publication
of work on Fire Engines                                             11

Formation of London Fire Brigade; appointment as Superintendent     13

Testimonials received upon leaving Edinburgh                        14

London residence and routine of duty                                16

Valuable services of the Royal Society for the Protection of
Life from Fire                                                      17

Statistics of Fires; improvement of Fire Engines                    18

Introduction of ladders, hose reel, and hand pump                   19

Floating Fire Engines, hand worked and steam; Land Steam
Fire Engine                                                         20

Inspection of Government Dockyards and Public Buildings;
establishment of a standard hose coupling                           21

Admitted an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers;
award of Telford Medal; endeavours to restrain the erection
of immoderate-sized warehouses                                      22

His opinion as to the inadequacy of London Fire Brigade;
Great Tooley Street Fire                                            23

Death of Mr. Braidwood                                              24

Public funeral                                                      25

Public and private character                                        28

World-wide esteem in which he was held                              30

Poem--A True Hero                                                   32


Inattention in the use of fires and lights                          33

Advantages of a legal inquiry into the cause of Fires               37

Improper construction of buildings                                  37

Acts of Parliament for buildings in London                          39

Results of improper construction of warehouses in Liverpool         41

Arrangements for the safety of the audience in theatres             42

Danger from furnaces and close fires                                43

Danger from pipes conveying products of combustion                  44

Spontaneous ignition; use of gas                                    45

Incendiarism; monomania                                             46


What is fireproof construction                                      47

Use of cast and wrought-iron                                        49

Mr. Fairbairn's experiments                                         50

Danger to life from use of cast-iron columns                        54

Report on warehouses                                                55

Covering timber with iron                                           56

Fireproof dwelling-houses                                           57

Fireproof safes                                                     58


Individual exertions for Fire Extinction                            59

Fire Brigades on the Continent of Europe, in England, in America    66

Necessity for the control of arrangements by one individual         67

Proposal for a national system                                      68

Fire Engines at noblemen's and gentlemen's residences               70

Training and discipline of Firemen                                  71

General instructions for Firemen, and for the use of Fire Engines   72

Necessity for the water striking the burning materials              74

Inventions for elevating branch pipes considered                    76


General description of men and engines                              79

Division of London into districts                                   81

General regulations                                                 82

Conditions of entrance into the establishment                       83

Outline of general duty                                             85

Duties of Superintendent                                            88

   "      Foremen                                                   90

   "      Engineers                                                 93

   "      Sub-Engineers and Firemen                                 94


Description of men selected                                         96

Mode of communicating with Firemen at a Fire                        97

Dress and drill of Firemen                                          99

Gymnastic exercises                                                104

General regulations                                                106

Duties of Police                                                   107

   "      Superintendent of Brigade                                109

   "      Head Enginemen                                           110

   "      Firemen, and High Constables                             111

   "      Magistrates, and Gas-Light Companies                     113

Special regulations for Firemen                                    114

Means of escape from Fire                                          118


The application of manual power                                    123

Engines used by the British Government                             124

Description of Brigade Fire Engine                                 126

Hand Pump; keeping Fire Engines in order                           130

Selection of Engine House                                          132

Apparatus provided with London Brigade Engine                      133

Leather hose                                                       134

Hose couplings                                                     140

Suction pipes                                                      143

Jet pipes, proper shape                                            145

Fire annihilator                                                   149


By pressure, from surface of ground, and by sunk tanks             150

Experiments with jets under a constant pressure                    153

Fire plug used in London                                           155

Canvas cistern and stand-cock used with fire plug                  156

Double fire-cock used in the Government Dockyards                  158

Double hollow key fire-cock used in the British Museum             159

Supply by Water Companies in London                                162

Supplying Fire Engines from fire-cocks, &c.                        163


Steam Fire Engines, progress in construction                       166

Trials before the Jury of the International Exhibition, 1862       168

Trials at the International Competition, London, 1863              173

Steam Fire Engines in use by Metropolitan Brigade, May, 1866       181

Act of Parliament for Metropolitan Fire Brigade                    182

Establishment of Metropolitan Fire Brigade                         197



Portrait of Mr. Braidwood on steel by Jeens,
from a photograph by Williams                            Frontispiece.

Longitudinal section of Brigade Fire Engine                        124

Transverse section of ditto                                        125

Old coupling for hose                                              140

New ditto, ditto                                                   141

Branch and jet pipe                                                145

Opening in sunk tank for suction pipe                              151

Fire plug used in London                                           155

Fire plug with canvas cistern                                      156

Fire plug with stand-cock                                          157

Single fire-cock                                                   158

Double fire-cock used at dockyards                                 158

Double fire-cock used at British Museum                            159


The appearance at the beginning of last year, in the Annual Report of
the Institution of Civil Engineers for 1861 and 1862, of a short
memoir of Mr. Braidwood, suggested the publication of a more extended
account of the life of the late head of the London Fire Brigade,
combined with his opinions upon the subject of his profession.

These opinions are comprised in a work on "Fire Engines, and the
Training of Firemen," published in Edinburgh in 1830; two papers upon
cognate subjects read before the Institution of Civil Engineers, two
similar papers read before the Society of Arts, and in a variety of
reports upon public buildings, warehouses, &c. While regretting the
great loss that the public has sustained, in being deprived by Mr.
Braidwood's sudden death of a complete record of his long and varied
London experience, it has been considered advisable to republish the
above materials arranged in a systematic form, omitting only such
parts as the Author's more matured experience rendered desirable, but
confining the whole to his own words.


  _June, 1866._


_To his work "On the Construction of Fire-Engines and Apparatus; the
Training of Firemen; and the Method of Proceeding in cases of Fire,"
published in Edinburgh, in 1830._

Not having been able to find any work on Fire-Engines in the English
language, I have been led to publish the following remarks, in the
hope of inducing others to give further information on the subject.

For the style of the work I make no apology; and as I presume no one
will read it except for the purpose of gaining information, my aim
will be obtained if I shall have succeeded in imparting it, or in
directing the public attention to the advantage which may be derived
from the systematic training of Firemen.




The history of mankind, from the earliest times, has been one of
alternate peace and war with fire. The immeasurable value of its
obedience, and the fearful consequences of its insubordination, have,
in all ages, made its due subjection one of the most important
conditions of even human existence itself. As camps and trading
stations grew into populous cities, the dangers of fire were both
multiplied and aggravated. Its ravages in the ancient capitals of the
world are matters of history; and it is established that something
like organization was extended to the means then employed for
suppressing conflagrations. Even the fire-engine itself, in a
practicable, although imperfect form, was described and illustrated by
a sectional working drawing, by Hero of Alexandria, in a book written
by him more than one hundred years before the Christian era. In its
many translations, from the original Greek into Latin and into modern
tongues, Hero's book, with its remarkable series of drawings, still
occupies a place in the mechanical literature of our own time. But,
although the construction of the fire-engine was thus known two
thousand years ago, we have no actual evidence of its use until within
the last two centuries; and within the whole compass of English
history, at least, we know that nothing like discipline and
organization, in the modern sense of the terms, were introduced into
the management of fire apparatus until a time quite within the
recollection of the middle-aged men of our own day. If there be
anything apparently improbable in this fact, we need only recollect
that many of the grandest triumphs of human genius, with which we are
already so familiar, are not yet forty years old. The modern system of
English fire brigades belongs wholly to the period of railways, steam
navigation, and electric telegraphs, and it owes nearly all to the
genius and disciplined heroism of a single individual, James
Braidwood, who, but little more than four years ago, fell--as nobly
for himself as sadly for others--at his chosen post of duty. What,
when he first gave his energies--indeed, his whole heart to it, was
but the rough and unskilful employment of the fireman, became under
Mr. Braidwood's command and his infusing spirit of order and
intelligence, as distinguished from reckless daring, a noble pursuit,
almost rising in dignity to a profession, and indeed acknowledged as
such by many, and significantly, although indirectly, by Royalty

Until the year 1833, not only the parish engines of the metropolis,
numbering, as they did, about three hundred, but the engines also of
the Fire Insurance Companies, were comparatively inefficient and often
out of order, while they were also under the most diverse, if not
irresponsible management. There were no really trained firemen, and
those who controlled and worked the engines were oftener in antagonism
with each other than acting in concert. The parish engines were in the
care of the beadles, and in one case a beadle's widow, Mrs. Smith, for
some years commanded one of the city engines. The energies of each
band of firemen were commonly reserved for the protection of property
only in which their own insurance company or parish was immediately
interested. As a rule, whatever water was thrown upon a burning
building was dashed against the walls, windows, and roof from the
outside only, very little if any really reaching the actual seat of
the fire within. As a consequence, fires, which are now quickly "got
under," were then left to burn themselves out, the spreading of the
fire being prevented either by deluging the contiguous buildings with
water, or by pulling them down altogether.

James Braidwood was born in Edinburgh in the year 1800. His father was
a well-known upholsterer and builder, who appears to have chosen for
his son the profession of a surveyor. To this end he was entered at
the High School, then under the rectorship of Mr. (afterwards
Professor) Pillans, and here, and subsequently under private masters,
the youth received a sound education in the branches most appropriate
to his intended pursuit in life. He was for some time engaged in his
father's business, and thereby gained an amount of practical
knowledge, which was of, perhaps, as much service to him in his
subsequent career as a fireman, as it would have been had he adopted
the profession originally chosen for him. Young Braidwood was an apt
student, a fact, perhaps, sufficiently attested afterwards by his
successful authorship, at the age of thirty, of the only English work
then extant upon the fire-engine and its proper management. He read
much, wrote well, was a good draughtsman, and had a sound knowledge of
mechanics. But whether his powers required wider scope than a
surveyor's practice could offer, or whether, more than forty years
ago, and in Edinburgh, the chances of professional success were very
much less than now, James Braidwood soon turned his mind to what
became the great work of his life. He was becoming known for activity
and a high order of personal courage, and there were those in place
and power who saw in him the other elements of character which go to
make a successful leader of men. He was soon, and when but
twenty-three years of age, made the superintendent of the Edinburgh
fire engines, and he almost as soon began to reform their inefficient
and vicious system of management. He had held his post but three
weeks, however, when the series of fires broke forth which still bear
the name of the Great Fire of Edinburgh. Many of the old and lofty
houses in the High Street were destroyed, between four and five
hundred families were made houseless, ten persons were either killed
outright or fatally injured, and for several days nearly the whole of
the High Street, if not the larger part of the old town, was
threatened with destruction. Never were the consequences of want of
organization more conspicuous. There was no real command, for there
were none to obey; and while those who might have stopped the flames
at the outset, wasted their own energies in random efforts, or,
perhaps, fell to quarrelling among themselves, the fearful devastation
rolled on. The occasion was sufficient to induce the authorities and
insurance companies to listen to and profit by Mr. Braidwood's
recommendations. They consented to bear in common the expenses
necessary to organize and maintain an efficient brigade. This was soon
formed of picked men, who, although daily engaged in their former
ordinary occupations, were regularly inspected, trained, and exercised
early in one morning of every week. Fires were becoming more and more
numerous year by year; but the influence of the improved system was
soon felt. The men were taught to improve to the utmost the first few
minutes after an alarm was given, and by constant emulation and
discipline, a spirit of wonderful readiness was cultivated in them.
They were trained to seek out and follow up the source of a fire
before it had had time to spread, and to throw the water from the
engines directly upon it, instead of wastefully, if not injuriously
about. The result was, that while out of forty-eight fires which
happened in the first year of the history of the brigade, eleven
proved total losses, and twelve "considerable" losses, the number of
total losses decreased rapidly, year by year, while the whole number
of "calls" was almost as rapidly increasing. Thus in the second year
of the brigade there were eighty "calls," of which seven were total,
and eighteen considerable losses. In the next three years, with from
ninety-four to one hundred and ninety-four "calls" yearly, there was
but one total loss in each year, and but from nine to eighteen
"considerable" losses.

Mr. Braidwood was meanwhile improving the fire-escapes, and when new
engines were added to the force, he procured better workmanship. By
his personal influence, also, more than by the mere advantage of
official position, Mr. Braidwood secured the constant co-operation of
the police in giving the earliest alarms of fire, and in facilitating
the labours of the firemen when actually on duty. As has just been
shown, the results of method, applied skill, and of a personal
devotion cultivated under the high impulse of immediate public
observation and approval, were soon manifest. To this vast improvement
the _Edinburgh Mercury_, as representing the opinion of the citizens
of the Scottish capital, bore public testimony in its issue of August
14, 1828, when the Fire Brigade of that city had been tested by nearly
five years of constant trial, and with conspicuous success. Referring
to the excellent organization of the establishment, it was remarked
that there were then but few, if any, serious fires in Edinburgh, for
when a fire broke out--and the alarms were as frequent as ever--it was
speedily checked. Said the writer:--

     "Not only is the apparatus constructed on the best possible
     principles, but the whole system of operations has been
     changed. The public, however, do not see the same bustle, or
     hear the same noise as formerly; and hence they seem
     erroneously to conclude that there is nothing done. The fact
     is, the spectator sees the preparation for action made, but
     he sees no more. Where the strength of the men and the
     supply of water used to be wasted, by being thrown against
     windows, walls, and roofs, the firemen now seek out the spot
     where the danger lies, and creeping on hands and feet into a
     chamber full of flame, or smoke, often at the hazard of
     suffocation, discover the exact seat of danger; and, by
     bringing the water in contact with it, obtain immediate
     mastery over the powerful element with which they have to
     contend. In this daring and dangerous work men have
     occasionally fainted from heat, or dropped down from want of
     respiration, in which cases the next person at hand is
     always ready to assist his companion, and to release him
     from his service of danger."

In a fire which happened while Mr. Braidwood was at the head of the
Edinburgh Brigade, he won great admiration by bringing out from the
burning building a quantity of gunpowder which was known to be stored
there. He would not ask any of his men to undertake this dangerous
feat, but, amidst the breathless suspense of thousands of spectators,
he coolly searched for and safely carried out, first one, and then a
second, cask of this explosive material. Had the fire reached the
powder, it was known that the worst consequences of the conflagration
would have been immensely increased.

The fame of the Edinburgh Brigade rapidly spread throughout the
kingdom, and it gradually became regarded as a model to which all
other organizations for the suppression of fires would ultimately be
made to conform. As a response to constant inquiries from a distance,
Mr. Braidwood, in 1829, forwarded to the Society of Arts, London, a
description of his chain-ladder fire-escape. For this invaluable
apparatus, which had already effected a considerable saving of life,
the Society's Silver Medal was awarded, and, accompanying the award,
the Council of the Society extended an invitation to the author to
"give a complete account of his mode of drilling firemen, and
combining the use of fire-escapes with the ordinary fire-engine
service." Responding to this invitation, Mr. Braidwood in the
following year published his work "On the Construction of Fire-Engines
and Apparatus, the Training of Firemen, and the Method of Proceeding
in Cases of Fire." From this work, which may still be regarded as an
authority, extensive extracts have been made in the subsequent
chapters of the present volume, and it need not, therefore, be further
referred to here than to say that it formed a thoroughly original
account of an original system, and that its illustrations, which were
especially clear, were drawn by the author's own hand. This work
attracted much attention from municipal bodies and insurance companies
throughout the kingdom, and more than one official deputation visited
Edinburgh to learn from Mr. Braidwood himself the details of a system
which was already working such important results. In London,
especially, three West India warehouses had been burnt in the year
1829, with a loss of 300,000_l._; and with the extending use of gas,
the increasing frequency of fires, and the conspicuous inefficiency of
the parish engines, and the want of unity of action among the
insurance companies, it was felt that what had answered so well in
Edinburgh would prove still more valuable in the metropolis. The
general estimation in which Mr. Braidwood's services were then held
may be considered as expressed in the following, among other
contemporary reviews of his book:--

     "The Edinburgh Fire-engine Establishment is now all but
     perfect. A unity of system has been accomplished, and a
     corps of firemen mustered, who, in point of physical vigour
     and moral intrepidity, are all entitled to be denominated
     chosen men. At the head of this band stands Mr. Braidwood,
     an individual who has on several occasions given abundant
     evidence of promptitude in extremity, and a noble contempt
     of personal danger, and whose enthusiasm, in what we may
     call his profession, could not have been more strikingly
     exemplified than by his illustrating it in the manner we now
     see before us. It is the only book we are acquainted with
     that treats of the systematic training of firemen; and from
     the perspicuity of its details, it must necessarily become
     the manual of all such institutions, and ought to find a
     place in every insurance office in the United Kingdom."

It had been from time to time attempted to bring the fire apparatus of
the London Insurance Companies under a single management; but it was
nearly ten years after the establishment of the Edinburgh Fire
Brigade, and only when Mr. Braidwood himself had been invited to come
to London, that this was at last effected. As for the parish engines,
they were wholly neglected under this arrangement, and, indeed, a
great number of them had been already allowed to fall into disuse, as
far as could be permitted without incurring the penalties of the
Statutes of 1774. On the 1st January, 1833, at the instance of Mr.
Ford, of the Sun Fire-office, eight of the insurance companies formed
an association of fire-engines and firemen, each company withholding
its own distinctive name and badges from the united force. This was
known as the London Fire-engine Establishment. It was supported by the
companies in common, each in proportion to the premiums received from
its business in London, a minimum rate being fixed. Each company
contributing to the support of the establishment nominated one member
of the committee of management. This association existed for
thirty-three years, when on the 1st of January, 1866, the Metropolitan
Board of Works took charge of the fire-engines and the general fire
establishment of the metropolis. Mr. Braidwood took the command of the
London Brigade thus formed at the onset. The Edinburgh Fire-engine
Committee, on accepting his resignation, presented him with a gold
watch, and a vote of thanks, "for the singularly indefatigable manner
in which he had discharged the duties of his important office, not
merely by his extraordinary exertions on occasions of emergency, but
for the care and attention he had bestowed on the training of the
firemen, whereby the establishment had been brought to its present
high state of efficiency." He had previously received from the men
under him a handsome silver cup, bearing the following
inscription:--"Presented to Mr. James Braidwood, by the City of
Edinburgh Firemen, as a token of their admiration of him as their
leader, and of deep respect for him as a gentleman."

As in Edinburgh, the London Fire Brigade under Mr. Braidwood's
superintendence became a new force, and in every respect a remarkable
organization. Where the inefficiency of the old firemen could not at
once be made to yield to discipline, they were pensioned off; and
within a short time a select band of active, hardy, and thoroughly
trained men was formed. In 1834, the second year of Mr. Braidwood's
superintendence, the Houses of Parliament were burnt; and a most
destructive fire occurred also at Mile-end. The first-named fire
created general consternation, and there are many persons who can
still recollect that also at Mile-end. These great fires stimulated
Mr. Braidwood to increased exertions, and the result was soon visible
in the lessened proportion of totally destroyed premises to the whole
number of fires. The brigade had, of course, no power of prevention,
and alarms of fire were becoming more numerous than ever. The use of
friction matches and of gas was increasing enormously; manufactures,
and the steam-engines and machinery for conducting them, were being
rapidly multiplied; and with the vast progress making in the
production of cotton goods, the use of cotton curtains and
bed-furniture was becoming common in dwellings forming a large
proportion of the metropolis, but in which, not long before, such
articles were either regarded as luxuries or were altogether unknown.
The total number of fires attended by the brigade in the year 1833,
exclusive of chimneys on fire, was 458, while in 1851 the number had
risen to 928; and although London had been growing all this time, it
had not doubled in size to correspond with the increased number of
fires. But while the total yearly number of fires, since the formation
of the brigade, has shown a large and hardly interrupted increase, the
number of cases of total destruction has almost as steadily
diminished. Thus, "totally destroyed" was reported of 31 fires in the
year 1833, whereas in 1839 there were but 17 cases, and the average
for twenty-one years, from 1833 to 1853 inclusive, was but 25-1/2
yearly, while at the present time, with all the vast growth of London,
the average, under the continuance of Mr. Braidwood's system, is
hardly if at all greater.

Mr. Braidwood from the first exhibited excellent judgment in his
choice of men to serve under him. He chose sailors, as a rule, as
being accustomed to obedience, and to irregular and prolonged duty,
while also they were especially hardy and active; and where there was
especial danger which must be met, he was always ready to lead, and
his men had soon learned to confide in his quick and sound judgment in
emergency, knowing that he would never permit them to incur needless
risk. His own iron constitution, and his habits of constant vigilance,
served as a high standard and incentive to those about him; and thus
it was, by selection, discipline, and example, resting upon a
foundation of even paternal kindness, that the men of the London Fire
Brigade became conspicuous for their courage, energy, hardihood, and
unalterable devotion to duty. The brigade, too, was most popular with
the public, and could always count upon any necessary assistance in
their labours. The system of rewards given to whoever was the first to
bring a call of fire, the liberal gratuity to the policeman who first
reached the burning premises, there preventing undue confusion, and by
keeping the street-door closed, shutting off a strong draught of air
from the flames, and the handsome pay to the ready throng of
strong-armed men who worked the engines, secured every co-operation
from the public, beyond that naturally springing from a general
admiration of so brave and well-trained a body of men.

Mr. Braidwood's residence was at the principal station of the
Fire-engine Establishment in Watling-street. To this station came all
alarms of fire. He attended in person all calls from leading
thoroughfares, public buildings, or localities where a serious
conflagration might be expected. In the night a call was announced to
him through a speaking-tube reaching to his bedside. The gas in his
room was always burning, and he would quickly decide, from the known
locality of the fire, and from the report given, whether he need go
himself. In any case, his men were awake and quickly away. Rapidity in
dressing, and in horseing and mounting the engines, was but a detail
of daily drill. The moment the scene of action was reached, nothing
was allowed to stand in the way of access to the actual seat of the
fire, and nothing either in securing a supply of water. The inmates of
the premises, if any, were quickly got out, and wherever an unhappy
creature was cut off by the flames, there were always one or more
firemen ready, if necessary, to brave an apparently certain death in a
heroic attempt at rescue--an attempt, indeed, which but seldom failed.
It is but just to say here that the firemen were always nobly
seconded, if not indeed anticipated, in these attempts by the officers
and men of the Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire--a
body which has long rendered priceless services to humanity under most
appalling circumstances. The men of the Fire Brigade were taught to
prevent, as much as possible, the access of air to the burning
materials. What the open door of the ash pit is to the furnace of a
steam-boiler the open street door is to the house on fire. In both
cases the door gives vital air to the flames. The men of the Brigade
were trained to pursue a fire, not yet under full headway, up-stairs
and down, in at windows and out through the roof, anywhere, so it
could be reached directly by the water from the engines. They were
made to regard it as worse than a waste to throw even a gallon of
water upon a dead wall or upon a surface of slate or plaster, so long
as by any means the branch pipe could be got to bear upon the seat of
the fire itself. The statistics of the operations of the London
Fire-engine Establishment from 1833 to the present time, show with
what success the system originated and so admirably carried out by Mr
Braidwood has been pursued. Of the whole number of fires not one in
fifty now proceeds to the extent of total destruction of the premises.

Previous to the organization of the Fire-engine Establishment there
were no official annual reports of the fires in the metropolis. No one
person by himself was indeed in a position to know all of the fires
that happened, any more than, but for Lloyds', could we know of all
the wrecks which take place around and upon our coasts. It was
impossible, under such a state of things, that either the value of
insurance to the insured or its risk to the insurer could be rightly
known. The general public could only know that, like fevers and
certain other classes of disease, fires were always breaking out, but
no one could know, even approximately, how great or how little was the
real general risk. When, however, a fire establishment was formed, the
engines were called to all fires, whether of insured or uninsured
property. It was not now difficult to tabulate the number and
localities of fires; but Mr. Braidwood went further, and extended his
yearly tables to include the various causes of fires, and the
classification of the premises, whether residences, shops, warehouses,
manufactories, &c., where they occurred, the subdivision of these
classes being extended to every variety of occupation and business.
Even the hours at which the various fires broke out were carefully
tabulated, and thus the particulars of London fires soon became an
important branch of statistics, from which the operations of insurance
have derived increased certainty, with greater economy to the insured.

Although regarding the training and discipline of firemen as of the
first importance in the organization of a fire brigade, Mr. Braidwood
gave a large share of attention to the improvement of fire-engines and
their kindred appliances. While in Edinburgh, where the steepness of
many of the streets, and the roughness of the pavements in the older
parts of the town prevented the rapid and easy movement of heavy
engines, he recommended and adopted a lighter description, but in
London he recognised the necessity for greater power. Mr. Tilley, then
a fire-engine maker in the Blackfriars'-road, ably seconded his
efforts, and at length the distinctive type known as the London Fire
Brigade Engine was produced, and which, weighing about eighteen cwt.
when ready for service, would throw eighty-eight gallons of water per
minute, and, in short trials, as much as 120 gallons in the same time.
This engine was mounted upon springs, and in strength and ease of
working presented a marked improvement upon those which had preceded
it. Its ordinary working complement of men was twenty-eight, and
larger engines, upon the same general design, have since been made, to
be worked by from forty-five to sixty men. The steam fire-engine has
already, to a certain extent, superseded the brigade engine, but the
latter is still likely, for some time at least, to be preferred for a
large class of fires, both in London and in the provinces.

Mr. Braidwood at an early date adopted the ordinary military scaling
ladders to the purposes of his brigade, two being placed on each
engine, and at his recommendation ladders were also placed on a
two-wheeled carriage as a convenient fire-escape. He also induced the
Admiralty, in 1841, to adopt hose-reels in the various dockyards,
these implements having been previously in successful use in New York.
In 1848 he was induced, in consequence of the large number of small
fires to which his engines were called out, to adopt a small hand-pump
as an auxiliary to the fire-engine. This could be rapidly brought to
bear, and although worked by but one man, the value of a small
quantity of water thrown directly upon the seat of a small fire was
found to be greater than that of perhaps twenty times as much when
thrown about in the ordinary manner. It was of great importance also
in warehouses stored with valuable goods, to throw the least necessary
quantity of water upon a fire. These hand-pumps still form an
important part of the present apparatus of the brigade, and they have
been widely adopted elsewhere.

London, unlike Edinburgh, has a vast water-side property, always
exposed to danger from fire. Almost immediately, therefore, after
having taken the command of the London Brigade, Mr. Braidwood directed
his attention to the construction of improved floating fire-engines,
to be moored in the river, where they would be always available for
the protection of wharf property. Two were constructed, one being a
machine of great power, with pumps made to be worked by 120 men. These
machines proved of great value. In 1852, shortly after the memorable
fire at Humphrey's warehouses, he persuaded the Fire-engine Committee
to allow one of these engines to be altered so as to work by steam,
and in 1855 a large self-propelling floating steam fire-engine was
made upon a novel construction, and which, having already rendered
great service at fires on the river side, still ranks as the most
powerful machine in the service of the brigade. With locomotive
boilers and large double steam engines, this float can steam nine
miles an hour, and when in place at a fire it can throw four streams
of water, each from a jet-pipe of 1-1/2 inch in diameter, to a great
distance. In the great fire of 1861, this floating engine was worked
with but little intermission for upwards of a fortnight. In 1860 Mr.
Braidwood obtained the sanction of the Fire-engine Committee for the
introduction of a land steam fire-engine, and although he did not live
to witness the present remarkable development of these machines, he
was enabled to employ the first one in the brigade with much

We may quote here from a brief but excellent memoir of Mr. Braidwood,
which appeared in the annual report of the Institution of Civil
Engineers for 1861:

     "As early as 1841, the Government began to profit by his
     experience, the Lords of the Admiralty having in that year
     consulted him on the subject of floating fire-engines for
     the various dockyards. These were eventually constructed
     from his designs and under his superintendence. In the
     following year he inspected all the dockyards, and reported
     fully on each, with regard to both floating and land
     fire-engines, the supply of water, the alterations of
     buildings to prevent spread of fire, and the proper care
     required in dangerous trades. From this time, although not
     holding any appointment, he acted as Government consulting
     engineer on all questions relating to fire prevention and
     extinction, and he advised from time to time the precautions
     to be taken for the protection of the royal palaces and
     various other public buildings. This position enabled him,
     not without a great deal of opposition, to induce the
     Government to adopt in all its departments a uniform size of
     hose-coupling. This is the one which he introduced in
     Edinburgh, and known as the London Fire Brigade coupling, is
     now in almost universal use; its application has been found
     comparatively of as much utility for fire-brigade purposes,
     as the adoption of the Whitworth gauges of screw-bolts for
     mechanical engineering.

     "Although so fully occupied, he never refused advice on
     professional matters to all who sought it. The various dock
     companies, public institutions, country fire brigades,
     private firms, &c., benefited largely by his experience. The
     numerous inquiries from foreign countries and the colonies
     with regard to the best means of extinguishing fires, also
     made great inroads on his time. In 1833 he became an
     Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers, to which,
     in 1844, he contributed a valuable paper 'On the means of
     rendering large supplies of Water available in case of Fire,
     &c.,' for which he was awarded a Telford Medal; and in 1849
     a second paper 'On Fire-Proof Buildings.' In 1856, a paper
     on 'Fires: the best means of preventing and arresting them;
     with a few words on Fire-Proof Structures,' was read by him
     before the Society of Arts.

     "He took great interest in the passing of Acts of Parliament
     for regulating buildings in the metropolis, was consulted by
     the framers of these Acts, and used his utmost influence to
     prevent the endangering a whole neighbourhood by the
     erection of monster warehouses for private profit. He
     strongly contended for the principle of dividing buildings
     by party-walls carried through the roof, and restricting
     these divisions to a moderate cubic content. Writing to Lord
     Seymour, Commissioner of Woods and Forests, on the 28th
     June, 1851, he said 'that no preparations for contending
     with such fires will give anything like the security that
     judicious arrangements in the size and construction of
     buildings will do.' The wise provisions introduced through
     his instrumentality into these Acts of Parliament were
     continually being evaded, and clusters of warehouses quickly
     rose which he saw would, if on fire, defy all his means of
     extinction. In a letter to Sir W. Molesworth, First
     Commissioner of Public Works, dated 10th February, 1854, on
     the subject of a proposed warehouse in Tooley-street, he
     wrote 'The whole building, if once fairly on fire in one
     floor, will become such a mass of fire that there is now no
     power in London capable of extinguishing it, or even of
     restraining its ravages on every side, and on three sides it
     will be surrounded by property of immense value.' How
     literally this was realized, and at what cost, was shown by
     the great warehouse fire in Tooley-street, on the 22nd June,
     1861, at which Mr. Braidwood lost his life."

The great fire at Cotton's Wharf; Tooley-street, broke out on
Saturday, June 22nd, 1861, and continued to burn for more than a
fortnight, consuming Scovell's, and other large warehouses, and, in
all, upwards of two millions' worth of property. The fire is believed
to have originated in the spontaneous combustion of hemp, of which
upwards of 1000 tons were consumed, together with 3000 tons of sugar,
500 tons of saltpetre, nearly 5000 tons of rice, 18,000 bales of
cotton, 10,000 casks of tallow, 1100 tons of jute, and an immense
quantity of tea, spices, &c., besides many other descriptions of
goods. Although discovered in broad daylight, and before the flames
had made any considerable headway, the want of a ready supply of
water, and the fact that the iron doors in the division walls between
the several warehouses had been left open, taken in connexion with the
extremely combustible nature of the materials, soon rendered hopeless
all chance of saving the buildings and property. Mr. Braidwood was
upon the spot very soon after the alarm had been given, and nearly the
whole available force of the Fire-engine Establishment was summoned at
his command. He appears to have at once foreseen that the fire would
be one of no ordinary magnitude, and that the utmost that could be
done would be to prevent its extending widely over adjoining property.
The floating fire-engines had been got to bear upon the flames, and
the men in charge of the branch pipes were, after two hours' work,
already suffering greatly from the intense heat, when their chief went
to them to give them a word of encouragement. Several minor
explosions, as of casks of tallow or of oil, had been heard, but as it
was understood that the saltpetre stored at the wharf was in buildings
not yet alight, no alarm was then felt as to the walls falling in. At
the moment, however, while Mr. Braidwood was discharging this his last
act of kindness to his men, a loud report was heard, and the lofty
wall behind him toppled and fell, burying him in the ruins. Those of
his men who were near him had barely time to escape, and one person at
his side, not a fireman, was overwhelmed with him. From the moment
when the wall was seen to fall, it was known that whoever was beneath
it had been instantly crushed to death. It is needless, and it would,
indeed, be out of place, to describe here the further progress of the
fire, which had then but fairly begun, and which was still burning
more than a fortnight afterwards.

Great as was the general consternation at so terrible a conflagration,
it is doubtful if the public were not still more impressed by the
dreadful death of Mr. Braidwood, and by a feeling that his loss was a
public misfortune. Her Majesty the Queen, with that ready sympathy
which she has ever shown for crushed or suffering heroism, commanded
the Earl of Stamford to inquire on the spot, on Monday, whether the
body had yet been recovered by the firemen, and Her Majesty's
sympathies were also conveyed to Mrs. Braidwood. It was not, however,
until the following morning, that after almost constant exertions,
under the greatest difficulties, the crushed remains were rescued. An
inquest was necessary, not merely to ascertain what was already well
known, that death had been instantly caused by accident, but to know
whether culpable carelessness of any kind had indirectly led to the
sorrowful event. None, however, appeared. The remains of the fallen
chief were afterwards borne to his late residence in Watling-street.
The members of the committee of the London Fire-engine Establishment,
formed of representatives from all of the twenty-five insurance
companies of London, had already met to express, by a formal
resolution, their sincere condolence with Mrs. Braidwood and her
family. It was known that the funeral would take place on Saturday,
June 29th, and it was widely felt that a general expression of sorrow
and respect should be made, in view of the common loss of so valued a
public servant, as well as for the noble qualities for which he had
been so long and so well known. On the occasion of the funeral this
was shown not more by the great length and marked character of the
_cortége_ itself than by the general suspension of business in the
leading thoroughfares of the city through which it passed, and by the
hushed demeanour of the countless multitude who pressed closely upon
the procession throughout its entire course. Among the thousands who
sadly led the way to the grave were the London Rifle Brigade, about
700 strong (and of which Mr. Braidwood's three sons were members), the
Seventh Tower-Hamlets, and other rifle corps, upwards of 1000
constables of the metropolitan police force, besides nearly 400
members of the city police, the superintendents and men of the various
water companies, the secretary and conductors and the band of the
Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire, a large number of
private and local fire-brigades, and the members of the London
Fire-engine Establishment. The pall-bearers were six of Mr.
Braidwood's engineers and foremen, some of whom were at his side when
he fell, and who had barely escaped with their own lives. Following
the chief mourners were the Duke of Sutherland, the Earl of Caithness,
the Rev. Dr. Cumming, and a large number of relatives and friends of
the deceased, and the committee of the London Fire-engine
establishment. The procession was nearly one mile and a-half in
length, and was about three hours in its progress from Watling-street
to Abney Park Cemetery, where the solemn service of the dead was
conducted by the Rev. Dr. Cumming, of whose congregation the deceased
had long been a member. With the exception of the great bell of St.
Paul's, which tolls only on the occasion of the death of a member of
the royal family or of a lord-mayor in office, the bells of all the
churches in the city were booming slowly through the day, and so
evident was the general sorrow that it could be truly said that the
heart of the nation mourned.

On Thursday, July 4th, a public meeting was held at the Mansion House,
when resolutions were passed for the collection of subscriptions
towards a memorial to Mr. Braidwood's long and arduous public
services. This memorial, it was felt, should take the form of a
permanent provision for his family, for the post of Fire Brigade
Superintendent had never been a lucrative one. Before, however, the
collection of subscriptions had extended beyond a few hundred pounds,
it was made known that the insurance companies had promptly settled
upon Mrs. Braidwood the full "value"--speaking in an insurable
sense--of her husband's life. Mr. Braidwood had for many years
supported two maiden sisters, and the public subscription was applied,
therefore, to the purchase of small annuities for each of them.

It will be remembered that the London Fire-engine Establishment was
from the first controlled only by the insurance companies, upon whom
of course, fell the whole cost of its maintenance. Their interest in
the suppression of fires, although direct and unmistakeable, was not
the same as that of the public. Thus, it would be to the public
advantage that no fires should happen, whereas such a result would be
fatal to the insurance companies, since no one in that case would
insure. Although the protection of the Establishment was in practice
extended alike to both insured and uninsured property, the real object
for which it was formed and maintained was undoubtedly that of
protecting insured property only. It was the interest of the companies
to incur as little expense as would, on the whole, fairly effect this
purpose, and it was not their interest to effectually protect the
whole of the metropolis from fire. Thus it was that, with all the
excellence of the organization and discipline of the Fire-engine
Establishment, it was greatly inferior in extent to what was requisite
for the proper security of the first city in the world. Mr. Braidwood
had long felt this truth, but, acting for a private association, he
could only go to the extent of the limited resources at his disposal.
It was, more than anything else, the great fire at Cotton's Wharf that
first directed public attention to the necessary insufficiency of any
private establishment for the general suppression of fires, and that
has led to the legislation under which the Fire-engine Establishment
was, on the 1st of January last, taken over and extended by the
Metropolitan Board of Works. London will now, it is hoped, be better
protected from fire, because of the increased extent of the means of
protection; but it can hardly be expected that the discipline of the
brigade will be improved.

Apart from the public value of Mr. Braidwood's career in increasing
the common security against a common foe, there was much in his
personal, intellectual, and moral qualities worthy of admiration. He
was a man of strong and commanding frame, of inexhaustible energy, and
of enduring vitality. The constitutions of but few men could have
withstood such long continued wear and tear as fell to his. He braved
all weathers, all extremes of heat and cold, could sleep or wake at
will, and could work on long after others would have given way. He was
always at his post, and in no moment of difficulty or danger did his
cool judgment or his steady courage forsake him. It was this, together
with his considerate bearing, and on occasions of special trial his
almost womanly kindness to his men, that inspired them with unlimited
confidence in him and in his plans. Beyond this, he was a man of
superior mind, with strong comprehensive and generalising faculties.
His various published papers, and a correspondence of which but few
could know the extent and importance, as well as his ready, clear, and
exact manner in stating his views before committees and before those
in authority, who so often consulted him, all attest an order of mind
which, in a different sphere, would alone have won distinction for its
possessor. His profession was one in which it happens that almost
every person thinks himself competent to give advice; yet, without any
assumption of authority, Mr. Braidwood could make it felt wherever he
pleased that he was a master in the art of extinguishing fire. But he
was not on this account the less ready to listen to suggestions, and
there are numbers who can bear testimony to the patient, honest, and
appreciative manner in which he considered the many and diverse
propositions submitted to him as the head of the Fire Brigade of the
first city in the world. The soundness of his views and opinions is
sufficiently attested by the success of his practice--a success which,
but for the Government tax upon fire policies, would have long since
made fire insurance in London almost the cheapest of all the forms of
protection of property from danger. The London Brigade was
insignificant in numbers and tame in display when compared with the
eight hundred _sapeurs pompiers_ of Paris, with their parade and all
their accessories of effect--insignificant and tame, too, after the
glittering apparatus, imposing paraphernalia, and deafening clatter of
the "Fire Department" of New York; but Mr. Braidwood's chosen men knew
how to do their duty, and considering the differences in the mode of
building and of heating, and in the extent of lighting in the three
great metropoli just named, it is an easy matter, on reference to
statistics, to prove that none others have done better.

Above all, Mr. Braidwood was a gentleman of deep Christian feeling;
and those who knew him best had never doubted that, had it been his
lot to linger long in pain, knowing the end that was to come, his calm
but unwavering faith in a better future would have sustained him
through all. Brought up from childhood in the faith of the Scotch
church, he was a regular attendant upon the ministrations of the Rev.
Dr. Cumming. In his own quiet way he did much good in the poorer
districts of London, and he took a special interest in the ragged
schools of the metropolis. What he was in his own home may be best
inferred from the crushing force with which his dreadful yet noble
fate fell upon those who were dearest to him. His family had already
too much reason to know the dangers which had always attended his
career. A step-son had fallen, five years before, in nearly the same
manner, and now lies buried in the same grave. Eleven members, in all,
of the brigade, had perished in the discharge of their duty during the
time Mr. Braidwood had commanded it: a fact which, taken with daily
experience, pointed to other victims to follow. Such consolation,
then, as a stricken widow and a mourning family could have, next to an
abiding faith in the goodness of God, was in the recollection of the
virtues and noble qualities of the husband and father, and in the
spontaneous sorrow with which a great people testified their sense of
his worth and of their common loss.

To show the universal as well as national esteem in which Mr.
Braidwood was held, two extracts are here given from the numerous
letters of condolence addressed to his bereaved family, from all parts
of the world. Mr. G. H. Allen, Secretary to the Boston (America) Fire
Department, writes: "It gives me pleasure to unite with the Board in
testimony to the extreme kindness of Mr. Braidwood in the conduct of
our correspondence, whereby we have been greatly benefited and
received extensive information. Allow me also to extend our sympathy
to those who have lost one who will ever be remembered as standing at
the head of the most valued arm of the Government, and one that you
can hardly expect to be replaced, except by years of experience and
great natural ability." Mr. T. J. Bown, Superintendent of the Sydney
(Australia) Fire Brigade, in a letter dated 22nd August 1861, says,
"On receipt of the sad news, our large fire-bell was tolled, the
British ensign hoisted half-mast high, and crape attached to the
firemen's uniform, as a token of respect for one of the noblest and
most self-denying men that ever lived, who spent and lost his life in
the service of his fellow-creatures."


JAMES BRAIDWOOD.--_Died, June 22nd, 1861._

By the Author of


    Not at the battle front,--
      Writ of in story;
    Not on the blazing wreck,
      Steering to glory;

    Not while in martyr pangs
      Soul and flesh sever,
    Died he--this Hero new--
      Hero for ever.

    No pomp poetic crown'd,
      No forms enchained him,
    No friends applauding watched,
      No foes arraigned him:

    Death found him there, without
      Grandeur or beauty,
    Only an honest man
      Doing his duty:

    Just a God-fearing man,
      Simple and lowly,
    Constant at kirk and hearth,
      Kindly and holy:

    Death found--and touched him with
      Finger in flying:--
    So he rose up complete--
      Hero undying.

    Now, all mourn for him,
      Lovingly raise him
    Up from his life obscure,
      Chronicle, praise him;

    Tell his last act, done midst
      Peril appalling,
    And the last word of cheer
      From his lips falling;

    Follow in multitudes
      To his grave's portal;
    Leave him there, buried
      In honour immortal.

    So many a Hero walks
      Daily beside us,
    Till comes the supreme stroke
      Sent to divide us.

    Then the Lord calls His own,--
      Like this man, even,
    Carried, Elijah-like,
      Fire-winged, to heaven.

    _Macmillan's Magazine_, Vol. IV., page 294.




To prevent fires it is necessary to consider what are the principal
causes of such calamities. These may be classed under several heads:--

     1. Inattention in the use of fires and lights.

     2. Improper construction of buildings, &c.

     3. Furnaces or close fires for heating buildings, or for
     mechanical purposes.

     4. Spontaneous ignition.

     5. Incendiarism.

As almost all fires arise from inattention in one shape or another, it
is of the utmost importance that every master of a house or other
establishment should persevere in rigidly enjoining and enforcing on
those under him, the necessity of observing the utmost possible care
in preventing such calamities, which, in nineteen cases out of twenty,
are the result of remissness or inattention. Indeed, if any one will
for a moment consider the fearful risk of life and property, which is
often incurred from a very slight inattention, the necessity of
vigilance and care will at once be apparent. Immense hazard is
frequently incurred for the most trifling indulgences, and much
property is annually destroyed, and valuable lives often lost, because
a few thoughtless individuals cannot deny themselves the gratification
of reading in bed with a candle beside them.

Some years ago, upwards of 100,000_l._ were lost, through the partner
of a large establishment lighting gas with a piece of paper, which he
threw away, and thus set fire to the premises, although it was a
strict rule in the place that gas should only be lighted with tapers,
which were provided for that purpose. In one department of a great
public institution, it was, and is still, a rule that only covered
lights should be carried about, and for that purpose four lanterns
were provided; yet, on inquiry some time back, it was found that only
one was entire, the other three being broken--one having lost two
sides and the top; still they were all used as covered lights.

The opportunities for inattention to fires and lights are so various,
that it is impossible to notice the whole.

One of the prevailing causes of fire is to be traced to persons
locking their doors, and leaving their houses to the care of children.
I believe one-half of the children whose deaths are occasioned by
accident suffer from this cause alone: indeed, almost every week the
newspapers contain some melancholy confirmation of what I have here
stated. Intoxication is also a disgraceful and frequent cause of fire.
The number of persons burned to death in this way is really
incredible. It is true that it does not always happen that a fire
takes place in the house, in either of the above cases, although the
unfortunate beings whose clothes take fire, rarely escape with their
lives; but the danger to the neighbourhood is at all times
considerable, if persons in a state of inebriety are left in a house
alone. When there is reason to apprehend that any member of a family
will come home at night in that state, some one should always be
appointed to receive him, and on no account to leave him till he is
put to bed, and the light extinguished.

I do not mean to say that people must be actually drunk before danger
is to be apprehended from them. Indeed, a very slight degree of
inebriety is dangerous, as it always tends to blunt the perception,
and to make a person careless and indifferent. I may also add, that no
inconsiderable number of fires are occasioned by the thoughtless
practice of throwing spirits into the fire. The dresses of females
taking fire adds very much to the list of lives lost by fire, if it
does not exceed all the other causes put together.

Another very general cause of fire is that of approaching with lighted
candles too near bed or window curtains; these, being generally quite
dry, are, from the way in which they are hung, easily set on fire,
and, as the flames ascend rapidly, when once touched, they are in a
blaze in a moment.

It is really astonishing to find that, with daily examples before
their eyes, people should persist (whether insured or not seems to
make little difference) in practices which, there is a hundred chances
to one, may involve both themselves and the neighbourhood in one
common ruin. Of this sort are the practices of looking under a bed
with a lighted candle, and placing a screen full of clothes too near
the fire.

Houses not unfrequently take fire from cinders falling between the
joints of the outer and inner hearths. When smoke is observed to arise
from the floor, the cause should be immediately ascertained, and the
inmates ought on no account to retire to rest while there is the
slightest smell of fire, or any grounds to suspect danger from that

Occasional fires are caused by a very absurd method of extinguishing
at night the fires kept in grates during the day. Instead of arranging
the embers in the grate in such a way as to prevent their falling off,
and thus allowing the fire to die out in its proper place, they are
frequently taken off and laid on the hearth, where, should there be
wood-work underneath, it becomes scorched, and the slightest spark
falling through a joint in the stones sets it on fire.

A very frequent cause of fire in shops and warehouses arises from the
carelessness of the person intrusted to lock them up. It is no
uncommon practice with those to whom this duty is intrusted, to light
themselves out, or to search for any little article which may have
been mislaid, with a lighted paper, and then to throw it carelessly on
the floor, imagining they have taken every necessary precaution,
merely by setting their foot upon it, forgetting that the current of
air occasioned by shutting the door frequently rekindles it, and
produces the most serious consequences.

In warehouses and manufactories, fires are not unfrequently caused by
the workmen being occasionally kept late at work. By the time their
task is finished, the men are so tired and sleepy, that the
extinguishing of fires and lights is done in a very careless manner. I
recollect an instance of this sort, in which the flames were issuing
from three upper windows, and observed by the neighbours, while the
workmen engaged at their employment in the lower floors knew nothing
of the destruction that was going on above.

A very serious annual loss is also caused by want of due care in
handing up or removing the goods in linen-drapers' shop windows when
the gas is burning. Flues taking fire often result in mischief and it
is believed that many serious fires have arisen from this cause, which
can hardly be called accidental, as, if flues are properly
constructed, kept moderately clean, and fairly used, they cannot take

From what has been said, it will be seen that care and attention may
do a very great deal towards the prevention of fire, and consequent
loss of life. It is very easy to make good rules, and keep them for a
time, after having been alarmed by some serious loss of property or
life, but the difficulty is to maintain constant attention to the
subject. The most evident plan for effecting this seems to be, for the
masters thoroughly to examine and consider the subject at certain
stated periods, not too far apart, and to constantly warn their
domestics, workmen, or others, of the danger of the improper use of
fires and lights.

One of the greatest preventives of carelessness in the use of fires
and lights would be a legal inquiry in every case, as it would not
only show the faults that had been committed, and thus warn others,
but the idea of being exposed in the newspapers would be another
motive for increased care. This plan has been adopted in New York, and
the reports of the proceedings of Mr. Baker, the "Fire Marshal," show
that the inquiries there made have led to most useful results. Mr.
Payne, the coroner, held inquests on fires in the City of London some
years ago, but the authorities would not allow his expenses, and
therefore they were given up, although believed to be highly
advantageous in explaining accidental and others causes of fire.

_The improper construction of buildings_ more generally assists the
spread than is the original cause of fires, although laying hearths on
timber, and placing timber too near flues, are constant causes of
fire, and it is believed that many melancholy occurrences have arisen
from these and similar sources.

One cause of danger from chimneys arises from the communication which
they often have with each other in one gable. The divisions or
partitions, being very often found in an imperfect state, the fire
communicates to the adjoining chimney, and in this way sometimes wraps
a whole tenement in flames. I know a division of a principal street in
Edinburgh, in which there is scarcely a single chimney-head that is
not more or less in this condition; and I have no doubt that this is
not an uncommon case. There is also great danger from the ends of
joists, safe-lintels, or other pieces of timber, being allowed to
protrude into chimneys. In one instance which came under my notice, a
flue passing under the recess of a window had on the upper side no
other covering than the wood of the floor; of course, when the chimney
took fire the floor was immediately in a blaze: but there are many
instances of such carelessness. It is a common practice amongst
carpenters to drive small pieces of wood into walls for the purpose of
fixing their work, not paying the least attention as to whether the
points run into the flues or not.

In the repairs and alterations of old buildings, house-carpenters are,
if possible, even more careless in this particular, than in the
construction of new.

I know of two different buildings which underwent some alterations. In
both of these, safe-lintels had been run into flues, and both of them,
after the alterations, took fire; the one in consequence of a foul
chimney, which set fire to the lintel; and although the other did not
take fire from the same cause, the lintel was nevertheless very much
scorched, and obliged to be removed.

Great carelessness is frequently exhibited by builders, when erecting
at one time two or three houses connected by mutual gables, by not
carrying up the gables, or party-walls, so as to divide the roofs. I
have seen more than one instance where the adjoining house would have
been quite safe, but for this culpable neglect. It is no uncommon
thing, too, to find houses divided only by lath and standard
partitions, without a single brick in them. When a fire occurs in
houses divided in this manner, the vacuities in the middle of the
partitions act like so many funnels to conduct the flame, thereby
greatly adding to the danger from the fire, and infinitely increasing
the difficulty of extinguishing it.

In London the Building Act forbids all such proceedings, but the
District Surveyors do not seem to have sufficient power, or be able to
pay sufficient attention to such matters, as they are constantly met
with at fires. A very flagrant case of laying a hearth on timber was
lately exposed by a fire in the City. Due notice was given of the
circumstance, but no farther attention was paid to the matter than to
make the proprietor construct the floor properly, although the Act
gave power to fine for such neglect. The omission is to be regretted,
as there could not have been a better case for warning others; it
occurred in a very large establishment, and the work was done by one
of the first builders in the City. Had this fire taken place in the
night and gained some head, it would have been very difficult to have
ascertained the cause. As the premises were situated, a serious loss
of life might have occurred, the apartment in which the fire
originated being the only means of retreat which ten or twelve female
servants had from their bedrooms.

The Metropolitan Building Acts, up to about the year 1825, by
insisting upon party-walls and other precautions, were invaluable for
the prevention of the spread of fires. By them no warehouse was
permitted to exceed a certain area. From the year 1842, the area has
been exchanged for a specified number of cubic feet. But since 1825, a
class of buildings has arisen of which there are now considerable
numbers in the City, called Manchester or piece goods warehouses,
which somehow have been exempted from the law restricting the extent
of warehouses, on the plea that they are _not_ warehouses, because
"bulk is broken" in them, although it is thoroughly understood that
the legislature intended by the Act to restrict the amassing such a
quantity of goods under one roof as would be dangerous to the

Manchester and piece goods warehouses have for some time past been
built in London of unlimited size, sometimes equal to twenty average
houses. This is pretty nearly the same as if that number of houses
were built without party-walls, only that it is much worse, for the
whole mass generally communicates by well holes and open staircases,
and thus takes fire with great rapidity, and, from the quantity of
fresh air within the building, the fire makes much greater progress
before it is discovered. By this means the risk of fire in the City
has been greatly increased, not only to such warehouses themselves,
but to the surrounding neighbourhood, for it is impossible to say how
far fires of such magnitude may extend their ravages under untoward
circumstances, there being at present no preventive power in London
capable of controlling them. To provide such a power would be a very
costly business.

Such buildings are also against the generally received rule, that a
man may burn himself and his own property, but he shall not unduly
risk the lives and property of his neighbours.

The new Building Act is likely to repress, to a certain extent, this
great evil, unless its meaning be subverted by some such subterfuge as
destroyed the efficiency of the last one. But what is to be done with
those which are already built? It may seem tedious to dwell so much on
this subject, but it appears to be a risk which is not generally much
thought of, though it is of the most vital importance to the safety of
London. It is very desirable that the metropolis should take warning
by the experience of Liverpool, without going through the fiery ordeal
which the latter city did.

From 1838 to 1843, 776,762_l._ were lost in Liverpool by fire, almost
entirely in the warehouse risks. The consequence was, that the
mercantile rates of insurance gradually rose from about 8_s._ per
cent. to 30_s._, 40_s._, and, it is said, in some cases, to 45_s._ per
cent. Such premiums could not be paid on wholesale transactions,
therefore the Liverpool people themselves obtained an Act of
Parliament, 6 and 7 Vic., cap. 109, by which the size and height of
warehouses were restricted, party walls were made imperative, and
warehouses were not allowed to be erected within thirty-six feet of
any other warehouse, unless the whole of the doors and window-shutters
were made of _wrought iron_, with many similar restrictions. This Act
applied to warehouses already built as well as to those to be built,
and any tenant was at liberty, after notice to his landlord, to alter
his warehouse according to the Act, and to stop his rent till the
expense was paid. Another Act, 6 and 7 Vic., cap. 75, was also
obtained, for bringing water into Liverpool for the purpose of
extinguishing fires and watering the streets _only_. It is supposed
that the works directed, or permitted, by these two Acts, cost the
people of Liverpool from 200,000_l._ to 300,000_l._ Shortly after
these alterations had been made, the mercantile premiums again fell to
about 8_s._ per cent.

There is another very common cause of fire, which seems to come under
the head of construction--viz., covering up a fireplace when not in
use with wood or paper and canvas, &c. The soot falls into the
fireplace, either from the flue itself, or from an adjoining one which
communicates with it. A neighbouring chimney takes fire; a spark falls
down the blocked-up flue, sets fire to the soot in the fireplace,
which smoulders till the covering is burned through, and thus sets
fire to the premises.

In theatres, that part of the house which includes the stage and
scenery should be carefully divided from that where the spectators
assemble by a solid wall carried up to, and through the roof. The
opening in this wall for the stage should be arched over, and the
other communications secured with iron doors, which would be kept shut
while the audience was in the house. By this plan, there would be
abundance of time for the spectators to retire, before fire could
reach that part of the theatre which they occupy.

_The danger from furnaces_ or close fires, whether for heating,
cooking, or manufacturing purposes, is very great, and no flue should
be permitted to be so used, unless it is prepared for the purpose. The
reason is, that in a close fire the whole of the draught must pass
through the fire. It thus becomes so heated that, unless the flue is
properly built, it is dangerous throughout its whole course. In one
instance of a heating furnace, the heat in the flue was found to be
300°, at a distance of from forty to fifty feet from the fire. In open
fireplaces, the quantity of cold air carried up with the draught keeps
the flue at a moderate heat, from the fire upwards, and, unless the
flue is allowed to become foul, and take fire, this is the safest
possible mode of heating.

Heating by hot air, steam, and hot water are objectionable. First,
because there must be a furnace and furnace flue, and the flue used is
generally that built for an open fire only; and second, the pipes are
carried in every direction, to be as much out of sight as possible. By
this means they are constantly liable to produce spontaneous ignition,
for there appears to be some chemical action between heated iron and
timber, by which fire is generated at a much lower temperature than is
necessary to ignite timber under ordinary circumstances. No
satisfactory explanation of this fact has yet been given, but there is
abundant proof that such is the case. In heating by hot-water pipes,
those hermetically sealed are by far the most dangerous, as the
strength of the pipes to resist the pressure is the only limit of the
heat to which the water, and of course the pipes, may be raised. In
some cases a plug of metal which fuses at 400° is put into the pipes,
but the heat to which the plug is exposed will depend very much on
where it is placed, as, however great may be the heat of the exit
pipe, the return pipe is comparatively cool. But even where the pipes
are left open, the heat of the water at the furnace is not necessarily
212°. It is almost needless to say that 212° is the heat of boiling
water under the pressure of one atmosphere only; but if the pipes are
carried sixty or seventy feet high, the water in the furnace must be
under the pressure of nearer three atmospheres than one, and therefore
the heat will be proportionately increased. Fires from pipes for
heating by hot water have been known to take place within twenty-four
hours after first heating, and some after ten years of apparent

The New Metropolitan Building Act prescribes rules for the placing
steam, hot-air, and hot-water pipes at a certain distance from timber;
but as it must be extremely difficult for the District Surveyors to
watch such minute proceedings, it becomes every one who is anxious for
safety to see that the District Surveyors have due notice of any
operation of this kind.

Another cause of fire which may come under this head is the use of
pipes for conveying away the products of combustion. Every one is
acquainted with the danger of stove pipes, but all are not perhaps
aware that pipes for conveying away the heat and effluvia from
gas-burners are also very dangerous when placed near timber. It is not
an uncommon practice to convey such pipes between the ceiling and the
flooring of the floor above. This is highly dangerous. Gas-burners are
also dangerous when placed near a ceiling. A remarkable instance of
this took place lately, where a gas-burner set fire to a ceiling
28-1/2 inches from it.

Another evil of furnaces is, that the original fireplace is sometimes
not large enough to contain the apparatus, and the party wall is cut
into. Perhaps it may be necessary to notice at this point the use of
gas, as it is becoming so very general. Gas, if carefully laid on, and
properly used, is safer than any other light, so far as actually
setting fire to anything goes, but the greater heat given out so dries
up any combustibles within its reach, that it prepares them for
burning, and when a fire does take place, the destruction is much more
rapid than in a building lighted by other means. Gas-stoves, also,
from the great heat given out, sometimes cause serious accidents; in
one instance, a gas-stove set fire to a beam through a two-and-half
inch York landing, well bedded in mortar, although the lights were
five or six inches above the stone. This is mentioned to show that
gas-stoves require quite as much care as common fires.

_Spontaneous ignition_ is believed to be a very fruitful cause of
fires; but, unless the fire is discovered almost at the commencement,
it is difficult to ascertain positively that this has been the cause.
Spontaneous ignition is generally accelerated by natural or artificial
heat. For instance, where substances liable to spontaneous ignition
are exposed to the heat of the sun, to furnace flues, heated pipes, or
are placed over apartments lighted by gas, the process of ignition
proceeds much more rapidly than when in a cooler atmosphere. Sawdust
in contact with vegetable oil is very likely to take fire. Cotton,
cotton waste, hemp, and most other vegetable substances are alike
dangerous. In one case oil and sawdust took fire within sixteen hours;
in others, the same materials have lain for years, until some external
heat has been applied to them. The greater number of the serious fires
which have taken place in railroad stations in and near London have
commenced in the paint stores. In a very large fire in an oil
warehouse, a quantity of oil was spilt the day before and wiped up,
the wipings being thrown aside. This was believed to have been the
cause of the fire, but direct proof could not be obtained. Dust-bins
also very often cause serious accidents. In one instance, 30,000_l._
to 40,000_l._ were lost, apparently from hot ashes being thrown into a

These accidents may in a great measure be avoided by constant care and
attention to cleanliness, and where paints and oils are necessary, by
keeping them in some place outside the principal buildings. Dust-bins
should, as much as possible, be placed in the open air, and where that
cannot be done, they should be emptied once a day. No collection of
rubbish or lumber of any sort should be allowed to be made in any
building of value.

Mr. Wyatt Papworth, architect, has published some very interesting
notes on spontaneous ignition, giving several well-authenticated

_Incendiarism_ may be divided into three sorts--malicious, fraudulent,
and monomaniac. Of the former there has been very little in London for
many years. The second, however, is rather prevalent. The insurance
offices, which are the victims, protect themselves as well as they
can, but an inquest on each fire is the true mode of lessening the
evil. This is much more the interest of the public than at first seems
to be the case. In several instances where the criminals were brought
to punishment by Mr. Payne's inquests, people were asleep in the upper
parts of the houses set fire to, and in one case there were as many as
twelve or fifteen persons. This, however, is seldom stated in the
indictment, as, if it is, the punishment is still death by the law,
and it is supposed that a conviction is more easily obtained, by the
capital charge being waived. Monomania is a rare cause of
incendiarism, but still several well-certified cases have occurred in
which no possible motive could be given. In one instance a youth of
fifteen set fire to his father's premises seven times within a few
hours. In another, a young female on a visit set fire to her friend's
furniture, &c., ten or eleven times in the course of one or two days.
In neither case could anything like disagreement or harshness be
elicited, but the reverse. In other instances, it has been strongly
suspected that this disease was the cause of repeated fires, but there
was no positive proof. In all these cases, known or suspected, the
parties were generally from fourteen to twenty years of age.


What is "Fire-proof Construction?" is a question which has given rise
to a great deal of discussion, simply, as it appears to me, because
the size of the buildings, and the quantity and description of the
contents, have not always been taken into account. That which may be
perfectly fireproof in a dwelling house, may be the weakest in a large
warehouse. Suppose an average-sized dwelling-house 20 × 40 × 50 =
40,000 cubic feet, built with brick partitions, stone or slate stairs,
wrought-iron joists filled in with concrete, and the whole well
plastered. Such a house will be practically fire-proof, because there
is no probability that the furniture and flooring in any one room,
would make fire enough to communicate to another. But suppose a
warehouse equal to twenty such houses, with floors completely open,
supported by cast-iron pillars, and each floor communicating with the
others by open staircases and wells; suppose, further, that it is half
filled with combustible goods, and perhaps the walls and ceilings
lined with timber. Now, if a fire takes place below, the moment it
bursts through the upper windows or skylights, the whole place becomes
an immense blast furnace; the iron is melted, and in a comparatively
short time the building is in ruins, and, it may be, the half of the
neighbourhood destroyed. The real fire-proof construction for such
buildings is groined brick arches, supported on brick pillars only.
This mode of building, however, involves so much expense, and occupies
so much space, that it cannot be used with advantage. The next best
plan is to build the warehouses in compartments of moderate size,
divided by party-walls and double wrought-iron doors, so that if one
of these compartments takes fire, there may be a reasonable prospect
of confining the fire to that compartment only. Again, cast iron gives
way from so many different causes, that it is impossible to calculate
when it will give way. The castings may have flaws in them; or they
may be too weak for the weight they have to support, being sometimes
within 10 per cent., or less, of the breaking weight. The expansion of
the girders may thrust out the side walls. For instance, in a
warehouse 120 feet × 75 feet × 80 feet, there are three continuous
rows of girders on each floor, with butt joints; the expansion in this
case may be twelve inches. The tie rods to take the strain of the flat
arches must expand and become useless, and the whole of the lateral
strain be thrown on the girders and side walls, perhaps weak enough
already. Again, throwing cold water on the heated iron may cause an
immediate fracture. For these and similar reasons, the firemen are not
permitted to go into warehouses supported by iron, _when once fairly
on fire_.

Cast and wrought-iron have been frequently fused at fires in large
buildings such as warehouses, sugar houses, &c., but according to Mr.
Fairbairn's experiments on cast iron in a heated state, it is not
necessary that the fusing point should be attained to cause it to give
way.[A] He also states, that the loss of strength in cold-blast cast
iron, in a variation of temperature from 26° to 190° = 164° Fahr., is
10 per cent., and in hot-blast at a variation of from 21° to 190° =
169° Fahr., is 15 per cent.; now if the loss of strength advances in
anything like this ratio, the iron will be totally useless as a
support, long before the fusing point is attained.

Much confidence has been placed in wrought-iron tie or tension rods,
to take the lateral strain of the arches, and also in trusses to
support the beams; but it must be evident that the expansion of the
iron from the heat, would render them useless, and under a high
temperature, it would be so great as to unsettle the brickwork, and
accelerate its fall, on any part of the iron-work giving way: again,
the application of cold water to the heated iron, in an endeavour to
extinguish the fire, is almost certain to cause one or more fractures.
The brick-arching is also very liable to fall, especially if only four
and a half inches thick, independently of the weight which may be
placed upon it, for it is not uncommon after a fire in a large
building, to find the mortar almost completely pulverized to the depth
of three inches, or four inches, from the face of the wall. When a
fire occurred under one of the arches of the Blackwall Railway, on the
15th July, 1843, a portion of the lower ring fell down, and also a few
bricks from the next ring.

Another very serious objection to buildings of this description, is
that, unless scientifically constructed, they are very unlikely to be
safe, even for the common purposes intended, independent of the risk
of fire. In the Report of Sir Henry De la Bêche and Mr. Thomas Cubitt
on the fall of the mill at Oldham, in October, 1844,[B] it is stated
that the strength of the iron-beams was within ten per cent. of the
breaking weight. Now according to Mr. Fairbairn's experiments on
heated iron, already referred to, an increase of temperature of only
170° would have destroyed the whole building. It is quite clear,
therefore, that so long as mill-owners and others continue to
construct such buildings without proper advice, they must be liable to
these accidents. In timber-floors there can be no such risk, as the
strains are all direct, and any journeyman carpenter, by following
good examples, can ascertain the size required; and even if he makes a
mistake, the evil is comparatively trivial, as the timber will give
notice before yielding, and may be propped up for the time, until it
can be properly secured. In the case of fire-proof buildings, an
ignorant person may make many mistakes without being aware that he has
done so, and the slightest failure is probably fatal to every one
within the walls. This also increases the difficulty and danger of
extinguishing fires in a large building, as the only method of doing
so is for the firemen to enter it with their branches, and in case of
the floors falling, there is no chance of escape. On the other hand,
timber-floors have repeatedly fallen while the firemen were inside the
building, and they have made their escape uninjured.

In a pamphlet published by Mr. S. Holme, of Liverpool, in 1844,[C] and
which contains a report from Mr. Fairbairn on fire-proof buildings, it
is stated, that many people, especially in the manufacturing
districts, are their own architects; that the warehouses in Liverpool
may be loaded to one ton per yard of flooring; and that unless great
care and knowledge are used in the construction of fire-proof
buildings, they are of all others the most dangerous.[D]

The following are the principles on which Mr. Fairbairn proposes to
build fire-proof warehouses:--

     The whole of the building to be composed of non-combustible
     materials, such as iron, stone, or bricks.

     In order to prevent fire, whether arising from accident or
     spontaneous combustion, every opening, or crevice,
     communicating with the external atmosphere to be closed.

     An isolated staircase, of stone, or iron, well protected on
     every side by brick, or stone walls, to be attached to every
     story, and be furnished with a line of water-pipes,
     communicating with the mains in the street, and ascending to
     the top of the building.

     In a range of stores, the different warehouses to be divided
     by strong partition-walls, in no case less than eighteen
     inches thick, and no more openings to be made than are
     absolutely necessary for the admission of goods and light.

     That the iron columns, beams, and brick arches be of
     strength sufficient, not only to support a continuous dead
     pressure, but to resist the force of impact to which they
     are subject by the falling of heavy goods upon the floors.

     That in order to prevent accident from the columns being
     melted by intense heat in the event of fire in any of the
     rooms, a current of cold air should be introduced into the
     hollow of the columns, from an arched tunnel under the

There is no doubt that if the second principle could be carried out,
namely, the total exclusion of air, the fire would go out of itself;
but it seems, to say the least of it, very doubtful indeed if this can
be accomplished, and if it could, the carelessness of a porter leaving
open one of the doors or windows, would make the whole useless. The
fifth principle shows that Mr. Fairbairn has omitted to allow for the
loss of strength the iron may sustain from the increase of
temperature. The last principle would not be likely to answer its
purpose, even if it was possible to keep these tunnels and hollow
columns clear for a number of years, which is scarcely to be expected.
A piece of cast-iron pipe, one-and-a-half inch in diameter, was heated
for four minutes in a common forge, both ends being carefully kept
open to the atmosphere, when, on one end being fixed in a vice, and
the other pulled aside by the hand, it gave way.

One of the principal objections to the kind of fire-proof buildings
above described, is, that absolute perfection in their construction is
indispensable to their safety; whereas buildings of a more common
description are comparatively safe, although there may be some errors
or omissions in their construction. Indeed, Mr. Fairbairn states in
the same Report, that "it is true that negligence of construction on
the one hand, and want of care in management on the other, might
entail risk and loss to an enormous extent."

The following is a very clear proof of the inability of cast iron to
resist the effects of fire:--

"A chapel in Liverpool-road, Islington, seventy feet in length and
fifty-two feet in breadth, took fire in the cellar, on the 2nd
October, 1848, and was completely burned down. After the fire, it was
ascertained that of thirteen cast-iron pillars used to support the
galleries, only two remained perfect; the greater part of the others
were broken into small pieces, the metal appearing to have lost all
power of cohesion, and some parts were melted. It should be observed,
that these pillars were of ample strength to support the galleries
when filled by the congregation, but when the fire reached them, they
crumbled under the weight of the timber only, lightened as it must
have been by the progress of the fire."

In this case it mattered little whether the pillars stood or fell, but
it would be very different with some of the large wholesale warehouses
in the City, where numbers of young men sleep in the upper floors; in
several of those warehouses the cast-iron pillars are much less in
proportion to the weight to be carried than those referred to, and
would be completely in the draught of a fire. If a fire should
unfortunately take place under such circumstances, the loss of human
life might be very great, as the chance of fifty, eighty, or one
hundred people escaping in the confusion of a sudden night alarm, by
one or two ladders, to the roof, could scarcely be calculated on, and
the time such escape must necessarily occupy, independent of all
chance of accidents, would be considerable.

For the reasons here stated, I submit that large buildings, containing
considerable quantities of combustible goods, with floors of
brick-arches, supported by cast-iron beams and columns, are not,
practically speaking, fire-proof; and that the only construction which
would render large buildings fire-proof; where considerable quantities
of combustible goods are deposited, would be groined brick-arches,
supported by pillars of the same material, laid in proper cement. I am
fully convinced, from a lengthened experience, that the intensity of a
fire,--the risk of its ravages extending to adjoining premises, and
also the difficulty of extinguishing it, depend, _cæteris paribus_, on
the cubic contents of the building which takes fire, and it appears to
me that the amount of loss would be very much reduced, if, instead of
building immense warehouses, which give the fire a fortified position,
warehouses were made of a moderate size, with access on two sides at
least, completely separated from each other by party-walls, and
protected by iron-doors and window-shutters. In the latter case, the
probability is, that not more than one warehouse would be lost at a
time, and perhaps that one would be only partially injured.

It is sincerely to be hoped that the clause in the last Metropolitan
Building Act, restricting the size of warehouses, may be more
successful than its predecessor, for it is not only property that is
at stake, but human life. In many of these "Manchester warehouses,"
there are fifty or one hundred and upwards of warehousemen and
servants sleeping in the upper floors, whose escape, in case of fire,
would be very doubtful, to say the least of it.[E]

Covering timber with sheet-iron is very often resorted to as a
protection against fire. I have never found it succeed; but Dr.
Faraday, Professor Brande, Dr. D. B. Reid, and Mr. W. Tite, M.P., are
of opinion that it may be useful against a sudden burst of flame, but
that it is worse than useless against a continued heat.

In wadding manufactories the drying-rooms were frequently lined with
iron-plates, and when a fire arose there, the part covered with iron
was generally found more damaged than the rest; the heat got through
the sheet-iron, and burnt the materials behind it, and there was no
means of touching them with water until the iron was torn down; sheet
iron should not, therefore, be used for protecting wood.

Even cast iron, one inch thick, laid on tiles and cement three inches
thick, has allowed fire to pass through both, to the boarding and
joisting below, merely from the fire in an open fire-place being taken
off and laid on the hearth. This arises from iron being so good a
conductor that, when heat is applied to it, it becomes in a very short
time nearly as hot on the one side as the other. If the smoke escapes
up a chimney, or in any other way, there may be a serious amount of
fire before it is noticed.

In a fire at the Bank of England, the hearth on which the stove was
placed was cast iron an inch thick, with two-and-a-half inches of
concrete underneath it; but the timber below that was fired.

With regard to the subject of fire-proof dwelling-houses of average
size, I consider that such houses when built of brick or stone, with
party-walls carried through the roof; the partitions of brick, the
stairs of slate or stone, the joists of wrought iron filled in with
concrete, and the whole well plastered, are practically fire-proof
because, as stated at the opening of this chapter, there is no
probability that the furniture and flooring in any one room would make
fire enough to communicate to another. The safest manner of heating
such houses is with open fire-places, the hearths not being laid upon
timber. Stone staircases, when much heated, will fracture from cold
water coming suddenly in contact with them; but in a dwelling-house
built as described above, there is very little chance of such a
circumstance endangering human life, even with wooden steps carried
upon brick walls, and rendered incombustible by a ceiling of an inch
and a quarter of good hair mortar and well pugged, all the purposes of
safety to human life would be attained.

There is a particular description of floor, which, although not
altogether fire-proof, is certainly (at least so far as I can judge),
almost practically so for dwelling-houses. It is composed simply of
plank two and a-half or three inches thick, so closely joined, and so
nicely fitted to the walls, as to be completely air-tight. Its
thickness and its property of being air-tight, will be easily observed
to be its only causes of safety. Although the apartment be on fire,
yet the time required to burn through the floor above or below, will
be so great, that the property may be removed from the other floors,
or, more probably, if the means of extinguishing fire be at hand, it
may be subdued before it can spread to any other apartment. The doors
must of course be made in proportion, and the partitions of brick or

Before closing the subject of fire-proof structures, I will add a few
words upon fire-proof safes. These are all constructed with double
casings of wrought iron, the interstices being in some filled with
non-combustible substances, such as pumice stone and Stourbridge clay,
and in others with metal tubes, that melt at a low temperature, and
allow a liquid contained in them to escape, and form steam round the
box, with the intention of preventing the heat from injuring the
contents. Such safes I have never found destroyed; and in some cases,
after large fires, the whole of the contents have been found
uninjured, while the papers in common safes, merely made strong enough
to prevent their being broken into, were generally found consumed.


[Footnote A: _Vide_ Seventh Report of the British Association, 1837,
vol. vi. page 409.]

[Footnote B: _Vide_ Report on the Fall of the Cotton Mill, at Oldham,
and part of the Prison at Northleach, page 4. Folio. London: Clowes
and Sons, 1845.]

[Footnote C: _Vide_ Report of W. Fairbairn, Esq., on the Construction
of Fire-proof Buildings. With introductory Remarks by Samuel Holme,
page 11, _et seq._ Tract, 8vo. Liverpool: T. Baines, 1844.]

[Footnote D: The Author has been informed by Mr. Farey, M. Inst. C.E.,
that a fire took place, in 1827, in a mill belonging to Mr. Marshall,
of Leeds, the whole of which, with the exception of the roof, was
fire-proof. The upper floor was filled with flax, which took fire; the
roof fell in, and the heat so affected the iron beams of the floor, as
to cause them to give way.]

[Footnote E: In the year 1858, when reporting to the Insurance Offices
upon the Warehouses in the Metropolitan Docks, Mr. Braidwood made the
following suggestions which are applicable to all large buildings.
That all the party-walls where the roofs do not rise above the wall,
should be 3 feet 6 inches above such roof. That all the party-walls in
the valleys of the roofs should be raised to the level of the highest
ridge on either side, all openings in such walls being closed by
wrought-iron doors on each side of the walls, at least a quarter of an
inch thick in the panels, and such openings not to exceed 42
superficial feet in the clear. That all windows which look upon other
windows, or loop-hole doors in other warehouses or compartments,
within 100 feet, should be bricked up, or have wrought-iron shutters
at least 3/16th of an inch thick in the panels.

That all loop-hole doors similarly situated should be made entirely of
wrought iron, frames included, or bricked up. That all shafts for
lifts or other purposes, should be of brick, with wrought-iron doors
where necessary to receive or deliver goods, and that all openings
whatever for machinery should be included in such shaft. That every
hatchway or opening in the floors for "shooting" goods from floor to
floor should have a strong flap _hinged on_ to the floor, to be closed
when not in use, especially at night.

That there should be direct access to every room, of every
compartment, of every warehouse, from a fire-proof staircase, by iron
doors, and that all such staircases should enter from the open air, as
well as from under any warehouse on the quay; in the latter case the
doors must be of iron only.

All the windows in the entresol and ground floors to be bricked up, or
have iron shutters, and the doors and frames to be of iron.

Wherever the warehouses face each other within 100 feet, the front
parapet walls to be carried up to the level of the ridge of the roof.

When it is stated in this report that the windows or loop-hole doors
should be bricked up, it is not meant to exclude the use of thick
glass, three or four pieces being built into each door or window
space, not exceeding 6 inches in diameter or square, in the clear, and
set in the mortar or cement at least 3/4 of an inch all round, the
glass to be not less than 1-1/2 inches thick, flat on both sides, and
so placed that no goods can be stored within 18 inches of the inner

There should be a tank on the top of each staircase, with a tap from
it on each landing, with six fire buckets hung near it, and three
small hand pumps in every staircase; the officers and workpeople
seeing these every day would be certain to run to them in case of
fire, and by having a constant supply of water on every floor small
accidents might be extinguished at once, and the iron doors and roofs
kept cool in case of one room taking fire.]


Before entering upon the subject of Public Fire Brigades, I will call
attention to the course to be pursued by inmates of the house on fire,
and their neighbours.

When all available means of fire prevention have been adopted, the
next thing to be considered is a supply of water. In the country, or
where there are no water-pipes or engines, this ought to be
particularly attended to, and a hand-pump should be provided. Where no
water is kept solely for the purpose of extinguishing fire, such
vessels as can be spared should be regularly filled every night, and
placed in such situations as may be most convenient in case of danger;
and no master of a family ought to retire to rest, without being
satisfied that this has been attended to. If it had no other advantage
than merely that of directing the inmates of a house to the
possibility of such an occurrence as fire, it would be worth much more
than the trouble such an arrangement would cost; but, in addition to
that, a supply of water would be at hand, in most cases more than
sufficient to extinguish the fire immediately on its being discovered,
and before it had become either alarming or dangerous. But when no
such precaution has been adopted, when even the bare possibility of
fire has not been considered, when no attention has even been paid to
the subject, and no provision made for it; the inhabitants are
generally so alarmed and confused, that the danger is probably over,
by their property being burned to the ground, before they can
sufficiently recollect themselves to lend any effective assistance.

In most cases of fire, the people in whose premises it occurs are
thrown into what may be called a state of temporary derangement, and
seem to be actuated only by a desire of muscular movement, no matter
to what purpose their exertions are directed. Persons may often be
seen toiling like galley-slaves, at operations which a moment's
reflection would show were utterly useless. I have seen tables,
chairs, and every article of furniture that would pass through a
window, three or four stories high, dashed into the street, even when
the fire had hardly touched the tenement. On one occasion I saw
crockery-ware thrown from a window on the third floor.[F]

Most of these extravagances take place on the first alarm. When the
engines have got fairly into play, people begin to recollect
themselves, and it is at this time that most of those "who go to see a
fire" arrive. By the exertions of the police there is then generally a
considerable degree of order restored, and the most interesting part
of the scene is over.

What remains, however, may, from its novelty or grandeur, if the fire
is extensive, be still worth looking at for a little, but much of the
excitement is banished with the confusion; and if the fire and firemen
seem to be well matched, the chief interest which is excited in the
spectators is to ascertain which of the parties is likely to be
victorious. Few people, comparatively, have thus an opportunity of
witnessing the terror and distraction occasioned by the first alarm of
fire, and this may probably account for the apathy and indifference
with which people who have not seen this regard it.

When a fire actually takes place, every one should endeavour to be as
cool and collected as possible; screams, cries, and other exhibitions
of terror, while utterly useless in themselves, have generally the
effect of alarming those whose services might otherwise be of the
utmost advantage, and of rendering them unfit for useful exertion. It
is unhappily, too, at the commencement of fires, that this tendency to
confusion and terror is the strongest, when a bucket of water,
properly applied, is generally of more value than a hundred will be
half an hour afterwards. It is the feeling of total surprise, on the
breaking out of a fire, which thus unhinges the faculties of many
individuals. They have never made the case their own, nay, one would
almost imagine they had scarcely thought such an occurrence possible,
till, coming on them almost like a thunderbolt, they are lost in
perplexity and terror. The only preventive against this is to think
the matter over frequently and carefully before it occurs.

The moment it is ascertained that fire has actually taken place,
notice should be sent to the nearest station where there is a
fire-engine. No matter whether the inmates are likely to be able to
extinguish the fire themselves--this should never be trusted to if
more efficient help can be had.

It is much better that an engine should be turned out twenty times
when it is not wanted, than be once too late. This may cause a
trifling expense; but even that expense is not altogether lost, as it
teaches the firemen steadiness and coolness.

The person in the house best qualified for such duty should endeavour
to ascertain, with as much precision as possible, the extent and
position of the fire, while the others collect as much water as they
can. If the fire be in an upper floor, the inmates should be got out
immediately, although the lower part of the house may generally be
entered with safety for some time. If in the lower part of the house,
after the inmates have been removed, great care should be observed in
going into any of the upper floors, as the flames very often reach the
stair before being observed by those above. The upper floors are,
besides, generally filled with smoke, and, in that case, there is
great danger of suffocation to those who may enter.

This, indeed, is the principal danger attending fires, and should be
particularly guarded against, as a person, when being suffocated, is
unable to call for assistance. In a case of this kind the fire took
place in the third floor from the street, and all the inmates
immediately left the premises except one old woman. In about fifteen
minutes after the arrival of the engines, the firemen made their way
upstairs, and the poor woman was found dead beside a basket partly
filled with clothes, which it was supposed she had been packing up for
removal; had she made any noise, or even broke a pane of glass, she
would, in all probability, have been saved; as the fire never touched
the floor in which she was found, she must have died entirely from
suffocation, which a little fresh air would have prevented. Had the
slightest suspicion existed that any one was in the upper floors, they
would have been entered by the windows or the roof; but as the fire
took place in daylight, and none of the neighbours spoke of any one
being in the house, it was thought unnecessary to damage the property,
or risk the lives of the firemen, without some adequate cause. This,
however, shows how little dependence can be placed on information
received from the inmates of the premises on fire. Some of the people
who lived on the same floor with this poor woman, and who had seen her
immediately before they left the house, never mentioned her. I do not
suppose that this negligence arose from apathy, or any feeling of that
sort; but the people were in such a state of utter confusion, that
they were unable to think of anything. But to return.

On the first discovery of a fire, it is of the utmost consequence to
shut, and keep shut, all doors, windows, or other openings. It may
often be observed, after a house has been on fire, that one floor is
comparatively untouched, while those above and below are nearly burned
out. This arises from the door on that particular floor having been
shut, and the draught directed elsewhere. If the person who has
examined the fire finds a risk of its gaining ground upon him, he
should, if within reach of fire-engines, keep everything close, and
await their arrival, instead of admitting air to the fire by
ineffectual efforts to oppose it with inadequate means. In the
meantime, however, he should examine where a supply of water is most
likely to be obtained, and communicate that, and any other local
information, to the firemen on their coming forward. If there be no
fire-engine within reach, the person who has examined the fire should
keep the place where it is situated as close as possible, till as many
buckets of water as can be easily collected are placed within his

Taking care always that there is some one ready to assist him, he
should then open the door, and creep forward on his hands and knees
till he gets as near the fire as possible; holding his breath, and
standing up for a moment to give the water a proper direction, he
should throw it with force, using a hand pump if available, and
instantly get down to his former position, where he will be again able
to breathe. The people behind handing forward another bucket of water,
he repeats the operation till the fire is quenched, or until he feels
exhausted; in which case some one should take his place. If there be
enough of water, however, two, three, or any convenient number of
people may be employed in throwing it; on the contrary, if the supply
of water be insufficient to employ even one person, the door should be
kept shut while the water is being brought, and the air excluded as
much as possible, as the fire burns exactly in proportion to the
quantity of air which it receives.

One great evil, and which ought to be strictly guarded against by
people not accustomed to fire, is, that on the first alarm they exert
themselves to the very utmost of their strength. This, of course, can
last but a short time; and when they feel tired, which in that case
soon happens, they very often give up altogether. Now this is the
reverse of what it ought to be. In extinguishing fires, like most
other things, a cool judgment and steady perseverance are far more
effective than any desultory exertions which can be made.

The heat generally increases in a considerable degree when water is
first thrown upon a fire, from the conversion of a portion of it into
steam. This is sometimes very annoying; so much so, that the persons
engaged in throwing the water, frequently feel themselves obliged to
give back a little. They should on no account, however, abate or
discontinue their exertions in throwing the water with as much force
as possible in the direction of the fire; it will in a short time cool
the air and materials, and the steam will, in consequence, be
generated more slowly, while a steady perseverance on the part of
those employed can alone effect the object in view.

When water is scarce, mud, cow or horse dung, damp earth, &c., may be
used as substitutes; but if there seems no chance of succeeding by any
of these, and the fire is likely to extend to other buildings, the
communication should be immediately cut off by pulling down the
building next to that on fire. Any operation of this sort, however,
should be begun at a sufficient distance from the fire to allow the
communication to be completely cut off, before it gains upon the
workmen. If this operation be attempted so near the fire as to be
interrupted by it, it must be begun again at a greater distance; and,
in that case, there is a greater destruction of property than might
have been necessary.

If a fire occur in a stable or cow-house, surrounded with other
buildings of the same description, or with the produce of a farm,
there is much danger. The cattle and horses should be immediately
removed; and, in doing so, if any of them become restive, they should
be blindfolded, taking care that it is done thoroughly, as any attempt
to blindfold them partially, only increases the evil. They should be
handled as much as possible in the ordinary manner, and with great
coolness; the violent gestures and excited appearance of the persons
removing them tending greatly to startle the animals, and render them


The best public means of arresting fires is a very wide question, as
the only limit to the means is the expense. Different nations have
different ways of doing the same thing. On the Continent generally,
the whole is managed by Government, and the firemen are placed under
martial law, the inhabitants being compelled to work the engines. In
London, the principal means of arresting fires is a voluntary
association of the insurance companies, without legal authority of any
sort, the legal protection by parish engines being, with a few
praiseworthy exceptions, a dead letter.

In Liverpool, Manchester, and other towns, the extinction of fires by
the pressure of water only, without the use of fire-engines, is very
much practised. The advantages of this system are very great; but, to
enable us to follow this system in London, the whole water supply
would require to be remodelled.

In America, the firemen are generally volunteers, enrolled by the
local Governments. They are exempt from other duties, or are entitled
to privileges, which appear to satisfy them, as the situation of
fireman is eagerly sought in most of the American cities.

Which is the best of these different modes it is difficult to say;
perhaps each is best suited for the place where it exists.

It is now generally admitted, that the whole force brought together to
extinguish a fire ought to be under the direction and control of one
individual. By this means, all quarrelling among the firemen about the
supply of water, the interest of particular insurance companies, and
other matters of detail, is avoided. By having the whole force under
the command of one person, he is enabled to form one general plan of
operations, to which the whole body is subservient; and although he
may not, in the hurry of the moment, at all times adopt what will
afterwards appear to be the best plan, yet it is better to have some
general arrangement, than to allow the firemen of each engine to work
according to their own fancy, and that, too, very often in utter
disregard as to whether their exertions may aid or retard those of
their neighbours. The individual appointed to such a situation ought
not to be interfered with, or have his attention distracted, except by
the chief authority on the spot, or the owner of the premises on fire.
Much valuable information is frequently obtained from the latter, as
to the division of the premises, the party-walls, and other matters
connected with its locality. But, generally speaking, the less
interference and advice the better, as it occupies time which may
generally be better employed.

I need scarcely add, that on no account whatever should directions be
given to the firemen by any other individual while the superintendent
of brigade is present; and that there may be no quarrelling about
superiority, the men should be aware on whom the command is to devolve
in his absence.

It has often been to me a matter of surprise, that so small a portion
of the public attention should be directed to the matter of
extinguishing fires. It is only when roused by some great calamity
that people bestir themselves; and then there is such a variety of
plans proposed to avert similar cases of distress, that to attempt to
concoct a rational plan out of such a crude, ill-digested, and
contradictory mass of opinion, requires more labour and attention than
most people are inclined to give it, unless a regular business was
made of it. In Paris the corps of military firemen are so well
trained, that although their apparatus is not so good as it should be,
the amount of the losses by fire is comparatively trifling. If the
head-quarters of such an establishment were to be in London, a store
of apparatus, constructed on one uniform plan, could be kept there, to
be forwarded to any other part of the kingdom where it might be
required. This uniformity of the structure and design of the apparatus
could extend to the most minute particulars; a screw or a nut of any
one engine would fit every other engine in the kingdom. A depôt could
also be kept at head-quarters, where recruits would be regularly
drilled and instructed in the business, and a regular system of
communication kept up with all the provincial corps. Any particular
circumstances occurring at a fire would thus be immediately reported,
and the advantages of any knowledge or experience thus gained, would
be disseminated over the whole kingdom. As the matter at present
stands one town may have an excellent fire-engine establishment, and
another within a few miles a very indifferent one, and when the one is
called to assist the other, they can neither act in concert, nor can
the apparatus of the one in case of accident be of the smallest
service in replacing that of the other. The best might (if a proper
communication were kept up) be under frequent obligations to the
worst, and here, as in other matters, it is chiefly by communication
that knowledge is increased. If the whole experience of the country
were brought together, and maturely considered and digested by persons
competent to judge, I have no doubt that a system might be introduced
suitable to the nation and to the age in which we live. Instead of
hearing of the "_dreadful losses by fire_," and the "_great
exertions_" made to extinguish it, all the notice would be, such a
place took fire, the engines arrived, and it was extinguished.

It would be useless for me to enter into the details of a plan which I
have little hope of ever seeing realized. I may state, however, that a
premium might be offered for the best engine of a size previously
agreed upon, which, when finished, should be kept as a model.

Specifications could then be made out, and estimates advertised for,
for all the different parts, such as wheels, axles, levers, cisterns,
barrels, air-vessels, &c., separately. When any particular part of an
engine was damaged, it could be immediately replaced, and the engine
again rendered fit for service; and upon emergency any number of
engines could be set up, merely by putting the different parts
together. The work would also be better done; at least it would be
much more easy to detect faults in the materials or workmanship than
if the engines were bought ready for use. These remarks apply to all
the rest of the apparatus.

It could be provided that firemen might be enlisted for a term of
years. When enlisted, they would be sent to the depôt at
head-quarters, drilled to the use of the engines, and carefully
instructed in separating and cleaning the different parts. Here also
they could be practised in gymnastic exercises, and generally
instructed in everything tending to promote their usefulness as
firemen. They could then be sent off to some large towns, and, after
having seen a little active service, distributed over the country in
such parties as might be deemed necessary for the places they were
intended to protect.

The practice of keeping fire-engines at noblemen's and gentlemen's
residences, and at large manufactories in the country, is by no means
uncommon, and I have no doubt that many more would supply themselves
in this way if they knew where to apply for information in such
matters; but the great fault lies in the want of persons of skill and
experience to work them when fire occurs. In the way I have mentioned,
proprietors and others could have one or more of their workmen
instructed in this necessary piece of duty; and I have no doubt that
many gentlemen would avail themselves of the means of instructing some
of their servants.

It will be observed, I do not propose that the firemen who are
enlisted, drilled, and instructed in the business, should be sent to
the different stations in sufficient numbers to work the engines; this
part of the work can be performed by any man accustomed to hard
labour, as well as by the most expert fireman, and the local
authorities could easily provide men for this purpose. In small towns,
where fires are rare, the novelty would draw together plenty of hands;
and in large towns, where the inhabitants are not sufficiently
disinterested to work for nothing, there are always plenty who could
be bound to assist in cases of fire at a certain rate per hour, to be
paid upon a certificate from the fireman who has charge of the engine
at which they worked. The trained firemen would thus be required only
for the direction of the engine, attaching the hose, &c.

I am quite aware that many people object to the training of firemen;
but it would be just as reasonable to give to a mob all the "matériel"
of war, and next day expect it to act like a regular army, as to
expect engines to be managed with any general prospect of success,
unless the men are properly trained and prepared for the duty which is
expected from them. Fire is both a powerful and an insidious enemy,
and those whose business it is to attack it will best succeed when
they have become skilful and experienced in the use of their arms.

It is quite obvious that a fire brigade, however complete in its
apparatus and equipments, must depend for its efficiency on the state
of training and discipline of the firemen. Wherever there is
inexperience, want of co-operation, or confusion amongst them, the
utmost danger is to be apprehended in the event of fire. It is amidst
the raging of this destructive element, the terror and bustle of the
inhabitants, that organization and discipline triumph, and it is
there, too, that coolness and promptitude, steadiness and activity,
fearlessness and caution, are peculiarly required; but, unfortunately,
it is then also that they are most rarely exhibited.

There should not be less than five or six men attached to each engine,
who should be properly instructed and drilled, to take charge of it,
and to guide the people who work at the levers.

The person having the principal charge of the engines should
frequently turn over in his mind what might be the best plan, in such
and such circumstances, supposing a fire to take place. By frequently
ruminating on the subject, he will find himself, when suddenly turned
out of bed at night, much more fit for his task than if he had never
considered the matter at all. Indeed he will frequently be surprised,
when examining the premises afterwards (_which he ought always to do,
and mark any mistakes he may have committed_), that he should have
adopted the very best mode of extinguishing the fire, amid the noise,
confusion, and the innumerable advices showered down on him, by all
those who consider themselves qualified or entitled to give advice in
such matters; a number, by the way, which sometimes includes no
inconsiderable portion of the spectators. He should also make himself
well acquainted with the different parts of the town in which he may
be appointed to act, and notice the declivities of the different
streets, &c. He will find this knowledge of great advantage.

Any buildings, supposed to be particularly dangerous, should be
carefully examined, and all the different places where supplies of
water can be obtained for them noticed.

A knowledge of the locality thus obtained will be found of great
advantage in case of a fire breaking out. Indeed all firemen,
especially those having the charge of engines, should be instructed
carefully to examine and make themselves acquainted with the
localities of their neighbourhood or district. Such knowledge will
often prove valuable in emergencies; the proprietors or tenants of the
property on fire being sometimes in such a state of alarm, that no
distinct intelligence can be got from them.

When an engine is brought to a fire, it ought to be placed as nearly
as possible in a straight line between the supply of water and the
premises on fire; taking care, however, to keep at such a distance
from the latter that the men who work the pumps may be in no danger
from being scorched by the heat, or of being annoyed by the falling of
water or burning materials. Running the engine close upon the fire
serves no good purpose, except to shorten the quantity of hose that
would otherwise be required. The addition of twenty or thirty feet of
hose makes very little difference in the working of the engine, and,
when compared with the disadvantage of the men becoming unsteady from
the idea of personal danger, is not even to be named. Indeed, if the
engine be brought too near the fire, there is danger of the men
quitting the levers altogether. I may also add that, both for the
safety of the hose and the convenience of the inhabitants, the engine
should be kept out of the way of people removing furniture.

When the hose is attached and the engine filled with water, the man
who holds the branch-pipe, accompanied by another, should get so near
the fire, inside the house, _that the water from the branch may strike
the burning materials_. If he cannot accomplish this standing, he must
get down on his hands and knees and creep forward, those behind
handing up the hose. A stratum of fresh air is almost always to be
depended on from six to twelve inches from the floor, so that if the
air be not respirable to a person standing upright, he should
instantly get down. I have often observed this fact, which indeed is
well known; but I once saw an example of it which appeared to me to be
so striking, that I shall here relate it. A fire had broken out in the
third floor of a house, and when I reached the top of the stair, the
smoke was rolling in thick heavy masses, which prevented me from
seeing six inches before me. I immediately got down on the floor;
above which, for a space of about eight inches the air seemed to be
remarkably clear and bright. I could distinctly see the feet of the
tables and other furniture in the apartment; the flames in this space
burning as vivid and distinct as the flame of a candle, while all
above the smoke was so thick that the eye could not penetrate it. The
fire had already burst through three out of five windows in the
apartment, yet, when lying flat on the floor, no inconvenience was
felt except from the heat.

When the fire has broken through a floor, the supply of air along that
floor is not to be depended on--the fire drawing the principal supply
of air from the apartments below.

When the two first firemen have gained a favourable position, they
should keep it as long as they are able; and when they feel exhausted,
the men behind them should take their place.

The great point to which everything ought to be made subservient is,
_that the water on its discharge from the branch-pipe should actually
strike the burning materials_. This cannot be too often or too
anxiously inculcated on every one connected with a fire-engine
establishment. Every other method not having this for its grand
object, will, in nine cases out of ten, utterly fail; and upon the
degree of attention paid to this point, depends almost entirely the
question as to the amount of damage the fire will occasion.

When approaching a fire, it should always be done by the door, if
possible. When this is attended to, it is much easier to shift the
hose from one apartment to another; and the current of fresh air,
entering by the door and proceeding along the passages, makes
respiration easier and safer than elsewhere.

When entrance by the door is impracticable, and access is to be gained
by a window, the flames frequently burst through in such a manner as
to render advance in the first instance impossible. In that case, the
branch should be pointed against the window, nearly in a perpendicular
direction; the water striking the lintel, and falling all round inside
the window, will soon extinguish the fire at that point sufficiently
to render an entrance practicable.

The old plan of standing with the branch pipe in the street, and
throwing the water into the windows is a very random way of going to
work; and for my own part, although I have seen it repeatedly tried, I
never saw it attended with success. Indeed it is hardly to be expected
that water, thrown from the street into a room three or four storeys
high, can have any impression on closets, presses, or passages,
divided probably with brick partitions in the centre of the house. The
circumstance of having engines at work on both sides of the house does
not alter the case. The fire very often burns up through the centre,
and frequently, when the space between the windows is large, along the
front or back wall, till it arrives at the roof, which the water
cannot touch on account of the slates or tiles. On the other hand,
when the firemen enter the house, the fire is almost wholly under
their command. And when it happens that there is any corner which the
water cannot directly strike, the fire in it may often be extinguished
by throwing the water against an opposite wall or partition, and
trusting to the recoil to throw it to the point required.

When the water is thrown from the street, it is impossible to say
whether it touches the parts on fire or not. No one can tell anything
about it, except when the flame appears at the windows.

On going with the branch inside the house, besides the advantage of
the water rushing directly from the hose upon the fire, there is a
great saving in the article of water itself. The whole that is thrown
by the engine is applied to the right purpose. No part of it is lost;
that which does not strike the burning materials falls within the
house; and, by soaking those parts on which it falls, prevents their
burning so rapidly when the flames approach them.

If, on entering an apartment, it be found that the flames cover a
considerable space, it is of advantage, in some instances, to place
the point of the thumb in contact with the water at the nozzle of the
branch. By this means the water may be spread to cover any space under
twenty or thirty feet, according to the pressure applied.

While speaking of the mode of entering houses on fire, I may mention
that I have tried several inventions for the purpose of elevating the
branch pipe and hose to the level of a second or third story window.
But these, although exceedingly ingenious, appear to me to rest on a
principle entirely wrong; I mean that of throwing water on the fire
from the outside of the building.

Independent altogether of a mistaken principle of usefulness, one
insuperable objection to all these machines, is the difficulty of
conveying them with the necessary celerity, and the impossibility of
packing them on the engine in such a manner that it may be worked
without their being taken off, as it seems to me _that every
description of apparatus which cannot be conveyed along with the
engine, is likely to be left behind when most wanted_. It is notorious
that parish fire-ladders are, for this reason, seldom or never made
use of.

Many people object to going inside a building on fire on account of
the danger. It ought never to be forgotten, however, that the danger
increases with the delay; and that although at first there may be no
danger, if the opportunity is not promptly seized, it may become very

Several of the firemen have at different times fainted, or become
stupefied, from the want of fresh air; but as no one is ever allowed
to enter singly, they have been, in all cases, immediately observed by
their comrades, and relieved.

Another objection has been raised in the alleged difficulty of
persuading men to risk their lives in this manner for the small
consideration which is allowed them. The truth is, that any
persuasions I have had occasion to use, have been generally on the
other side.

To hold the branch is considered the post of honour; and when two
engines are working together, I have sometimes difficulty in
preventing the men from pressing forward farther than is absolutely
necessary. This forwardness is not the result of pecuniary reward for
the increase of risk, but a spirit of emulation is at work, and the
man entrusted with this duty, if found drawing back, would be
completely disgraced.

A retreat should in all cases be kept open, to provide against any
accident that may occur; and as this may be done in almost all cases
by means so easy and simple, there can be no excuse for its omission.
At the same time no one but an expert fireman should be permitted to
enter where there is personal danger.

The danger to which firemen are most exposed is catching cold, from
their being so frequently drenched with water, and from their exposure
to the sudden alternations of heat and cold. A man is turned out of
bed at midnight, and in a few minutes after quitting it he is exposed
to the sharp air, perhaps, of a frosty winter night; running to the
fire as fast as he can, he is, from the exercise, joined to the
oppressive heat inside the place on fire, in a few minutes in a state
of the most profuse perspiration; and, while in this state, he is
almost certain to be soaked with cold water. The smoke is sometimes so
thick, that he comes under the range of the branch of the engine
without being aware of it till the water strikes him. If he escape
this chance, the water rushing on some other object, recoils on him,
and produces the same effect; and if the fire be in the roof of the
apartment, he must lie down on his back on the floor, and in this
manner gets completely steeped.

A bath of this sort is neither very safe nor pleasant; and the only
preventive of injury to the health is to keep the men in constant
motion. When they are allowed to stand still or sit down, the danger
is considerable. When the fire is extinguished, or in two or three
hours after its commencement, I make it a rule to give every man a
dram of spirits. If it be necessary to leave an engine on the spot,
those of the men who are to remain are sent home to change their


The London Fire Brigade now (January, 1861) consists of one
superintendent, four foremen, each being appointed to a district
consisting of a fourth part of London, which he never leaves except on
some very pressing emergency, and who, in the absence of the
superintendent, has the sole command of all engines, or firemen,
within, or who may come within, his district; twelve engineers, ten
sub-engineers, forty-seven senior firemen, and forty-three junior
firemen: in all, one hundred and seventeen individuals. In addition,
there are fifteen drivers and thirty-seven horses, all living at the
several stations, and ready when required. There is also a
supplementary force of four extra firemen, four drivers, and eight
horses living at the stations, pursuing their usual avocations, and
only paid by the Committee when required. The mechanical appliances
consist of twenty-seven large engines drawn by horses, eight small
engines drawn by hand, two floating-engines worked by steam, one of
forty-horse power, and the other of eighty-horse power, one land steam
fire-engine, and twenty-eight hand-pumps, one of the latter being
carried on each engine. When an engine is sent to a fire, only four
firemen and one driver accompany it. The levers are worked by the
by-standers, who are paid one shilling for the first hour, and
sixpence for each succeeding hour, besides refreshments. Upwards of
six hundred assistants have been thus employed at one time. The
principal protection of London against fire is entirely voluntary on
the part of the insurance companies, to whom the above establishment
belongs; there being no law in any shape whatever to control or
sustain the brigade; and with the exception of some fifteen or twenty,
the parish-engines are comparatively useless at a serious fire. It
must not be omitted, that the greatest possible assistance is given to
the firemen by the police, of whom there are about 7000, in keeping
back the crowd, &c. The fire-offices look upon the whole as a matter
of private business, so that the brigade is proportioned quite as must
to the amount which the offices think it prudent to spend as to the
size of the place. Paris, which is not half the size of London, and
the buildings of which are much more substantial, has upwards of 800
firemen. It appears to me that any success which the brigade may have
attained depends, in a great measure, on the liberal pay given, by
which the best men for the purpose can be obtained, the favourable
view in which the brigade is regarded by the public, and the willing
and able assistance given by a numerous and perhaps the best police in

The firemen in London being constantly employed on weekly wages, give
their whole time to their employers, and are much more under command
than where men are only occasionally employed. The wages and treatment
being liberal, although the discipline is severe, there are generally
a considerable number of candidates for each vacancy. Thus good men
are obtained, seamen being preferred, as they are taught to obey
orders, and the night and day watches and the uncertainty of the
occupation are more similar to their former habits, than to those of
other men of the same rank in life. The large number of fires is,
however, the principal cause of any advantage the London firemen may
possess over those of smaller places; and it is hardly fair to compare
firemen who have only an opportunity of attending one or two fires in
a week, to those who attend nearly three fires a day.

The firemen are drilled first daily, and then two or three times a
week, for some months; and this, with an average of three calls a day,
soon makes them acquainted with the routine of their business; but it
takes years of constant work to make a thoroughly good fireman.

The management of the London Fire Brigade is confided to a Committee,
consisting of one of the directors or secretaries from each of the
fire-offices in London.

The superintendent has the command of the whole force.

The town is divided into four districts, in each of which there are
stationed a sufficient number of engines, under the charge of a
foreman, with engines and firemen under him.

The districts are as follows:--


     District A. From the eastward to Paul's Chain, St. Paul's
     Churchyard, Aldersgate-street, and Goswell-street-road.

     B. From St. Paul's, &c., to Tottenham-court-road,
     Crown-street, and St. Martin's-lane.

     C. From Tottenham-court-road, &c., westward.

     D. South side of River.

The men are clothed uniformly; are distinguished by numbers
corresponding with their names in the books; and regularly exercised
in the use of their engines, and in such other duties as the Committee
or Superintendent may direct.

The following general regulations do not contain rules of conduct
applicable to every variety of circumstance that may occur to
individuals in the performance of their duty, as something must always
be left for the exercise of intelligence and discretion; and,
according to the degree in which these qualities in members of the
Establishment are combined with zeal and activity, they become
entitled to future promotion and reward.

It is strongly impressed upon the minds of all persons serving in the
Establishment, that one of the greatest advantages which the present
system possesses above that which it superseded, is derived from the
embodying the whole force under one responsible officer. It is,
therefore, incumbent upon the men to render prompt and cheerful
obedience to the commands of their superiors; to execute their duties
as steadily and quietly as possible; to be careful not to annoy the
inhabitants of houses they may be called upon to enter, and to treat
all persons with civility; to take care to preserve presence of mind
and good temper, and not to allow themselves to be distracted from
their duty by the advice or directions of any persons but their own
officers, and to observe the strictest sobriety and general regularity
of behaviour.

As every man wears the uniform of the Establishment, which is marked
with a number corresponding with his name in the books, he must
constantly bear in mind that misconduct will not only reflect
discredit upon the Establishment, but be easily brought home to
himself and subject him to proportional punishment.

The men are particularly cautioned not to take spirituous liquors from
any individual without special permission of the superintendent, or,
in his absence, of the foreman of the district; and as intoxication
upon the alarming occasion of fires is not only disreputable to the
Establishment, but in the highest degree dangerous, by rendering the
men unfit for duty, every appearance of it is most rigidly marked, and
the foremen, engineers, and sub-engineers report immediately, for the
purpose of being laid before the Committee, every instance of
insubordination or intoxication, and the men are accordingly apprised
that the regulations regarding the above-mentioned faults will be most
strictly enforced.

All the men in the Establishment are liable to be punished by fine,
suspension, reduction, or dismissal, for disobeying or neglecting any
of these regulations, or for any other misconduct; and the disposal of
the fines so collected is at the discretion of the Committee.

The following are the conditions upon which each man is admitted into
the Establishment:--

     He devotes his whole time to the service.

     He serves and resides wherever he is appointed.

     He must promptly obey all orders which he may receive from
     those placed in authority over him.

     The age of admission does not exceed twenty-five, nor is
     under eighteen.

     He conforms himself to all regulations which may be made
     from time to time.

     He does not upon any occasion, or under any pretence
     whatever, take money from any person, without the express
     permission of the Committee.

     He appears at all times in the dress of the Establishment.

     If lodgings be found for him, a deduction of one shilling
     per week is made from his pay, if unmarried; if married, and
     if lodgings be found for him, an agreement in each
     particular case will be made.

     He receives his pay weekly on such day as shall be

     The pay of a Junior Fireman is 3_s._ per day, or 21_s._ a

     The pay of a Senior Fireman, 3_s._ 6_d._ a day, or 24_s._
     6_d._ a week.

     The pay of a Sub-Engineer is 26_s._ a week.

     The pay of an Engineer, 4_s._ a day, or 28_s._ a week.

     The Foremen are paid by annual salaries.

     Each man contributes towards a Superannuation Fund,
     according to a scale determined by the Committee.

     Each man receives  annually--

      One short frock coat, marked with a number answering to his name
        in the books.

      A black neckcloth.

      Two pairs of cloth trousers.

      One cloth cap.

      Four pairs of boots in three years, and

     Once in three years he receives--

      One great coat.

     He does not quit the service without giving fourteen days'
     previous notice; if he quits without such notice, or is
     dismissed, the whole of his pay then due is forfeited.

     Every man who is dismissed from the Establishment, or who
     resigns his situation, delivers up, before he quits the
     service, every article of dress and appointment which may
     have been supplied to him; if any of such articles have
     been, in the opinion of the superintendent, improperly used
     or damaged, the man makes good the damage or supplies a new

     Every man in the service is liable to immediate dismissal
     for unfitness, negligence, or misconduct. The Committee, if
     they see fit, may dismiss a man without assigning any

     No fireman must allow to be used by any other person, nor
     use himself, except while he belongs to the Establishment,
     the button and badge given with his clothes.

     In the event of sickness rendering any man incapable of
     performing his duties, the Committee reserves to itself the
     power of making a deduction from his weekly pay.

     Each man, on his admission, gives to the Committee, if
     required, a letter of guarantee from some respectable
     person, to an amount not exceeding 50_l._, as security.


One-third of the men are constantly on duty at the different
engine-houses, night and day; and the whole are liable to be called up
for attendance at fires, or for any other duty. In general, it is
arranged as follows, viz.:--

If a fire happen in District A, the whole of the men and engines of
that district immediately repair to the spot; two-thirds of the men,
and one of the engines, from each of the districts B and D, also go to
the fire; and one-third of the men from the district C.

If the fire happen in B, the whole of the men and engines in that
district immediately repair to the fire; one engine from A, another
from C, two-thirds of the men from A and C, and one-third of the men
from D.

If the fire happen in C, the whole of the men and engines in that
district, one engine and two-thirds of the men from the district B,
and one-third of the men from A and D, go to the fire.

If the fire happen in D, the whole of the men and engines in that
district, with one engine and two-thirds of the men from the district
A, and one-third of the men from B and C, shall go to the fire.

If a fire happen on the boundary of a district, and it is doubtful in
which district it has occurred, the whole of the engines and men of
the two adjoining districts instantly proceed to the spot, and
one-third of the men of the two remaining districts.

In case of emergency, the superintendent calls in such additional
force as he may require.

The engines are not taken to alarms of chimneys on fire, unless the
circumstances of the case should, in the opinion of the
superintendent, foreman, or engineer, require a deviation from this

When any of the men from another district come to assist at a fire, if
the engine to which they are attached is not in attendance, they
instantly go to the foreman's engine of the district to which they

The engines are conveyed to fires at not less than seven miles per
hour, and the men who do not accompany the engines go at not less than
four miles per hour.

Any engineer or fireman who, when at a fire, is absent from an engine
or a branch pipe, without orders from the superintendent or foreman,
is liable to a fine.

If any of the men are sick, or absent from any other cause, their
duties are performed by other men attached to their engine-station.

With a view to the men being always at hand, they are lodged as near
as possible to their respective engine-houses.

The roll is called at each station every morning and evening.

No man leaves his own residence or the engine-station to which he
belongs from 10 P.M. to 6 A.M. except to go to a fire, or by an order
from a superior, or with written leave from the superintendent, and
the senior man on duty is answerable if he does not report any
departure from this rule.

Men on duty not at the engine-stations are allowed one hour for
breakfast and one for dinner, as follows:--One-half of the men on duty
go to breakfast from 8 to 9, and the other half from 9 to 10; also
one-half go to dinner from 1 to 2, and the other half from 2 to 3. The
second half in no case leave until the whole of the first half have
returned, neither do the men on duty leave morning or evening until
the relief has arrived. The engineer or senior man on duty is
answerable for this regulation being carried into effect. And any man
being absent from the premises he is watching or working in, except at
the regular hours, is punished.

The men for duty individually assemble at the principal engine-house
in the district before, or precisely at, the hour fixed for that
purpose. Their names are called, and an inspection made by the foreman
of the district, to ascertain that they are sober and correctly
dressed and appointed. The foreman then reads and explains the orders
of the day. At the hour for relieving the men, no one leaves his
engine-house until the relief has actually arrived there; when the men
are relieved, their names are called over, and they are inspected by
the engineer, that he may ascertain whether they are sober, and as
correctly dressed and appointed as when they went on duty. The
engineer enters these inspections in a book.

The engineers deliver a written report, according to a printed form,
twice each day, to the foreman of the district, who in his turn
reports twice a day to the superintendent.

The whole of the men are, at all times, ready to appear at any place
required, for exercise or any other purpose, and are ready (whether on
duty or not) to execute whatever orders they may receive, in relation
to the Establishment, from the engineers, foremen, or superintendent.


The Superintendent resides at the principal engine-station in

The moment an alarm of fire is given, wherever it may be, he repairs
to the spot with all possible expedition, and takes the command of the
whole force.

He endeavours to ascertain the cause of the fire, and reports the same
to the committee.

He is responsible for the general conduct of the foremen, engineers,
and firemen under his charge.

He makes himself well acquainted with the character and conduct of
every man under his orders.

He must be firm and just, and, at the same time, kind and conciliating
in his behaviour on all occasions.

He takes care that the printed regulations and all others given out
from time to time, are promptly and strictly obeyed; and he gives
clear and precise instructions to the men under him, and reports every
instance of neglect of a serious nature to the Committee.

He must feel the importance of visiting some of the engine-houses, at
uncertain hours, every day and night.

He suspends and reports to the Committee persons who are guilty of
serious misconduct; and at once punishes by fines, according to a
scale sanctioned by the Committee, irregularities of a lighter
character, reporting such fines to them.

He must be at all times prepared to furnish the Committee with
particulars respecting the state of the Establishment.

When a fire is extinguished, the superintendent retains only such a
number of men and engines as he may think necessary for watching the

He communicates with the surveyors of stock of the offices interested
in a fire, and arranges with them, in the event of its being
necessary, to work out salvage from the ruins.

When a fire happens, he causes a report to be made immediately, if in
office hours (or, if after office hours, before ten o'clock next
morning), to those offices interested in the fire, and also to their
surveyors of buildings and stock, as soon as possible after the fire
is extinguished, and causes a daily report to be transmitted to each
office of all fires which have happened, according to a printed form
given to him for that purpose, as follows:--

     Date and hour.

     Situation of premises.

     Name and occupation of tenant.

     Name and residence of landlord.

     Supposed cause of fire.

     In what offices insured.

     No. of Policy.

     If there is gas on the premises.

     By whom called.

     By whom extinguished.

     Supply of water, with name of company.

     No. of engines attending and of what district, and the order
     in which they arrive.

     No. of men ditto ditto.

     Engines not of the Establishment, and the order in which
     they arrive.

     Description of damage.


The Foreman resides at the place appointed for him.

He receives his orders and instructions from, and makes his reports
to, the superintendent.

He must set an example to the men of alacrity and skill in the
discharge of his duty, and of regularity in his general behaviour.

In the absence of the superintendent, the foreman of the district will
take the command of the whole force, both those of his own district
and of all other engines and men which may come to his assistance in
cases of fire.

He does not attend fires that happen out of his own district unless he
receives orders from the superintendent to that effect.

He endeavours to ascertain the cause of the fire, and reports the same
to the superintendent.

On the alarm of fire being given in his own district, he instantly
repairs to the spot, and uses his utmost endeavours to get the engines
into play and supply them with water. The first engine and firemen
which arrive at a fire are not interfered with, nor their supplies of
water diverted from them, by those coming afterwards, unless by a
distinct order from the superintendent, or, in his absence, from the
foreman of the district. The same rule applies to each succeeding
engine which takes up a position.

He is careful to place the engines in such a manner that the men who
work at the levers may be in no danger from the falling of the
premises on fire; and also that the engines may not be in the way of
people carrying out furniture, &c.; but, above all things, he
endeavours to place the engineers with their branch pipes in such
positions _that the water from the branches may directly strike the
burning materials_. This he cannot too often inculcate on the men
placed under him, as upon this point, on being properly attended to,
depends entirely the effect of the engines. To attain this most
desirable end, it is frequently necessary to enter the premises on
fire, and the foreman takes care so to place his men that they can
easily escape. If he has reason to suspect that the building is not
sufficiently secure, he stations one or two competent men to observe
the state of the building, and to give the alarm when they see any

He never allows any man unaccompanied by another to enter a building
on fire.

He does not throw more water on the premises than is absolutely
necessary to extinguish the fire, as all the water thrown after the
fire is extinguished, only tends to increase the damage.

When the inmates of the premises on fire are removed, the foreman
endeavours to exclude air from the parts on fire, by shutting all
doors and windows as far as may be practicable.

He is responsible for the conduct of the men placed under him, and for
the state of the engines, which must at all times be kept in
first-rate order; he also makes himself well acquainted with the
talent and general character of each individual under him.

He visits every engine-house in his district at least once in the
twenty-four hours; he sees that the men are on duty, the engines ready
for service, and everything in proper order, and enters his visit in a
book kept for that purpose, with the date and hour of his visit. If he
finds anything wrong, he enters it in the book, and immediately sends
off a report to the superintendent by one of the men not on duty.

He sends a written report twice in every twenty-four hours to the
superintendent, which contains a particular statement of all fires and
everything else connected with the Establishment which has occurred in
his district within the preceding twelve hours.

He returns in his report of a fire the names of such men, if any, as
were not ready to start with the engine to which they are attached.

It is expected that he is able and ready to give instructions to the
engineers and men on all points relating to their duty.

He receives and enters, in a book kept for that purpose, all
complaints which may be made against any person under his command,
causing the complaining party to sign the same and insert his address,
and he reports the whole matter without delay to the superintendent.

He is responsible for the engines in his district being each provided
with the articles contained in the following list:--

     2 lengths of scaling ladder.

     1 canvas sheet, with 10 or 12 handles of rope round the edge
     of it, used as a portable fire-escape.

     2 pieces of 2-1/2-inch rope, one 10 fathoms and one 14
     fathoms long.

     7 lengths of hose, each 40 feet long.

     2 branch pipes, one 4 and the other 1 foot long.

     3 nozzles, or jet pipes.

     4 lengths of suction-pipe, each about 6 feet long.

     1 flat rose.

     1 standcock.

     1 goose-neck.

     2 balls of strips of sheep-skin.

     2 balls of small cord.

     4 hose wrenches.

     1 fire hook.

     1 mattock.

     1 shovel.

     1 saw.

     1 screw-wrench.

     1 portable cistern.

     1 hatchet or pole-axe.

     1 iron crow-bar.


He resides in the engine-house to which he is appointed.

He obeys all orders given to him by the superintendent or the foreman
of the district.

He must set an example to the men of alacrity and skill in the
discharge of his duty, and of regularity in his general behaviour.

He is held responsible for the conduct of the men under him, and for
the state of his engine, and takes care that it is provided with the
articles contained in the foregoing list.

He reports to his foreman, every morning and evening, in writing,
whether any of his men have been absent with or without leave.

He enters in his book the time when the men go to the foreman's
station before taking duty, and also when they return.

On receiving notice of a fire happening within the prescribed limits,
he instantly takes his engine and men to the spot, and places himself
and them at the disposal of the superintendent, foreman, or senior
engineer of the district in which the fire happens.

He must make himself acquainted with the character and abilities of
each man under him.

He is subject to fines at the discretion of the Committee, for neglect
of duty or misbehaviour.


The sub-engineers being attached to foremen's and double stations
only, in the absence of the foremen or engineer, or when in charge of
an engine, the duties of the sub-engineer are the same as those
described for an engineer; when the foreman or engineer is absent, the
sub-engineer must set an example to the firemen at the station of
constant attention, implicit obedience and activity, and in so far as
he exhibits these and similar qualifications he expects to rise in the


Every fireman in the establishment may expect to rise to the superior
stations, by activity, intelligence, sobriety, and general good

He must make it his study to recommend himself to notice by a diligent
discharge of his duties, and strict obedience to the commands of his
superiors, recollecting that he who has been accustomed to obey will
be considered best qualified to command.

He resides near the engine-house to which he is attached, in a
situation to be approved of, and devotes the whole of his time and
abilities to the service.

On the alarm of fire, he proceeds with all possible speed to the
engine-house to which he is attached.

He must at all times appear neat in his person, and correctly dressed
in the establishment uniform, and be respectful in his demeanour
towards his superiors.

He must readily and punctually obey the orders of the engineers,
foremen, and superintendent.

He must not quit his engine-house while on duty, except to go to a
fire, unless by special order from a superior.

He is subject to fines for neglect of duty or misbehaviour, according
to the regulations.


There is a book kept in each engine-house, in which are entered all
fires or alarms of fires; the time the men come on duty; the visits
made by the foremen, superintendent, or any of the Committee, and all
complaints against the men.

This book is in charge of the superior on duty at the time; and the
foreman and engineers are answerable for its being correctly kept.

Every entry made in this book is signed by the person making it.

The superintendent enters, in a book kept for that purpose, the
particulars of every fire, the attendance of engines, supply of water,
&c., and lays it before the Committee weekly, or oftener, if required.

Any false entry, for the purpose of concealing absence, is
punished--for the first offence, by the reduction of one step, and for
the second by dismissal.


[Footnote F: At a fire which took place in one of the best streets in
Edinburgh, and which began in the roof, the persons who rushed into
the house on the first alarm being given, threw the greater part of
the contents of the drawing-room and library, with several basketsful
of china and glass, out of the windows; the fire injured nothing below
the uppermost story.]


In forming the brigade in Edinburgh, where the firemen are only
occasionally employed, the description of men, from which I made a
selection, were slaters, house-carpenters, masons, plumbers, and

Slaters make good firemen, not so much from their superiority in
climbing, going along roofs, &c., although these are great advantages,
but from their being in general possessed of a handiness and readiness
which I have not been able to discover in the same degree amongst
other classes of workmen. It is, perhaps, not necessary that I should
account for this, but it appears to me to arise from their being more
dependent on their wits, and more frequently put to their shifts in
the execution of their ordinary avocations. House-carpenters and
masons being well acquainted with the construction of buildings, and
understanding readily from whence danger is to be apprehended, can
judge with tolerable accuracy, from the appearance of a house, where
the stair is situated, and how the house is divided inside. Plumbers
are also well accustomed to climbing and going along the roofs of
houses; they are useful in working fire-cocks, covering the gratings
of drains with lead, and generally in the management of water. Smiths
and plumbers can also better endure heat and smoke than most other

Men selected from these five trades are also more robust in body, and
better able to endure the extremes of heat, cold, wet, and fatigue, to
which firemen are so frequently exposed, than men engaged in more
sedentary employments.

I have generally made it a point to select for firemen, young men from
seventeen or eighteen to twenty-five years of age. At that age they
enter more readily into the spirit of the business, and are much more
easily trained, than when farther advanced in life. Men are frequently
found who, although they excel in the mechanical parts of their own
professions, are yet so devoid of judgment and resources, that when
anything occurs which they have not been taught, or have not been able
to foresee, they are completely at a loss. Now it happens not
unfrequently that the man who arrives first at a fire, notwithstanding
any training or instructions he may have received, is still, from the
circumstances of the case, left almost entirely to the direction of
his own judgment. It is, therefore, of immense importance to procure
men on whose coolness and judgment you can depend. If they are expert
tradesmen, so much the better, as there is generally a degree of
respect shown to first-rate tradesmen by their fellows, which inferior
hands can seldom obtain; and this respect tends greatly to keep up the
character of the corps to which they belong, which ought never to be
lost sight of.

Amidst the noise and confusion which more or less attend all fires, I
have found considerable difficulty in being able to convey the
necessary orders to the firemen in such a manner as not to be liable
to misapprehension. I tried a speaking-trumpet; but, finding it of no
advantage, it was speedily abandoned. It appeared to me indeed, that
while it increased the sound of the voice, by the deep tone which it
gave, it brought it into greater accordance with the surrounding
noise. I tried a boatswain's call, which I have found to answer much
better. Its shrill piercing note is so unlike any other sound usually
heard at a fire, that it immediately attracts the attention of the
firemen. By varying the calls, I have now established a mode of
communication not easily misunderstood, and sufficiently precise for
the circumstances to which it is adapted, and which I now find to be a
very great convenience.

The calls are as follows:--

     1 for red, 2 for blue, 3 for yellow, 4 for grey.[G]

     5 to work the engine.

     6 to stop working.

     7 to attach one length of hose more than the engine has at
     the time the call is given.

     8 to coil up the hose attached to the engine.

     9 to coil up the hose attached to the fire-cock.

     10 to turn to the left.

     11 to turn to the right.

     12 the call to work the engine answers also to move forward
     when the engine is prepared for travelling.

     13 the call to stop working answers to stop the engine when
     moving forward.

In all there are thirty-six calls when compounded with the first four.

In speaking of the drilling of firemen, I shall give a short account
of the plan followed here, which has been tolerably successful.

The present number of firemen in Edinburgh is fifty, divided into four
companies; three of which consist of twelve and one of fourteen men.
The bounds of the city are divided into four districts; in each of
which there is an engine-house, containing one or more engines, one of
the companies being attached to each engine-house. In each company
there is one captain, one sergeant, four pioneers, and six or eight

The whole are dressed in blue jackets, canvas trousers, and hardened
leather helmets, having hollow leather crests over the crown to ward
off falling materials. The form of this helmet was taken from the
war-helmet of the New Zealanders, with the addition of the hind flap
of leather to prevent burning matter, melted lead, water, or rubbish
getting into the neck of the wearer. The captains' helmets have three
small ornaments, those of the sergeants one--those of the pioneers and
firemen being plain.

The jackets of the captains have two small cloth wings on the
shoulder, similar to those worn by light infantry. Those of the
sergeants have three stripes on the left arm, and, on the left arms of
the pioneers and firemen, are their respective numbers in the company.
Each company has a particular colour--red, blue, yellow, and grey.
Each engine is painted of one or other of these colours, and the
accoutrements of the men belonging to it correspond. There is thus no
difficulty in distinguishing the engines or men from each other by
their colours and numbers. Each man also wears a broad leather
waist-belt, with a brass buckle in front. To the waist-belts of the
captains, sergeants, and pioneers is attached eighty feet of cord; the
captains having also a small mason's hammer, with a crow-head at the
end of the handle: the sergeants have a clawed hammer, such as is used
by house-carpenters, with an iron handle, and two openings at the end
for unscrewing nuts from bolts; the pioneers a small hatchet, with a
crow-head at the end of the handle; and the firemen each carry a
canvas water-bucket folded up.

The captains assemble every Tuesday night, to give in a report of such
fires as may have occurred in their respective districts, with a list
of the men who have turned out, and a corresponding list from the
sergeant of police of the respective districts. They then receive any
orders which may be necessary; and any vacancies which have occurred
in the establishment are filled up at these meetings.

For some months after this fire establishment was organized, the men
were regularly drilled once a week, at four o'clock in the morning;
but now only once a month at the same hour.

Among many other good reasons for preferring this early hour, I may
mention, that it does not interfere with the daily occupation of the
firemen. The chance of collecting a crowd is also avoided, as there
are then comparatively few people on the streets; this is a matter of
some importance, as a crowd of people not only impedes the movements
of the firemen, but, from small quantities of water spilt on the
by-standers, quarrels are generated, and a prejudice excited against
the corps, to avoid which every exertion should be used to keep the
firemen on good terms with the populace.

The mornings, too, at this early hour, are dark for more than half the
year, and the firemen are thus accustomed to work by torch-light, and
sometimes without any light whatever, except the few public lamps
which are then burning. And, as most fires happen in the night, the
advantage of drilling in the dark must be sufficiently obvious.

The inhabitants have sometimes complained of being disturbed with the
noise of the engines at so early an hour; but when the object has been
explained, they have generally submitted, with a good grace, to this
slight evil. A different part of the city being always chosen for each
successive drill, the annoyance occasioned to any one district is very
trifling, and of very unfrequent occurrence.

On the Tuesday evening preceding the drill, the captains are informed
when and where the men are to assemble. These orders they communicate
to the individual firemen. A point of rendezvous being thus given to
the whole body, every man, who is not on the spot at the hour
appointed, fully equipped, with his clothes and accoutrements in good
order, is subjected to a fine. Arrived on the ground, the men are
divided into two parties, each party consisting of two companies, that
being the number required to work each large engine without any
assistance from the populace. The whole are then examined as to the
condition of their clothing and equipments.

The captains, sergeants, and pioneers of each company alternately take
the duty of directing the engine, attaching the hose, &c., while the
whole of each party not engaged in these duties take the levers as
firemen. The call is then given to move forward, the men setting off
at a quick walking pace, and, on the same call being repeated, they
get into a smart trot. When the call to stop is given, with orders to
attach one or more lengths of hose to the engine and fire-cock, it is
done in the following manner:--No. 1 takes out the branch pipe, and
runs out as far as he thinks the hose ordered to be attached will
reach, and there remains; No. 2 takes a length of hose out of the
engine, and uncoils it towards No. 1; and No. 3 attaches the hose to
the engine. If more than one length is required, No. 4 takes out
another, couples it to the former length, and then uncoils it. If a
third length is wanted, No. 3 comes up with it, after having attached
the first length to the engine. If more lengths are still wanted, No:
2 goes back to the engine for another; Nos. 3 and 4 follow, and so on
till the requisite length is obtained; No. 1 then screws on the
branch-pipe at the farther extremity of the last length.[H] While Nos.
1, 2, 3, and 4 are attaching the hose to the engine, No. 5 opens the
fire-cock door, screws on the distributor, and attaches the length of
hose, which No. 6 uncoils; Nos. 7 and 8 assist, if more than one
length of hose be required. Immediately on the call being given to
attach the hose, the sergeant locks the fore-carriage of the engine,
and unlocks the levers. The fire-cock being opened by No. 5 (who
remains by it as long as it is being used), the sergeant holds the end
of the hose which supplies the engine, and at the same time
superintends the men who work the levers. The call being given to work
the engine, the whole of the men, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, the captain
and sergeant excepted, work at the levers along with the men of the
other company.

Although these operations may appear complicated, they are all
completed, and the engine in full play, with three lengths, or 120
feet of hose, in one minute and ten seconds, including the time
required for the water to fill the engine so far as to allow it to

In order to excite a spirit of emulation, as well as to teach the men
dexterity in working the engines, I frequently cause a competition
amongst them. They are ordered to attach one or more lengths of hose
to each of two engines, and to work them as quickly as possible, the
first engine which throws water being considered the winner. They are
sometimes also placed at an equal distance from each of two separate
fire-cocks; on the call being given to move forward, each party starts
for the fire-cock to which it is ordered, and the first which gets
into play is of course held to have beat the other. The call to stop
is then given, and both parties return to their former station, with
their hose coiled up, and everything in proper travelling order; the
first which arrives being understood to have the advantage.

The men are also carefully and regularly practised in taking their
hose up common-stairs, drawing them up by ropes on the outside, and
generally in accustoming themselves to, and providing against, every
circumstance which may be anticipated in the case of fire.

When a fire occurs in a common-stair, the advantages arising from this
branch of training are incalculable. The occupants, in some cases
amounting to twenty or thirty families, hurrying out with their
children and furniture, regardless of everything except the
preservation of their lives and property, and the rush of the crowd to
the scene of alarm, form altogether, notwithstanding the exertions of
an excellent police, such a scene of confusion as those only who have
witnessed it can imagine; and here it is that discipline and unity of
purpose are indispensable; for, unless each man has already been
taught and accustomed to the particular duty expected from him, he
only partakes of the general alarm, and adds to the confusion. But
even when a hose has been carried up the interior of a common-stair,
the risk of damage from the people carrying out their furniture is so
great, that the hose is not unfrequently burst, almost as soon as the
engine has begun to play. If the hose be carried up to the floor on
fire by the outside, the risk of damage is comparatively small, the
hose in that case being only exposed for a short distance in crossing
the stair.

During a period of four years the only two firemen who lost their
lives were run down by their own engines; and, in order to avoid
danger from this cause, they are frequently accustomed suddenly to
stop the engines when running down the steep streets with which this
city abounds. It is a highly necessary exercise, and is done by
wheeling the engine smartly round to the right or left, which has the
effect of immediately stopping its course.

There is a branch of training which I introduced amongst the Edinburgh
firemen some time ago, which has been attended with more important
advantages than was at first anticipated. I mean the gymnastic
exercises. The men are practised in these exercises (in a small
gymnasium fitted up for them in the head engine-house) regularly once
a-week, and in winter sometimes twice: attendance on their part is
entirely voluntary; the best gymnasts (if otherwise equally qualified)
are always promoted in cases of vacancy.

So sensible were the Insurance Companies doing business here, of the
advantages likely to arise from the practice of these exercises, that
on one occasion they subscribed upwards of 10_l._, which was
distributed in medals and money among the most expert and attentive
gymnasts of the corps, at a competition in presence of the
magistrates, commissioners of police, and managers of insurance

Amongst the many advantages arising from these exercises I shall
notice only one or two. The firemen, when at their ordinary
employments, as masons, house-carpenters, &c., being accustomed to a
particular exercise of certain muscles only, there is very often a
degree of stiffness in their general movements, which prevents them
from performing their duty as firemen with that ease and celerity
which are so necessary and desirable; but the gymnastic exercises, by
bringing all the muscles of the body into action, and by aiding the
more general development of the frame, tend greatly to remove or
overcome this awkwardness. But its greatest advantage is the
confidence it gives to the men when placed in certain situations of
danger. A man, for example, in the third or fourth floor of a house on
fire, who is uncertain as to his means of escape, in the event of his
return by the stair being cut off, will not render any very efficient
service in extinguishing the fire; his own safety will be the
principal object of his attention, and till that is to a certain
extent secured, his exertions are not much to be relied upon. An
experienced gymnast, on the other hand, placed in these circumstances,
finds himself in comparative security. With a hatchet and eighty feet
of cord at his command, and a window near him, he knows there is not
much difficulty in getting to the street; and this confidence not only
enables him to go on with his duty with more spirit, but his attention
not being abstracted by thoughts of personal danger, he is able to
direct it wholly to the circumstances of the fire. He can raise
himself on a window sill, or the top of a wall, if he can only reach
it with his hands; and by his hands alone he may sustain himself in
situations where other means of support are unattainable, till the
arrival of assistance. These are great advantages; but, as I said
before, the greatest of all is that feeling of safety with which it
enables a fireman to proceed with his operations, uncertainty or
distraction being the greatest of possible evils. The cord carried at
the waist-belt of the captains, sergeants, and pioneers, being fully
sufficient to sustain a man's weight, and with the assistance of their
small hatchets easily made fast, and the pioneers always being two
together, there is thus no difficulty in descending even from a height
of eighty feet: the cords should be doubled by way of security.


A list of the engine-houses, and the residences of the superintendent
and head enginemen in each district shall be publicly advertised, that
no one may be ignorant where to apply in cases of fire; and, in the
event of fire breaking out in any house, the possessor shall be bound
to give instant notice of it at the nearest station; and shall take
particular care to keep all doors and windows shut in the premises
where the fire happens to be.

"Fire-engine house" shall be painted in large characters on one or
more prominent places of each engine-house; and the residences of the
master of engines, head enginemen, inspectors of gas companies, and
water-officers of the district, shall likewise be marked there.

The head enginemen and firemen shall reside as near the engine-house
as possible.

As, in the case of a fire breaking out, it may be necessary to break
open the doors of houses and shops in the neighbourhood, in order to
prevent the fire from spreading, it is ordered, that no possessors of
houses or shops in the neighbourhood shall go away, after the fire has
broken out, without leaving the key of their house or shop, as
otherwise the door will be broken open, if necessary; and it is
recommended that all possessors of shops shall have the place of their
residence painted upon their shop-doors, that notice may be sent them
when necessary.


Upon any watchman discovering fire, he shall call the neighbouring
watchmen to his assistance--shall take the best means in his power to
put all concerned upon their guard--and shall immediately send off
notice to the nearest office and engine-house. The watchman, who is
despatched to give these intimations, shall run as far as he can, and
shall then send forward any other watchman whom he may meet, he
himself following at a walk to communicate his information, in case of
any mistake on the part of the second messenger.

Upon intimation of a fire being received at the main office, or a
district office, the head officer on duty shall instantly give notice
thereof to the head engineman of the district, to the master of
engines, to the water-officers of the district, and to the inspectors
of the different gas-light companies, and shall have power, if his
force at the office at the time be deficient, to employ the nearest
watchmen for these purposes; and, on intimation being first received
at a district-office, the officer on duty in the office shall
immediately send notice to the main office.

Upon intimation being received at the main office, the officer on duty
shall also instantly send notice to the superintendent of police, and
the lieutenants not at the office at the time--to the master of
engines; to the head enginemen of the various districts; to the
superintendent of the water company; to the lord provost or chief
magistrate for the time; to the sheriff of the county; to the bailie
residing nearest the place; to the dean of guild; to the members of
fire-engine committee of commissioners of police; to the moderator of
the high constables; and also to the managers of the different
gaslight companies.

The officer on duty at the main office shall, with the least possible
delay, send off to the fire a party of his men, under the command of a
lieutenant or other officer.

This party, on arriving at the spot, shall clear off the crowd, and
keep open space and passages for the firemen and others employed.

The officer commanding this party of the police shall attend to no
instructions except such as he shall receive from the acting chief
magistrate attending; or, in absence of a magistrate, from any member
of the committee on fire-engines; and the men shall attend to the
instructions of their own officer alone.

Three or more policemen shall be in attendance upon the acting chief
magistrate and fire-engine committee; two policemen shall constantly
attend the master of the engines, to be at his disposal entirely; and
one policeman shall attend with the water-officer at each fire-cock
that may be opened.

The superintendent of police shall always have a list of extra
policemen hung up in the police-office, who, upon occasions of fire,
may be called out, if necessary, and twenty of these extra men shall
always be called out upon notice of fire being received at the main
office, for the purpose of attending at the police-office, and
rendering assistance where it may be required. The superintendent
shall likewise have a supply of fire-buckets, flambeaux, and lanterns,
at the office, to be ready when wanted.

There shall be no ringing of alarm-bells, beating of drums, or
springing of rattles, except by written order from the chief
magistrate for the time; but the alarm may be given by despatching
messengers, with proper badges, through different parts of the town,
when considered necessary.


On receiving notice of a fire, the superintendent shall instantly
equip himself in his uniform, and repair to the spot where the fire

The necessary operations to be adopted shall be under his absolute
control, and he will issue his instructions to the head enginemen and

The superintendent shall report from time to time to the chief
magistrate in attendance (through such medium as may be at his
command, but without his leaving the spot), the state of the fire, and
whether a greater number of policemen, or a party of the military, be
required, and anything else which may occur to him; and the master
shall observe the directions of the chief magistrate attending, and
those of no other person whatever.

The superintendent shall frequently inspect the engines, and all the
apparatus connected therewith; he shall be responsible for the whole
being at all times in good order and condition; and he shall have a
general muster and inspection at least once every three months, when
the engines and all the apparatus shall be tried. He shall also
instruct the enginemen, firemen, and the watchmen, to unlock the
plates, and screw on the distributors of the fire-cocks, or open the

Whenever any repairs or new apparatus shall appear to be necessary,
the superintendent shall give notice to the clerk of the police, whose
duty it shall be instantly to convene the committee on fire-engines.

Upon a fire breaking out, the superintendent shall lose as little time
as possible in stationing chimney-sweepers on the roofs of the
adjoining houses, to keep them clear of flying embers; and also
persons in each flat of the adjoining houses, to observe their state,
and report if any appearances of danger should arise; such persons
taking as much care as possible _to keep all doors and windows of said
flats shut_, and the doors and windows of the premises where the fire
happens to be shall, so far as practicable, be carefully kept shut.

The superintendent shall forthwith prepare regulations for the
firemen, &c., under his charge, and report the same to the committee
on fire-engines for their approval. Every fireman shall be furnished
with a copy of such regulations, and shall be bound to make himself
master of its contents; and it shall be the duty of the superintendent
to see that the instructions are duly attended to in training and
exercising the men.


Each head engineman shall attend to the engines placed in his
district, and all the apparatus connected therewith, and report to the
superintendent when any repairs or new apparatus seem requisite, and
shall be responsible for the engines being in proper working condition
at all times.

Upon receiving notice of a fire, the head enginemen shall call out the
firemen in their respective districts; and they shall all repair,
perfectly equipped, with the utmost expedition, to the spot where the
fire happens to be, carrying along with them the engines and

The head enginemen shall have the carts and barrels attached to their
several districts always in readiness, in good order, and the barrels
filled with water, which shall accompany the engines to the fire.

On arriving at the spot, the head enginemen shall take their
instructions from the superintendent, or, in his absence, from the
chief magistrate in attendance on the spot; or, in their absence, from
a member of the fire-engine committee, and from no other person


The firemen shall attend at all times when required by the head
enginemen or superintendent, as well as upon the days of general
inspection. They shall keep their engines in good order and condition,
and shall be equipped in their uniform at all times when called out.

They shall observe the instructions of no person whatever, except
those of the superintendent or head enginemen.


Upon occasions of fire, the moderator of the high constables shall
call out the high constables, and, if necessary, he shall also call
out the extra constables, and give notice to call out the constables
of their districts; and it shall be the duty of the constables to
preserve order and to protect property, to keep the crowd away from
the engines, and those employed about them; and, when authorized by
the chief magistrate, superintendent of engines, or, in the absence of
a magistrate, by a member of the committee on fire-engines, to provide
men for working the engines.

Neither the constables nor the commissioners of police shall assume
any management, or give any directions whatsoever, except in absence
of a magistrate and the superintendent of engines, in which case any
member of the committee on fire-engines may give orders to the head

In cases of protracted fire, when extra men may be required to relieve
the regular establishment, it shall be the duty of the high constables
to collect those wanted, from amongst the persons on the street who
may be willing to lend their assistance, mustering them in such
parties as may be required, taking a note of their names, and
furnishing each individual with a certificate or ticket, with which
the moderator of the high constables, or chief constable at the time,
will be supplied; and no person shall receive any remuneration for
alleged assistance given at a fire who may not produce such
certificate or ticket.

The party or parties so mustered shall be placed and continue under
the care of two high constables, until required for service, when they
shall be moved forward to the engine.

The men relieved by the party so moved forward, shall be taken charge
of by two high constables, who shall see them properly refreshed and
brought back within a reasonable time, so that the men employed may
thus occasionally relieve each other without confusion, and without
being too much exhausted.


Upon occasion of fires, the magistrates, sheriff, moderator of the
high constables, the superintendent of the water company, the managers
of the different gas-light companies, and the fire-engine committee,
will give their attendance. They will assemble in such house nearest
to the place of the fire as can be procured, of which notice shall be
immediately given to the officer commanding the police on the spot.

The orders of the chief magistrate in attendance shall be immediately
obeyed; and no order, except those issued by such magistrate, and the
particular directions given as to the fire and engine department by
the master of engines, or, in their absence, by a member of the
fire-engine committee on the spot, shall be at all attended to.

The magistrates and sheriff further declare, that all porters holding
badges shall be bound to give their attendance at fires when called
upon for that purpose.


The managers of the different gas-light companies, on receiving notice
of a fire, shall instantly take measures for turning off the gas from
all shops and houses in the immediate neighbourhood of the fire.


_Captains._--On the alarm of fire being given, an engine must be
immediately despatched from the main office to whatever district the
fire may be in; and the captain in whose district the fire happens
shall bring his engine to the spot as quickly as possible, taking care
that none of the apparatus is awanting. On arriving at the spot, he
must take every means in his power to supply his engine with water,
but especially by a service-pipe from a fire-cock, if that be found
practicable. Great care must be taken to place the engine so that it
may be in the direction of the water, with sufficient room on all
sides to work it, but as little in the way of persons employed in
carrying out furniture, &c., as possible. He must also examine the
fire while the men are fixing the hose, &c., that the water may be
directed with the best effect.

The captains shall be responsible for any misconduct of their men,
when they fail to report such misconduct to the superintendent.

The engines must be at all times in good working order, and the
captain shall report to the superintendent when any part of the
apparatus is in need of repair.

When the fire is in another district, the captain of each engine shall
get his men and engine ready to proceed at a moment's notice, but must
not move from his engine-house till a special order arrives from a
lieutenant of police or the superintendent of brigade.

_Sergeants._--The sergeant of each engine will take the command in
absence of the captain. When the captain is present, the sergeant will
give him all possible assistance in conducting the engine to the fire;
and it will there be more particularly the sergeant's duty to see that
the engine is supplied with water, and that every man is at his proper
station, and to remain with his engine while on duty, whether it is
working or not, unless he receives special orders to the contrary.

_Pioneers._--Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4 of each engine will be considered
pioneers. Nos. 1 and 2 will proceed to the fire immediately, without
going to their engine-house, in order to prepare for the arrival of
the first engine, by ascertaining and clearing a proper station for
it, and by making ready the most available supplies of water, as also
to examine the state of the premises on fire and the neighbouring
ones, so as to be able to give such information to the captain on his
arrival as may enable him to apply his force with the greatest effect.
_The pioneers will attend particularly to the excluding of air from
the parts on fire by every means in their power, and they will
ascertain whether there are any communications with the adjoining
house by the roof, gable, or otherwise._ When the several engines
arrive, the pioneers will fall in with their own company, and take
their farther orders from the captain or sergeant.

_Firemen._--On the alarm of fire being given, the whole company
belonging to each engine (Nos. 1 and 2 excepted) shall assemble as
speedily as possible at their engine-house, and act with spirit under
the orders of their officers in getting everything ready for service.
Each man will get a ticket with his own number and the colour of his
engine marked upon it; and on all occasions when he comes on duty he
will give this ticket into the hands of a policeman, who will be
appointed by the officer of police on duty to collect them at each
engine-house, and who will accompany the engine if it is ordered to
the fire.

If the ticket be not given in, as before provided, within half an hour
after the alarm is given at their engine-house, or at all events,
within half an hour after the arrival of the engine at the fire, the
defaulter will forfeit the allowance for turning out, and also the
first hour's pay.

If not given in within the first hour, he will forfeit all claim to

The superintendent, however, may do away the forfeiture in any of
these cases, on cause being shown to his satisfaction.

On quarter-days and days of exercise, every man must be ready equipped
at the appointed hour, otherwise he will forfeit that day's pay, or
such part of it as the superintendent may determine.

Any man destroying his equipments, or wearing them when off duty, will
be punished by fine or dismissal from the service, as the
superintendent may determine.

Careless conduct, irregular attendance at exercise, or disobedience of
superior officers, to be punished as above-mentioned.

The man who arrives first at the engine-house to which he belongs,
_properly equipped_, will receive three shillings over and above the
pay for turning out.

The first of the Nos. 1 and 2 who arrives at the fire, _properly
equipped_, in whatever district it may be, will receive three
shillings over and above the pay for turning out.

No pay will be allowed for a false alarm, unless the same is given by
a policeman.

As nothing is so hurtful to the efficiency of an establishment for
extinguishing fires as unnecessary noise, irregularity, or
insubordination, it is enjoined on all to observe quietness and
regularity, to execute readily whatever orders they may receive from
their officers, and to do nothing without orders.

The first engine and company which arrive at the fire are not to be
interfered with, nor their supplies of water diverted from them by
those coming afterwards, unless by a distinct order from the
superintendent, or, in his absence, from the chief magistrate on the
spot. The same rule will apply to each succeeding engine which takes
up a station.

The men must be careful not to allow their attention to be distracted
from their duty by listening to directions from any persons _except
their own officers_; and they will refer every one who applies to them
for aid to the superintendent, or to the chief magistrate present at
the time.

All the firemen must be particularly careful to let the policemen on
their respective stations know where they live, and take notice when
the policeman is changed, that they may give the new one the requisite

The men are particularly cautioned not to take spirituous liquors from
any individual without the special permission of the captain of their
engine, who will see that every proper and necessary refreshment be
afforded to them; and as intoxication upon such alarming occasions is
not merely disreputable to the corps, but in the highest degree
dangerous, by rendering the men unfit for their duty, every appearance
of it will be most rigidly marked; and any man who may be discovered
in that state shall not only forfeit his whole allowances for the
turn-out and duty performed, but will be forthwith dismissed from the

All concerned are strictly enjoined to preserve their presence of
mind, not to lose temper, and upon no occasion whatsoever to give
offence to the inhabitants by making use of uncivil language or
behaving rudely.

*** Every one belonging to the establishment will be furnished with a
printed copy of these Regulations, which they are enjoined carefully
to preserve and _read over at least once every week_.


[The following was written in the year 1830, and does not refer to
Public Fire-Escapes other than those that can be carried with a

When the lower floors of a house are on fire, and the stairs or other
ordinary means of retreat destroyed, the simplest and easiest mode of
removing the inhabitants from the upper floors, is by a ladder placed
against the wall. In order to be able at all times to carry this plan
into effect, the person having charge of the engines should (as far as
possible) inform himself where long ladders are to be had, and how
they can most easily be removed.

But if a ladder of sufficient length is not to be procured, or is at
too great a distance to render it safe to wait for it, recourse must
immediately be had to other means.

If it happens that the windows above are all inaccessible, on account
of the flames bursting through those below, the firemen should
immediately get on the roof (by means of the adjoining houses,) and
descend by the hatch. The hatch, however, being sometimes directly
above the stair, is in that case very soon affected by the fire and
smoke. If, on approaching, it is found to be so much so as to render
an entrance in that way impracticable, the firemen should instantly
break through the roof, and, descending into the upper floors,
extricate those within. If it should happen, however, that the persons
in danger are not in the upper floor, and cannot reach it in
consequence of the stair being on fire, the firemen should continue
breaking through floor after floor till they reach them. In so
desperate a case as this the shorter process may probably be to break
through the party-wall between the house on fire and that adjoining,
when there is one; and when there is no house immediately contiguous,
through the gable, taking care in either case to break through at the
back of a closet, press, chimney, or other recess, where the wall is
thinnest. If an opening has been made from the adjoining house, it
should immediately (after having served the purpose for which it was
made) be built up with brick or stone, to prevent the fire spreading.
All these operations should be performed by slaters, masons, or
house-carpenters, who, being better acquainted with such work, are
likely to execute it in a shorter time than others--time, in such a
case, being everything, as a few minutes lost may cost the lives of
the whole party. It is not impossible, however, that circumstances may
occur to render all or either of these plans impracticable; in that
case, one or two of the lower windows must be darkened, and by this
means access gained to the upper ones. The plan recommended by the
Parisian firemen is, for a man to wrap himself up in a wet blanket,
and thus pass swiftly through the flames. But this effort is only to
be attempted when the flames from a single door are to be passed; in
any other case the stair will most likely be in flames, and

A simple means of escape from fire is to have an iron ring fastened to
the window sill, and inside of the room a cradle, with a coil of rope
attached to it. The rope is put through the ring, and the person
wishing to escape gets into the cradle, and lowers himself down by
passing the rope through his hands. The great objection to this plan,
which is certainly very simple, is the difficulty, or rather
impossibility, of persuading people to provide themselves with the
necessary materials. Many men, too, are incapable of the exertion upon
which the whole plan depends; and if men in a state of terror are
unfit for such a task, what is to become of women and children?

Any fire-escape, to be generally useful, must, in the first place, be
capable of being carried about without encumbering the fire-engine;
and, in the next place, must be of instant and simple application. The
means which appear to me to possess these qualifications in the
highest degree, is a combination of the cradle plan, with Captain
Manby's admirable invention for saving shipwrecked seamen.

The apparatus necessary for this fire-escape is a chain-ladder eighty
feet long, a single chain or rope of the same length as the ladder, a
canvas bag, a strong steel cross-bow, and a fine cord of the very best
workmanship and materials, 130 feet long, with a lead bullet of
three-ounce weight attached to one end, and carefully wound upon a
wooden cone seven inches high and seven inches broad at the base,
turned with a spiral groove, to prevent the cord slipping when wound
upon it, also a small pulley with a claw attached to it, and a cord
reeved through it of sufficient strength to bear the weight of the

In order to prevent the sides of the ladder from collapsing, the steps
are made of copper or iron tube, fastened by a piece of cord passed
through the tube and into the links of the chain, till the tube is
filled. The steps thus fastened are tied to the chain with
copper-wire, so that, in the event of the cord being destroyed, the
steps will be retained in their places by the wire. The ladder is
provided with two large hooks at one end, for the purpose of fixing it
to a roof, window-sill, &c. The bag is of canvas, three feet wide and
four feet deep, with cords sewed round the bottom, and meeting at the
top, where they are turned over an iron thimble at each side of the
mouth of the bag. The steel cross-bow is of the ordinary description,
of sufficient strength to throw the lead bullet with the cord
attached, 120 feet high.

When the house from which the persons in danger are to be extricated
is so situated that the firemen can get to the roof by passing along
the tops of the adjoining houses, they will carry up the chain-ladder
with them, and drop it over the window where the inmates show
themselves, fastening the hooks at the same time securely in the roof.
The firemen will descend by the ladder into the window, and putting
the persons to be removed into the bag, lower them down into the
street by the single chain. If the flames are issuing from the windows
below, the bag, when filled, is easily drawn aside into the window of
the adjoining house, by means of a guy or guide-rope.

If the house on fire stands by itself, or if access cannot be had to
the roof by means of the adjoining houses, the lead bullet, with the
cord attached, is thrown over the house by means of the cross-bow; to
this cord a stronger one is attached, and drawn over the house by
means of the former; a single chain is then attached, and drawn over
in like manner; and to this last is attached the chain-ladder, which,
on being raised to the roof, the firemen ascend, and proceed as before

If the house be so high that the cord cannot be thrown over far enough
to be taken hold of by those on the opposite side, then the persons to
be extricated must take hold of the cord, as it hangs past the window
at which they may have placed themselves. By means of it they draw up
the small pulley, and hook it on the window-sill. The chain-ladder is
then made fast to the end of the cord, and drawn up by those below.
When the end of the chain-ladder comes in front of the window, the
persons inside fasten the hooks of the ladder on its sill, or to the
post of a bed, the bars of a grate, or anything likely to afford a
sufficient hold. After having ascertained that the ladder is properly
fixed, the firemen will ascend and proceed as in the former cases.

I must here remark, that before this plan can be properly put in
execution, the firemen must be regularly trained to the exercise. When
the firemen here are practised with the fire-escape, the man ascending
or descending has a strong belt round his middle, to which another
chain is fastened, and held by a man stationed at the window for that
purpose; if any accident, therefore, were to occur with the
chain-ladder, the man cannot fall to the ground, but would be swung by
the chain attached to the belt round his body. The men are also
frequently practised in ascending and descending by single chains. The
firemen here are very fond of the above exercise; the bagging each
other seems to amuse them exceedingly.[I]

The last resort, in desperate cases, is to leap from the window. When
this is to be attempted, mattresses, beds, straw, or other soft
substances, should be collected under the window; a piece of carpet or
other strong cloth should be held up by ten or twelve stout men. The
person in the window may then leap, as nearly as possible, into the
centre of the cloth, and if he has sufficient resolution to take a
fair leap, he may escape with comparatively little injury.[J]


In the application of manual power to the working of fire-engines, the
principal object is, to apply the greatest aggregate power to the
lightest and smallest machine; that is, suppose two engines of the
same size and weight, the one with space for 20 men to work throws 60
gallons per minute; and the other, with space for 30 men, throws 80
gallons in the same time; the latter will be the most useful engine,
although each man is not able to do so much work as at the former.

The reciprocating motion is generally preferred to the rotary for
fire-engines. Independent of its being the most advantageous movement,
a greater number of men can be employed at an engine of the same size
and weight; there is less liability to accident with people
unacquainted with the work, and such as are quite ignorant of either
mode of working, work more freely at the reciprocating than the rotary
motion. To these reasons may be added, the greater simplicity of the

Various sizes of engines, of different degrees of strength and weight,
have been tried, and it is found that a fire-engine with two cylinders
of 7 inches diameter, and a stroke of 8 inches, can be made
sufficiently strong at 17-1/2 cwt. If 4 cwt. be added for the hose and
tools, it will be found quite as heavy as two fast horses can manage,
for a distance under six miles, with five firemen and a driver.

[Illustration: FIG. 1. Fire-Engine used by the London Fire Brigade.
Longitudinal section,--with the Levers turned up for travelling.]

This size of engine has been adopted by the Board of Admiralty and the
Board of Ordnance, and its use is becoming very general.

When engines are made larger, it is seldom that the proper proportions
are preserved, and they are generally worked with difficulty, and soon
fatigue the men at the levers.

[Illustration: FIG. 2. Transverse section.]

When an engine is large, it not only requires a considerable number of
men to work it, but it is not easily supplied with water; and, above
all, _it cannot be moved about with that celerity on which, in a
fire-engine establishment, everything depends_. When the engine is
brought into actual operation, the effect to be produced depends less
on the quantity of water thrown than upon its being made actually to
strike the burning materials, the force with which it does so, and the
steadiness with which the engine is worked. If the water be steadily
directed upon the burning materials, the effect even of a small
quantity is astonishing.

When a large engine is required in London, two with 7-inches cylinders
are worked together by means of a connecting screw, thus making a jet
very nearly equal (as 98 to 100) to that of an engine with cylinders
10 inches diameter.

It is also an advantage not unworthy of consideration, that two 7-inch
engines may be had nearly for the price of one 10-inch one; so that if
one happens to be rendered unserviceable the other may still be

The usual rate of working an engine of the size described is 40
strokes of each cylinder per minute; this gives 88 gallons. The number
of men required to keep steadily at work for three or four hours is
26; upwards of 30 men are sometimes put on when a great length of hose
is necessary. The lever is in the proportion of 4-1/4 to 1. With 40
feet of leather hose and a 7/8 inch jet, the pressure is 30 lb. on the
square inch; this gives 10.4 lbs. to each man to move a distance of
226 feet in one minute. The friction increases the labour 2-1/2 per
cent. for every additional 40 feet of hose, which shows the necessity
of having the engine, and of course the supply of water, as close to
the fire as is consistent with the safety of the men at the levers.

In order that the reader may have a distinct idea of such a
fire-engine, I shall here endeavour to give a description, chiefly
taken from those made by W. J. Tilley,[K] fire-engine maker, London.

The engravings (figs. 1 and 2) represent a fire-engine of 7-inch
barrels and 8-inch stroke.[L] The cistern marked A is made of mahogany
or oak. The upper work, B, and side-boxes or pockets, C, are of Baltic
fir. The sole, D, upon which the barrels stand, and which also
contains the valves, is of cast-iron, with covers of the same
material, which are screwed down, and the joints made good with
leather or india-rubber. The pieces E, at each end of the cast-iron
sole D, are of cast brass, and screwed to the cast-iron sole D, with a
joint the same as above. In one of these pieces is the screwed
suction-cap F, and to the other is attached the air-vessel G, made of
sheet-copper, and attached to the piece E by a screw. The exit-pipe H
is attached to the under side of the casting E by a swivel. The valves
at I are of brass, ground so as to be completely water-tight. The
barrels K are of cast brass. The engine is set on four grasshopper
springs M. The shafts or handles O, of the levers P, are of lancewood.
The box S, under the driving seat, is used for keeping wrenches, cord,
&c.; in the fore part of the cistern A, and the box B above the
cistern, the hose is kept; the branch and suction-pipes are carried in
the side-boxes or pockets C; the rest of the tools and materials are
kept along with the above-mentioned articles, in such situations as
not to interfere with the working of the engine.

The cistern is made of oak or mahogany, for strength and durability;
but, for the sake of lightness, the upper work and side-boxes are made
of Baltic fir, strength in them being of less importance.

As the valve cannot be made without a rise for the lid to strike
against, there is a small step at each of the valves, and the sole is
carried through as high as this step, to admit of the water running
off when the engine is done working. If constructed in a different
manner, the water will lodge in the bottom, and produce much
inconvenience in situations where the engine is exposed to frost.

The valve-covers are of cast-iron, fastened down with copper screws, a
piece of leather or india-rubber being placed between them and the
upper edges of the sole.

The pieces at each end of the sole are of cast-brass, instead of
sheet-copper, with soft-solder joints, which are very apt to give way.

The screwed suction cap with iron handle admits the water in two
different directions, according as it is open or closed: the one to
supply the engine when water is drawn from the cistern, the other for
drawing water through the suction-pipe.

The valves are brass plates, truly ground to fit the circular brass
orifice on which they fall. The brass being well ground, no leather is
used for the purpose of making them tight. The longer they are used
the better they fit, and by having no leather about them they are less
liable to the adhesion of small stones or gravel. The whole valve is
put together and then keyed into a groove in the sides and bottom of
the sole, left for that purpose.

The barrels are of cast-brass, with a piston made of two circular
pieces of the same metal, each put into a strong leather cup, and
bolted to the other. The bottoms of the cups being together, when the
piston becomes loose in the barrels, and there is not sufficient time
to replace the cups by new ones, they are easily tightened by putting
a layer of hemp round the piston between the leather and the brass.
This operation, however, requires to be carefully performed; for if
more hemp is put into one part than another it is apt to injure the
barrels. The barrels are fixed to the cast-iron sole by copper screws,
a little red lead being placed between the bottom flange of the barrel
and the sole.

When the engine is likely to be dragged over rough roads or causeways,
it is of importance to have it set on springs, to prevent the jolting
from affecting the working part of the engine, everything depending on
that being right.

The engines used in Paris are mounted on two wheels, the carriage and
the engine being separate, the latter being dismounted from the former
before it can be used. In Paris, where the engines are managed by a
corps of regularly-trained firemen, this may answer well enough; but
if hastily or carelessly dismounted by unskilful persons, the engine
may be seriously damaged. It is also worthy of remark, that the proper
quantity of hose, tools, &c., can be more easily attached to and
carried on a four-wheeled engine.

In order that the men may work more easily at the handles, and suffer
less fatigue, the engine is not higher than to enable them to have the
levers easily under their command. The shafts of the levers are of
lancewood, being best calculated to bear the strain to which they are
exposed when the engine is at work, and they are made to fold up at
each end for convenience in travelling.

The air-vessel should be placed clear of any other part of the engine,
excepting only the point where it is attached.

The fore-carriage of the engine is fitted with a pole, and is made to
suit the harness of coach-horses, these being, in large towns, more
easily procured than other draught cattle; this can be altered,
however, to suit such harness as can most readily be obtained. Where
horses are seldom used to move the engines, a drag-handle is attached,
by which one or two men are able easily to direct the progress of the

Two drag-ropes, each twenty-five feet long, of three-inch rope, with
ten loops to each, are attached, one to each end of the splinter-bar,
by means of which the engines are dragged; and to prevent the loops
collapsing on the hand, they are partly lined with sheet-copper.

The whole of the brass work of an engine should be of the best
gun-metal, composed of copper and tin only. Yellow brass should never
be used; even at first it is far inferior to gun-metal, and after
being used for some time it gets brittle. The whole of the materials
used in the construction of a fire-engine should be of the best

In London for some years past a hand-pump has been carried with each
engine. They have been found of the greatest service in keeping doors,
windows, &c., cool. They throw from six to eight gallons per minute,
to a height of from thirty to forty feet, and can be used in any
position. The idea of the hand-pumps I took from the old-fashioned
squirt, or "hand-engine."

When fire-engines are unserviceable it arises more frequently from
want of care in keeping in order than from any damage they may have
received in actual service or by the wearing out of the materials; so
it is quite plain that this important part of the duty has not
generally had that degree of attention paid to it which it deserves.

Although an engine were to be absolutely perfect in its construction,
if carelessly thrown aside after being brought home from a fire, and
allowed to remain in that state till the next occasion, it would be in
vain (especially in small towns, where alarms are rare) to expect to
find it in a serviceable condition; some of the parts must have grown
stiff, and if brought into action in this state something is likely to
give way.

When an engine is brought back from a fire, it ought to be immediately
washed, the cistern cleaned out, the barrels and journals cleaned and
fresh oil put on them, the wheels greased, and every part of the
engine carefully cleaned and examined, and if any repairs are needed
they should be executed immediately. When all this has been attended
to clean hose should be put in, and the engine is again fit for
immediate service. Besides this cleaning and examination after use,
the engine ought to be examined and the brass part cleaned once a
week, and worked with water once a month whether it has been used or

In addition to the keeping of the engine always in an effective state,
this attention has the advantage of reminding the men of their duty,
and making them familiar with every part of the mechanism of the
engine; thus teaching them effectually how the engines ought to be
protected when at work, by enabling them to discover those parts most
liable to be damaged, and to which part damage is the most dangerous.
It is more troublesome generally to get the engines well kept when
there are no fires, than when there are many. But the only effectual
method of inducing the men to keep them in good order, in addition to
the moral stimulants of censure and applause, is to fine those who
have the charge of them for the slightest neglect.

When the engine has been properly placed, before beginning to work the
fore-carriage should be locked. This is done by putting an iron pin
through a piece of wood attached to the cistern, into the
fore-carriage. This prevents the wheels from turning round, and coming
under the shafts, by which the latter might be damaged, and the hands
of the men at work injured.

Small stones, gravel, and other obstructions, sometimes find their way
into the nozzle of the branch-pipe, from having dropped into the hose
before being attached, or having been drawn through the suction-pipe
or from the cistern. Whenever the engine is found to work stiffly, it
should be stopped and examined, otherwise the pressure may burst the
hose, or damage some part of the engine. If anything impedes the
action of the valves the pistons must be drawn, and if a person's hand
be then introduced they may easily be cleared--constant care and
attention to all the minutiæ of the engine and apparatus being
absolutely indispensable, if effective service be expected from them.

Considerable attention ought to be paid to the selecting a proper
situation for an engine-house. Generally speaking, it ought to be
central, and on the highest ground of the district it is meant to
protect, and care should be taken to observe when any of the streets
leading from it are impassable.

If, in addition to these advantages, the engine-house can be had
adjoining to a police watch-house, it may be considered nearly
perfect, in so far as regards situation. These advantages being all
attained, the engine can be conveyed to any particular spot by a
comparatively small number of men, while the vicinity of a police
watch-house affords a facility of communicating the alarm of fire to
the firemen not to be obtained otherwise. When the engine-house is
placed in a low situation the men who first arrive must wait till the
others come forward to assist them to drag the engine up the ascent,
and many minutes must thus be lost at a time when moments are

After choosing a proper situation for the engine-house, the next care
should be directed towards having it properly ventilated, as nothing
contributes more to the proper keeping of the engines and hose than
fresh and dry air. For this purpose a stove should be fitted up, by
which the temperature may be kept equal. When engines are exposed to
violent alternations of heat and cold, they will be found to operate
very considerably on the account for repairs, besides occasioning the
danger of the engine being frozen and unserviceable when wanted.

There ought to be at least half a dozen keys for each engine-house,
which should be kept by the firemen, watchmen, and those connected
with the establishment, that the necessity of breaking open the door
may not occur.


Having considered the sort of fire-engine which is best adapted for
general purposes, I shall now notice the different articles which, in
London, are always attached to, and accompany, each engine of this

     7 coils of hose, 40 feet each.
     4 bundles of sheepskin and lay-cord.
     4 lengths of suction-pipe, each between 6 and 7 feet long.
     2 branch pipes.
     3 jet pipes or nozzles and an elbow for jet.
     3 wrenches for coupling-joints.
     2 lamps.
     2 lengths of scaling ladder.
     1 fire-hook.
     60 feet of patent line, and 20 feet of trace line.
     1 mattock.
     1 shovel.
     1 hatchet or pole-axe.
     1 saw.
     1 iron crow-bar.
     1 portable cistern.
     1 flat suction strainer.
     1 standcock, and hook for street plugs.
     1 screw wrench.
     1 canvas sheet with 10 or 12 rope handles round its edges.
     9 canvas buckets.
     1 hand-pump with 10 feet of hose and jet pipe.

Of these articles I shall endeavour to give a description as they
stand in the above list.

The article of hose being first in order, as well as importance,
merits particular attention.

The sort used is leather, made with copper rivets, and is by far the
most serviceable and durable hose that I have yet seen.

Manufacturers of this article, however, for a very obvious reason, are
not always careful to select that part of the hide which, being
firmest, is best adapted for the purpose. Indeed, I have known several
instances wherein nearly the whole hide has been cut up and made into
hose, without any selection whatever. The effect of this is very
prejudicial. The loose parts of the hide soon stretch and weaken, and
while, by stretching, the diameter of the pipe is increased, the
pressure of the water, in consequence, becomes greater on that than on
any other part of the hose, which is thereby rendered more liable to
give way at such places.

Hose are frequently made narrow in the middle, and, in order to fit
the coupling-joints, wide at the extremities--a practice which lessens
their capability of conveying a given quantity of water, in proportion
to the difference of the area of the section of the diameters at the
extremity and the middle part.

In order to make them fit the coupling-joints, when carelessly widened
too much, I have frequently seen them stuffed up with brown paper, and
in that case they almost invariably give way, the folds of the paper
destroying the hold which the leather would otherwise have of the
ridges made on the ends of the coupling-joints.

In order to avoid all these faults and defects, the riveted hose used
are made in the following manner:--

The leather is nine and five-eighths inches broad (that being the
breadth required for coupling-joints of two and a half inches diameter
of clear water-way), and levelled to the proper uniform thickness. The
leather used is taken from hides of the very best description,
perfectly free from flesh-cuts, warble-holes, or any other blemish,
and stuffed as high as possible.[M] Not more than four breadths are
taken from each hide, and none of the soft parts about the neck,
shoulders, or belly are used. No piece of leather is less than four
feet long.

The leather is gauged to the exact breadth, and holes punched in it
for the rivets. In the operation of punching, great care must be taken
to make the holes on each side of the leather exactly opposite to each
other. If this precaution be not attended to, the seam when riveted
takes a spiral direction on the hose, which the heads of the rivets
are very apt to cut at the folds. Care must also be taken that the
leather is equally stretched on both sides, otherwise the number of
holes on the opposite sides may be unequal. The ends are then cut at
an angle of thirty-seven degrees; if cut at a greater angle, the
cross-joint will be too short, and if at a smaller, the leather will
be wasted. This must, however, be regulated in some degree by the
number of holes in the cross-joint, as the angle must be altered a
little if the holes at that part do not fit exactly with the holes
along the side.

The different pieces of leather necessary to form one length, or forty
feet of hose, are riveted together by the ends.

Straps of leather, three inches broad, are then riveted across the
pipe, ten feet apart, to form loops for the purpose of handing or
making fast the hose when full of water. The leather is then laid
along a bench, and a bar of iron, from eight to ten feet long, three
inches broad, and one inch thick, with the corners rounded off, is
laid above it. The rivets are next put into the holes on one side of
the leather, along the whole length of the iron bar. The holes on the
other side are then brought over them, and the washers put on the
points of the rivets, and struck down with a hollow punch. The points
of the rivets are then riveted down over the washers, and finished
with a setting punch. The bar of iron is drawn along, and the same
operation repeated till the length of the hose be finished.

The rivets and washers should be made of the best wrought copper, and
must be well tinned before being used.

Some objections have been made to riveted hose on account of the
alleged difficulty of repairing them; but this is not so serious a
matter as may at first view appear. Indeed, they very seldom require
any repairs, and when they do, the process is not difficult. If any of
the rivets be damaged, as many must be taken out as will make room for
the free admission of the hand. A small flat mandrel being introduced
into the hose, the new rivets are put into the leather, and riveted up
the same as new pipe; the mandrel is then shaken out at the end.

If the leather be damaged, it may be repaired either by cutting out
the piece, and making a new joint, or by riveting a piece of leather
upon the hole.

The manner of attaching the hose to the coupling-joint is also a
matter of very considerable importance. If a joint come off when the
engine is in operation, a whole length of hose is rendered useless for
the time, and a considerable delay incurred in getting it detached,
and another substituted.

To prevent this, the hose ought to fit as tightly as possible to the
coupling-joint, without any packing. In riveted hose, a piece of
leather, thinned down to the proper size, should be put on to make up
the void which the thick edge of the leather next the rivet
necessarily leaves; the hose should then be tied to the coupling-joint
as firmly as possible with the best annealed copper wire, No. 16

When the hose are completely finished in this manner they are proved
by a proving-pump, and if they stand a pressure of two hundred feet of
water they are considered fit for service. I may also add, that when
any piece of hose has been under repair it is proved in the same
manner before it is deemed trustworthy.

The proving of the hose is of very considerable importance, and the
method of doing so which I have mentioned is greatly superior to the
old plan of proving them on an engine or fire-cock. By the latter
method, no certain measure can be obtained by which the pressure can
be calculated. In the first place it must depend on the relative
height of the reservoir from whence the water is obtained and that of
the fire-cock where the experiment is made; and as the supply of water
drawn from the pipes by the inhabitants may be different on different
days of the week and even in different hours of the day, it is quite
evident that by this method no certain rule can be formed for the
purpose required, the pressure being affected by the quantity of water
drawn at the time.

The method of proving by an engine is considerably better than this;
but when a proving-pump can be obtained it is infinitely better than
either. One disadvantage of an engine is, that it requires a
considerable number of men; but even the proof, that of throwing the
water to a given height on the gable of a house or other height, is
not always a test of the sufficiency of the hose. As the temperature
is low or high, the wind fresh or light, the degree of pressure on the
hose in throwing the water to the required height will be greater or
less. Indeed, in high winds it is a matter of extreme difficulty to
throw the water to any considerable height.

With an engine of 7-inch barrels and 7-inch stroke, fitted with eighty
feet of 2-3/8-inch hose, I have found from several experiments that
when the water is thrown seventy-five feet high, the pressure on the
hose is equal to one hundred feet. The same engine, with 160 feet of
hose, and the branch-pipe raised fifty feet above the level of the
engine, when the water was thrown fifty-six feet from the branch,
occasioned a pressure equal to 130 feet on the hose. From these
experiments, I am convinced that the pressure will not be equal to 200
feet, except in very extreme cases, or when some obstacle gets into
the jet pipe.

I tried the extreme strength of a piece of riveted hose 4 feet long
and 2-3/8 inches diameter, and found that it did not burst till the
pressure increased to 500 feet; and when it gave way the leather was
fairly torn along the rivet-holes.

Every possible care should be taken to keep the hose soft and pliable,
and to prevent its being affected by mildew. After being used, in
order to dry them equally they should be hung up by the centre, with
the two ends hanging down, until half dry. They should then be taken
down and rubbed over with a composition of bees'-wax, tallow, and
neats-foot oil,[N] and again hung up to allow the grease to sink into
the leather. When the hose appear to be dry they should be a second
time rubbed with the composition, and then coiled up for use. In order
that the hose undergoing the operation of greasing may not be
disturbed or used till in a fit state, it is better to have a double
set, and in this way, while one set is in grease the other is in the
engine ready and fit for service. More time can also be taken for any
repairs which may be necessary, and they will in consequence be more
carefully done, and at fires where a great length of hose is required
the spare set will always be available. When the weather is damp, and
the hose cannot be dried so as to be fit for greasing in two or three
days, a stove should be put into the room in order to facilitate the
process. The greatest care, however, must be taken in the use of
artificial heat. The whole apartment should be kept of one equal
temperature, which ought never to be higher than is requisite to dry
the hose for greasing in about forty hours.

_Coupling-joints._[O]--So much of the efficiency and duration of the
hose depend on the proper form given to the brass coupling-joints,
that I deem it useful to give a detailed description, both of those
generally made use of and of those adopted by the Edinburgh
fire-establishment, and also to point out their various defects and

[Illustration: FIG. 3. Old Coupling]

Fig. 3 is the construction commonly made by engine-makers. Its defects
are as follows:--From the form of the furrows and ridges where the
leather is tied it does not hold on well against a force tending to
pull the hose off end-ways; screw-nails are therefore often employed,
as at A, to secure the hose on the brass. The points of these nails
always protrude more or less into the inside of the joint, and
materially impede the current of water. The mouths of the joints are
also turned outwards, and form a shoulder, as at B. The intention of
this is probably to assist in securing the leather in its place, and
to prevent the lapping from slipping. The effects of it are as
follows:--First, from the leather being strained over this projection,
it becomes liable to be cut by every accidental injury, and very soon
cracks and gives way, when a portion must be cut off and a fresh
fixing made; second, the leather being stretched over the projection,
does not fit the other part of the joint, and must be loose or filled
up with pieces of leather, or, as is sometimes done, with brown paper;
third, the irregularity of the calibre of the conduit which this
shoulder occasions diminishes the performance of the engine.

[Illustration: FIG. 4. New Coupling]

Fig. 4 is the coupling-joint adopted in Edinburgh. The furrows at the
tying place are shallow, but their edges present a powerful obstacle
to the slipping of the leather. No screw-nails are employed, nor is
there any shoulder, as at B; there is therefore no impediment to or
variation in the velocity of the current, as the calibres of the
coupling joints and of the hose are so nearly uniform. It will be seen
also that as the lapping projects above the leather this latter can
never be injured by falls or rubbing on the ground.

Another great advantage attending the joints used here is the manner
in which their screws are finished. On examining the figure minutely,
it will be observed that the male-screw ends in a cylinder of the
diameter of the _bottom_ of its thread, consequently of the diameter
of the top of the thread of the female-screw. The effect of this is,
that, when the screws are brought together, the cylindric portion
serves as a guide to the threads, and the most inexperienced person
cannot fail to make them catch fair at the first trial. The advantage
of this in the circumstances attending fires is obvious.

These joints, although requiring three or four turns to close them up,
yet as it is only the ring D which requires to be turned, it can
easily be done with the hand alone without the use of wrenches.
Although, when the whole length of hose has been jointed, it may be as
well to send a man with a pair of wrenches to set the joints firm;
this, however, is by no means absolutely necessary; if the joints are
kept in proper order a man can secure them sufficiently with the hand.

There is also a facility in taking turns out of the hose, which no
other but a swivel joint affords. By slackening a single turn any
twist may be taken out, without undoing the joint or stopping the
engine, while, from the number of turns required to close the joints,
there is no chance of the screw being by any accident undone. In order
to prevent the threads from being easily damaged, they should be of a
pretty large size, not more than five or six to the inch. For the same
reason also the thread should be a little rounded.

As it sometimes happens that the screws are damaged by falling on the
street, or by heavy bodies striking them, whenever the hose have been
used the joints should be tried by a steel gauge-screw, to be kept for
that purpose. This ought to be particularly attended to, as, on
arriving at a fire, it is rather an awkward time to discover that a
joint has been damaged, while the delay thus occasioned may be
attended with very serious consequences.

_Four Bundles of Sheepskin and Lay-cord._--These are simply four or
five stripes of sheepskin, each about three or four inches broad. When
a leak occurs in a length of hose which cannot be easily replaced at
the time, one or more pieces of sheepskin are wrapt tightly over the
leak and tied firmly with a piece of cord. This is but an indifferent
method of mending, but I do not know of any other which can be so
readily applied with the same effect. If another length of hose can be
substituted for the leaky one it is better to do so; but that is not
always at hand, nor does it always happen that time can be spared for
the purpose.

_Four Lengths of Suction-pipe._--These are generally made of leather,
riveted tightly over a spiral worm of hoop-iron, about three-quarters
of an inch broad, a piece of tarred canvas being placed between the
worm and the leather. They are usually made from six to eight feet
long, with a copper strainer screwed on the farther end, to prevent as
much as possible any mud or dirt from getting into the engine with the
water. It is of advantage to carry four lengths of suction-pipe, as
they can be joined to reach the water; if one is damaged the others
will still be serviceable.

The suction-pipes are more troublesome to rivet than the common hose,
and are done in the following manner:--After the joints are fixed on
the spiral worm, and it is covered with the tarred canvas, an iron
mandrel longer than the worm is put through it, the edge being rounded
to the circle of the inside of the worm. The projecting ends of the
mandrel are supported to allow the worm to lie quite clear. One end of
the mandrel has a check, that the brass joint may not prevent the worm
from lying flat on the mandrel. The leather is then put over the worm,
and the rivets being put into one side, a small thin mandrel is laid
over the canvas and the rivets struck down upon it. If the small
mandrel be not used the heads of the rivets are apt to lie unequally
on the worm.

_Three Wrenches for Coupling-joints._--These are for tightening the
coupling-joints, when that cannot be sufficiently done by hand. When
the hose are all put together a man is sent along the whole line with
a pair of wrenches to tighten such of the coupling-joints as require
it. The wrenches are generally made with a hole to fit the knob on the
coupling-joint, and, when used, are placed, one on the nob of the male
and another on the nob of the female-screw, so as to pull them in
opposite directions.

_Two Branch Pipes._--These are taper copper tubes, having a
female-screw at one end to fit the coupling-joints of the hose, and a
male-screw at the other to receive the jet pipes, one is 4 feet long
to use from the outside of a house on fire, the other 12 inches for
inside work.

_Three Jet-pipes_ or nozzles of various sizes made to screw on the end
of the branch pipe.

A great many different shapes of jet have been tried, and that shown
in Fig. 5, I found to answer best when tried with other forms. The old
jet was a continuation in a straight line of the taper of the branch,
from the size of the hose-screw, to the end of the jet-pipe; this had
many inconveniences; the size of the jet could not be increased
without making the jet-pipe nearly parallel. As the branches were
sometimes 7 feet or 8 feet long, in some instances the orifice at the
end of the jet-pipe was larger than that at the end of the branch. The
present form of the jet completely obviates this difficulty, as the
end of the branch is always 1-1/2 inches diameter.

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

The curve of the nozzle of the present jet is determined by its own
size; five times one-half of the difference between the jet to be made
and the end of the branch, is set up on each side of the diameter of
the upper end of the branch, a straight line is then drawn across, and
an arc of a circle described on this line, from the extremity of each
end of the diameter of the jet, until it meets the top of the branch;
the jet is then continued parallel, the length of its own diameter;
the metal is continued one-eighth of an inch above this, to allow of a
hollow being turned out to protect the edge: The rule for determining
the size of the jet for inside work is, to "make the diameter of the
jet one-eighth of an inch for every inch in the diameter of the
cylinder, for each 8 inches of stroke." The branch used in this case
is the same size as shown in Fig. 5. When it is necessary to throw the
water to a greater height, or distance, a jet one-seventh less in area
is used, with a branch from 4 feet to 5 feet long.

_Two Lengths of Scaling Ladders._--These are 6-1/2 feet long, and are
fitted with sockets so that any number up to 7 or 8 may be joined
together to form one ladder varying in length according to
circumstances from 6-1/2 to upwards of 40 feet.

_One Fire-hook._--This is similar to a common boat-hook, of such
length as may be most convenient to strap on the handles of the
engine. It is used for pulling down ceilings, and taking out
deafening-boards when the fire happens to be between the ceiling and
the floor above. It is also used when a strong door is to be broken
open. It is placed with the point upon the door, one or two men
bearing upon it, while another striking the door, the whole force of
the blows is made to fall upon the lock or other fastening, which
generally yields without much difficulty.

_Sixty Feet of Patent Line and Twenty Feet of Trace Line._--These are
generally used for hoisting the hose into the windows of the house, in
which there is a fire, the stairs being sometimes so crowded with
people and furniture, that it is difficult to force a passage, and
when the pipe is laid in the stair, it is liable to be damaged by
people treading on it.

_One Mattock and Shovel._--These are useful in damming any running
water or gutter, uncovering drains, &c., from which the engine may be
supplied with water. The mattock should be short and strong, and the
shovel of the sort called diamond-pointed.

_One Hatchet._--The most serviceable hatchet for a fire-engine, is
similar to that used as a felling axe by wood-cutters. The back part
is made large that it may be conveniently used as a hammer.

_One Saw._--This should be a stout cross-cut saw, very widely set. It
is useful in cutting off the communication between one house and
another, which, when water is scarce, is sometimes necessary.

_One Iron Crow-bar._--This should be about two feet long. It is used
in opening doors, breaking through walls, &c.

_One Portable Cistern._[P]--This is made of canvas on a folding iron
frame, and is used in London placed over the street-fire plugs, a hole
is left in the bottom through which the water enters and fills the
cistern, the escape between the canvas and the plug box being
trifling. Two and sometimes three engines are worked by suction-pipe
from one plug in this manner. The portable cistern is also used when
the engine is supplied by suction, from water conveyed in carts or
buckets, and is greatly preferable to any plan of emptying the water
directly into the engine. By this latter method there is always a
considerable waste of water, arising both from the height of the
engine, and the working of the handles; and, in addition to these
objections only one person can pour in water at a time. When the water
is poured into the engine from carts, it must stop working till the
cart is emptied. All these objections, are in a great measure removed
by placing the portable cistern clear of the engine; when used in this
manner there must of course be no hole in the bottom.

_One Flat Suction Strainer_, made to screw on to the suction pipe, to
prevent anything being drawn in that would not pass through the
jet-pipe, and made flat, with no holes in the upper surface, for use
in the portable cistern.

_One Standcock_, with stem to insert direct in the fire-plug, and used
principally with hose to throw a jet for cooling ruins.

_One Canvas Sheet._--This, when stretched out and held securely by
several men, may be jumped into from the window of a house on fire
with comparative safety.

_One Hand-pump_, as described at page 130, and used with the canvas


[Footnote G: The engines and their crews are distinguished by these

[Footnote H: The hose are made up in flat coils, with the male
coupling-screw in the centre, and the female on the outside. When a
length is to be laid out in any direction, it is set on its edge, and
then run out in the required direction,--in this way no turns or
twists can ever occur. When the hose is to be taken up, it is
uncoupled, and then wound up, beginning at the end farthest from the
engine or from the fire-cock (as the case may be): by this method all
the water is pressed out.]

[Footnote I: In practising this exercise the men are in the habit of
descending by the chains from the parapet of the North Bridge,
Edinburgh, to the ground below: a height of 75 feet.]

[Footnote J: Mr. Braidwood used canvas jumping sheets on this
principle with hand holes for a dozen men, in the ordinary service of
the London Fire Brigade.]

[Footnote K: Now Shand, Mason, and Co.]

[Footnote L: This description applies to the most recently constructed
fire-engines belonging to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.]

[Footnote M: "Stuffing," a technical term need by leather-dressers or

[Footnote N: The proportions are, 1 gallon neats-foot oil, 2 lbs.
tallow, 1/4 lb. bees-wax, melted together, and laid while warm on the

[Footnote O: This description of the Edinburgh coupling-joints was
written in 1830, and is inserted here to show how the present form of
the well-known London Brigade hose-coupling was arrived at. The
internal diameter was originally 2-3/8 inches, but Mr. Braidwood, when
in London, found that he could increase it to 2-1/2 inches.]

[Footnote P: See engraving of portable cistern, page 156.]


With regard to the Fire Annihilator, I have seen several experiments
with this machine, and heard of more which were not successful; and if
an invention fails when experiments are tried, it is open to the
impression that it might fail when brought into active operation.
There have also been many cases where these machines have met with
accidents, one at Drury Lane Theatre amongst the number.

Water, properly applied, will do whatever the Annihilator can
accomplish, and also many things which the latter cannot do. As it is,
there are some forty or fifty different articles to carry with each
fire-engine, and to add to them such unwieldy things as Fire
Annihilators, would be to encumber the men more than they are at
present, with a very doubtful prospect of advantage.


The supply of water is the most vital part of any exertions towards
extinguishing fire. Where the pressure is sufficient, and the mains
large enough, by far the most efficient and economical mode of using
the water is to attach the hose directly to the mains.

In London, however, this can rarely be done, for several reasons. The
greatest number of plugs are on the service pipes, that is, the pipes
for supplying water for domestic and other purposes, which are only
open a short time every day. If the cisterns are nearly empty, the
pressure cannot be obtained till they are filled. Then, again, the
plugs being some distance apart, it is difficult to obtain a
sufficient number of jets. But when the plugs are full open 1-3/4
diameter, a sufficient quantity of water is obtained from each to
supply three engines, each of which will give a jet equal to the plug
if confined to one jet. The pressure also in the mains in London
seldom exceeds 120 feet at the utmost. For these reasons the pressure
from the mains is seldom used till the fire is checked, when the ruins
are cooled by the "dummies," as the jets from the mains are named by
the firemen.

If water can be obtained at an elevation, pipes with plugs or
firecocks on them, are preferable to any other mode at present in use
for the supply of fire-engines. The size of the pipes will depend on
the distance and elevation of the head, and also on the size of the
buildings to be protected. It may be assumed as a general rule, that
the intensity of a fire depends, in a great measure, on the cubic
content of the building; distinction being made as to the nature and
contents of such building. If no natural elevation of water can be
made available, and the premises are of much value, it may be found
advisable to erect elevated tanks; where this is done, the quantity of
water to be kept ready, and the rate at which it is delivered, must
depend on the means possessed of making use of the water.

The average size of fire-engines may be taken at two cylinders of 7
inches diameter, with a length of stroke of 8 inches, making forty
strokes each per minute. This sized engine will throw 141 tons of
water in six hours, and allowing one-fourth for waste, 176 tons would
be a fair provision in the tanks for six hours' work; this quantity
multiplied by the number of engines within reach, will give an idea of
what is likely to be required at a large fire. If, however, there are
steam-engines to keep up the supply through the mains, the quantity of
water kept in readiness may be reduced to two hours' consumption, as
it is likely that the steam-engines would be at work before that
quantity was exhausted. This is what may be supposed to be required,
in cases of serious fires in dockyards, in large stacks of warehouses,
or in large manufactories.

[Illustration: FIG 6. Opening for Suction-pipe.]

Where water can be had at nearly the level of the premises, such as
from rivers, canals, &c., if it is not thought prudent to erect
elevated tanks, the water may be conducted under the surface by large
cast-iron pipes, with openings at such distances as may seem advisable
for introducing the suction-pipes (Fig. 6). This plan should not be
adopted where the level of the water is more than 12 feet below the
surface of the ground, as although a fire-engine will, if perfectly
tight, draw from a much greater depth than 14 feet (2 feet being
allowed for the height of the engine), still a very trifling leakage
will render it useless for the time, at such a depth.

The worst mode of supplying engines with water is by covered sunk
tanks; they are generally too small, and unless very numerous, confine
the engines to one or two particular spots, obliging the firemen to
increase the length of the hose which materially diminishes the effect
of the fire-engine. If the tank is supplied by mains from a reservoir,
it would be much better to save the expense of the tank, and to place
plugs or firecocks on the water-pipe. Another evil in sunk tanks is,
that the firemen can seldom guess what quantity of water they may
depend upon, and they may thus be induced to attempt to stop a fire,
at a point they would not have thought of if they had known correctly
the quantity of water in store.

Where sunk tanks are already constructed, they may be rendered more
available by a partial use of the method shown in Fig. 6.

_Memoranda of Experiments tried on the mains and service pipes of the
Southwark Water Company, between 4 and 9_ A.M. _of the 31st January,
1844. The wind blowing fresh from N.N.W._

The pressure at the water-works at Battersea was kept at 120 feet
during the experiments, and every service pipe or other outlet was
kept shut.

_1st Experiment._--Six standcocks, with one length of 2-1/2 inches
riveted leather hose 40 feet long, and one copper branch 4 feet to 5
feet long, with a jet 7/8 inch in diameter on each, were placed in six
plugs on a main 7 inches diameter, in Union-street, between
High-Street, Borough, and Gravel-lane, Southwark, at distances of
about 120 yards apart. The water was brought from the head at
Battersea, by 4250 yards of iron pipes 20 inches diameter, 550 yards
of 15 inches diameter, and 500 yards of 9 inches diameter.

1st. One standcock was opened, which gave a jet of 50 feet in height,
and delivered 100 gallons per minute.

With four lengths of hose the jet was 40 feet high, and the delivery
92 gallons per minute. When the branch and jet were taken off with one
length of hose the delivery was 260 gallons per minute.

2nd. The second standcock was then opened, and the jet from the first
was 45 feet high.

3rd. The third standcock was opened, and the jet from the first 40
feet high.

4th. The fourth standcock being opened, the first gave a jet of 35
feet high.

5th. The fifth being opened, the first gave a jet of 30 feet high.

6th. All the six being opened, the first gave a jet of 27 feet in

_2nd Experiment._--Six standcocks were then put into plugs, on a main
9 inches diameter in Tooley-Street, the extreme distance being 450
yards, with hose and jets as in the first experiment. The water was
brought from the head at Battersea by 4250 yards of iron pipes of 20
inches diameter, 1000 yards of 15 inches diameter, 1400 yards of 9
inches diameter. The weather was nearly the same, but the place of
experiment was more protected from the wind than in Union-street.

1st. With one standcock open, a jet 60 feet in height was produced,
and 107 gallons per minute were delivered.

2nd. The second standcock was then opened, and the difference in the
first jet was barely perceptible.

3rd. Other two standcocks being opened, the first jet was reduced to
45 feet in height, and the delivery to 92 gallons per minute.

4th. All the six standcocks being opened, the first jet was further
reduced to 40 feet high, and the delivery to 76 gallons per minute.

_3rd Experiment._--Two standcocks, with hose, &c., as in the first
experiment, were then put into a service-pipe, 4 inches diameter and
200 yards long, in Tooley-street, the service-pipe was connected with
200 yards of main 5 inches diameter, branching from the main of 9
inches diameter. The weather was still the same as at first, but the
wind did not appear to affect the jets, owing to the buildings all
round being so much higher than the jet.

1st. The standcock nearest the larger main was opened, and a jet of 40
feet high was produced, delivering 82 gallons per minute.

2nd. Both standcocks being opened, the first gave a jet of 31 feet,
and delivered 68 gallons per minute.

3rd. The standcock farthest from the large main only being opened,
gave a jet of 34 feet, and delivered 74 gallons per minute.

4th. Both standcocks being opened, the farthest one gave a jet of 23
feet, and delivered 58 gallons per minute.

When both these plugs were allowed to flow freely without hose, the
water from that nearest the large main, rose about 18 inches, and the
farther one about 1 inch above the plug-box.

[Illustration: FIG. 7. Common Fire-plug.]

These and other experiments prove the necessity of placing the plugs
on the mains, and not on the service pipes, where there are mains in
the street.

The different modes of obtaining water from the mains or pipes are
shown in the accompanying drawings.

(Fig. 7) is a section of a common plug when not in use.

[Illustration: FIG. 8. Fire-plug with canvas cistern.]

(Fig. 8) is a section of the common plug, with a canvas dam or cistern
over it, as used in London. The cistern is made of No. 1 canvas, 15
inches deep, extended at top and bottom by 5/8-inch round iron frames,
a double stay is hinged on the top frame at each end. When the cistern
is used the top frame is lifted up, and the stays put into the
notches, in two pieces of hoop iron, fixed to the bottom frame. There
is a circular opening 9 inches diameter in the canvas bottom, two
circular rings of wash-leather, about 2 inches broad, are attached to
the edges of the opening in the canvas, so as to contract it to 4
inches or 5 inches diameter; the plug being opened, the cistern is
placed over it; the wash-leather is pressed down to the surface of the
road by the water, and a tolerably water-tight cistern, with about 12
inches or 14 inches of water in it, is immediately obtained.

[Illustration: FIG. 9. Plug, with Standcock.]

(Fig. 9) is a plug with a standcock in it, to which hose may be

(Fig. 10) is a common single firecock with a round water-way 2-1/2
inches diameter.

[Illustration: FIG. 10. Single Firecock.]

(Fig. 11) is a double firecock, as laid down in Her Majesty's

[Illustration: FIG. 11. Double Firecock, used at the Royal Dockyards.]

It will be observed, that the short piece of pipe between the main and
this firecock is not curved to the current of the water, but merely
opened a little; this is done with a view of increasing the supply by
steam power, and as the steam engines are, in most cases, situated in
a different direction from the tanks or reservoirs, therefore the
curve that would have assisted the current in one direction would have
retarded it in the other. It has been objected to these firecocks,
that the opening does not run through the centre of the key, therefore
only one side of the key covers the opening in the barrel, while in
the common firecock both sides are covered.

[Illustration: FIG. 12. Double Firecock, used at the British Museum.]

(Fig. 12) is a double firecock, as laid down at the British Museum.

This has a very good delivery, and is certain to be always tight, if
well made, as the pressure of the water forces the key into the
barrel; this also renders the cock somewhat difficult to be opened and
shut, if the pressure be great; but as a lever of any length may be
used, and the key, from its perpendicular position, may be loosened by
a blow, this objection is in a great measure obviated.

In Figs. 10 and 11 the openings in the street are large enough to
admit of the levers for opening the cock to be fixed, that no mistake
may occur from the lever being mislaid; but with those at the British
Museum, it was not thought necessary to have fixed levers, as a
crow-bar, or anything that could be introduced into the eye of the
spanner, would open them.

The plug and firecock have both certain advantages and disadvantages,
which are now described.

The plug, with a canvas cistern, is the easiest mode of obtaining
water; the plug-box being only the size of a paving-stone, is no
annoyance in the street, and the water has only one angle to turn
before it is delivered.

On the other hand, where the supply of water is limited, the plugs
give but little command of it; there is, however, comparatively very
small loss at a large fire in London from this cause, as it is very
seldom that all the fire-engines can be supplied direct from the
plugs, and those that arrive late must pick up the waste water as they
best can, by using another description of canvas dam, or opening the
street; but in enclosed premises, especially where the water is kept
for the purpose of extinguishing fires, firecocks are much to be
preferred. It is very difficult to insert the standcock into a plug if
there is a considerable force of water, and if the paving has moved,
it cannot be done without raising the plug-box; but this is, however,
the easiest mode of using firecocks, and where there is a considerable
pressure of water, if the watchmen or the police are supplied with a
hose-reel and branch-pipe, they can, in enclosed premises, direct a
jet on the fire while the engines are being prepared, and if they
cannot reach the fire, they will have water ready for the engine when
it arrives.

Inclosed premises are particularly mentioned, because the principal
duty of the watchmen, in these cases, is to guard against fire, and
their other duties being comparatively few, the men are not often
changed, and they can be instructed thoroughly in the matter. With the
general police of the metropolis it is quite different, their duties
are so numerous and varied, that to add that of firemen to them would
only be to confuse them.

Firecocks, if kept at 9 inches to 12 inches below the surface, are
easily protected from frost, by stuffing the opening with straw.

The advantage which the double firecocks have over the single ones, is
merely the increased water-way, as a firecock 3-1/2 inches diameter
could not be so easily opened or shut, as two cocks of 2-1/2 inches

One of the greatest objections to firecocks, is the very large
openings required in the streets, the first cost and the repair of
which are both considerable, besides their liability to accident. To
take them to the footpath, increases the expenses and diminishes the
supply of water, as it is generally done with a small pipe, and the
number of angles is increased. In some instances, where firecocks have
been put down on one side of the street, no less than four right
angles have been made in the course of the water; and if the fire
happens to be on the opposite side of the street from the firecock,
the thoroughfare must be stopped. The expense also is no slight
consideration, for if laid along with the water-pipes, each firecock,
if properly laid, and the pit built round with cement, will cost eight
or ten times as much as a plug.

London is, upon the whole (except in the warehouse districts), fairly
supplied with water for the average description of fires, that is,
where not more than five or six engines are required. When, however,
it is necessary to work ten or twelve engines, there is very often a
deficiency. In many of the warehouse districts the supply is very
limited indeed, although it is there that the largest fires take

The water companies are generally willing to give any quantity of
water, but they object to lay down large mains without any prospect of
remuneration. The warehouse keepers decline to be at the expense of
laying the pipes, and there the matter seems to rest. In most other
places of importance, the water is under the management of the civic
authorities, and they, of course, endeavour to obtain a good supply of
water at fires in warehouse as well as in other districts.

In supplying fire-engines with water from firecocks, one or more
lengths of hose are screwed on the firecock; the extreme end being put
into the engine, the firecock is then opened and the water rushes in.
When the water-pipes are large and the pressure considerable, two or
even three engines may be supplied from the same firecock.

If the firecocks are all at too great a distance from the place on
fire, to be reached by the supply of hose brought with the engine, the
next resource is, to open the nearest firecock above the level of the
place where the water is required. By covering the eyes of drains, and
stopping up any cross-water channels, the water may in this manner be
conveyed along the street, from a very considerable distance. From the
nature of the ground it does not always happen that the water will run
directly from the nearest firecock, to the spot where it is required;
acclivities, buildings, and many other causes, may prevent this; but
in some of these cases a few lengths of the hose, attached to the
firecock, may convey the water to a channel which will conduct it to
the required point. Upon the arrival of the water, it ought to be
dammed up, and the engine will lift it by suction out of the pool so

If, however, from the nature of the ground, from the want of hose, or
from other causes, it is found impracticable to convey the water by
either of the above methods, the next best is, to conduct the water in
hose as far as can be accomplished, and carry it the remainder of the
distance in carts, buckets, or whatever else may be most convenient.

When carried in buckets it is of advantage to form a line of men from
the water to the engine, each man covering five or six feet of ground.
The buckets are then handed from one man to another, till they reach
the two or three men who are stationed round the suction-tub or
fire-engine to receive them. The buckets when emptied are returned by
a different line of men (women or boys) stationed in the same manner
as the former. If a sufficient number of hands cannot be had to return
the buckets in this manner, any convenient number may be employed to
carry them to the firecock, that they may be again filled. When a fire
occurs where the water-pipes are unprovided with firecocks or plugs,
the ground should be immediately opened, and the water-pipe cut. If it
be of cast-iron, a large hammer may effect the purpose: on the
water-pipe being broken, the suction-pipe of the engine is placed in
the opening so made. If the pipe be of lead, the opening in the street
should be made of sufficient length to admit of one end of it, when
cut, being turned into the engine. If the supply of water by this
means be so great as to occasion waste, it may be regulated by the
nearest stopcock on the water-pipe, by driving a wooden plug into the
end of a cast-iron pipe, or compressing the end of a leaden one.

The next plan I shall notice of supplying fire-engines is from drains,
gutters, &c. In particular situations and wet weather considerable
supplies of water from these and similar sources may be obtained. In
the gutters all that is required is to dam them up; and, if there be
no materials at hand for this purpose, the causeway must be dug up,
till there is a sufficient depth of water for the suction-pipe of the

When the water is to be drawn from drains or common sewers, great care
should be taken not to damage them farther than is absolutely

If enough of cover be taken off to allow one man to enter easily, it
will be quite sufficient for all necessary purposes. When the man
inside the drain or common sewer has collected a proper supply of
water by damming up the channel, the suction-pipe should be handed
down to him, and the engine set to work.

Although it be true that foul water quenches fire, I will here
observe, that the water from a common sewer should never be used,
except when it is impossible to procure it from a purer source. For
the purpose of procuring water to extinguish a fire, I had at one time
occasion to open a common sewer, in which, with the usual impurities,
the waste from a gas manufactory was intermixed, and the stench in the
premises where the fire had been extinguished by this water, was for
some time after very disagreeable.

If the water be obtained from a pond or river at a little distance,
one engine may be stationed close to it, and that engine made to pump
the water into another at work. If the water be conveyed in carts, an
engine may be kept at the pond or river for the purpose of filling
them. Of course this can only be done where there is a proper supply
of engines.

In working from an open water, such as a gutter, drain, river, or
pond, it is proper, in order to prevent sand or gravel being drawn
into the engine, to sink an iron or wooden bucket, into which the
suction-pipe of the engine should be placed. If nothing better can be
had, a good wicker basket will be found useful.

It is of great advantage to have a number of carts, with butts upon
them full of water, as it ensures a small supply to the engines the
moment they arrive at the fire. This plan, however, entails a very
considerable expense, as carters must be paid for taking them out on
every alarm, besides giving prizes to the owners of the first and
second horses, to ensure their coming in time.


The following, on Steam Fire-engines and the Metropolitan Fire
Brigade, is added as a supplement to Mr. Braidwood's account of the
London Fire Brigade, and brings the information upon these subjects up
to the present date (May, 1866):--

The steam fire-engine was first constructed in London, in 1830, before
the formation of the London Fire Brigade, by Braithwaite, who made
several engines, and exhibited them at various public trials, also at
several fires, but without being able to bring them into general use.

The matter remained in abeyance till 1852, when the London Fire
Brigade caused their large hand-worked floating fire-engine to be
altered so as to be worked by steam. This engine having been
originally made by Tilley, of London, the alterations were entrusted
to Shand and Mason, his successors. In the same year the first
American steam fire-engine was constructed in New York.

In 1855 the London Fire Brigade, stimulated by their first experiment,
caused an entirely new self-propelling, floating steam fire-engine to
be constructed. The experience gained by their first attempt at steam
fire-engine making, enabled Shand and Mason to compete successfully in
this matter, as their design was adopted after receiving the approval
of the late Mr. Walker, Engineer, of Great George Street, London.

The re-introduction of land steam fire-engines into London was
accomplished by Shand and Mason, who, in 1858, constructed their
first; this engine, after several public trials, was in the same year
sent to St. Petersburgh.

In 1859 the same firm constructed two land steam fire-engines, which
they offered to the London Fire Brigade for hire or purchase, and in
the following year (1860) the Fire Brigade took one on hire for one
year. This experiment proved so successful, that in 1861 the committee
purchased, from Shand and Mason, the fourth steam engine of their
construction. This, with one of the two made in 1859, were the only
land steam engines that were at work at the Great Tooley Street Fire
of 1861.

In the beginning of 1862, Mr. Lee, of the firm of Lee and Larned, of
New York, brought over a land steam fire-engine to be placed in the
International Exhibition. This was worked in public at Hodges'
Distillery on the 24th of March previous to the opening of the

Shand and Mason supplied the London Fire Brigade in April, 1862, with
the eighth land steam fire-engine of their construction. Messrs.
Merryweather and Sons, of London, placed their first land steam
fire-engine in the International Exhibition of 1862, but this, like
the ninth by Shand and Mason, was not in time for the opening, and
consequently could not compete for a prize medal, which was awarded to
Lee and Larned, of New York.

A public trial, however, took place before the jury of the Exhibition,
of which the following is an account extracted verbatim from the
jurors' published reports:--



J. F. BATEMAN, F.R.S., _London_; Civil Engineer.

CAPT. BENT, _London_; Superintendent of Fire Arrangements in the

W. M. BROWN, _London_; Superintendent of Westminster Fire Brigade.


J. HAWKSHAW, _London_; Civil Engineer.

C. JENNY, _Austria_; Councillor of Mines in the Imperial Royal Academy
of Mines at Schemnitz.

P. LUUYT, _France_; Engineer to the Imperial Commissioners of Mines.

J. E. McCONNELL, _Wolverton_; late Locomotive Superintendent of the
London and North Western Railway.

O. PIHL, _Norway_; Civil Engineer.

W. M. RANKINE, _Glasgow_; Professor of Mechanics in the University of

CAPT. SHAW, _London_; Superintendent of the London Fire Brigade.


F. B. TAYLOR, _United States_; Mechanical Engineer.

H. THOMAS, _Zollverein_; Manufacturer.

H. TRESCA, _France_; Professor of Mechanics, President of the French
Institute of Civil Engineers.


_After detailing the Trials of Hand-worked Fire-Engines, the Report
states that_,--

The Committee next proceeded to take the necessary steps for trying
the steam fire-engines on the 1st of July, and, as before, invited the
engine builders to a preliminary meeting, that they might receive full
information as to the rules and regulations to be observed.

In compliance with this invitation, the following engine-makers
attended a meeting on the 28th of June, viz:--

     Mr. Lee, of the firm of Lee and Larned, Novelty Iron-works,
     New York.

     Messrs. Merryweather and Son.

     Messrs. Shand and Mason.

Mr. Lee declined to produce his steam fire-engine for trial, alleging
various reasons for so doing, and though strongly urged, persisted in
his resolution, and declined the contest.

Messrs. Merryweather and Son expressed themselves ready to produce
their steam fire-engine on the appointed day.

Messrs. Shand and Mason informed the Committee that the engine which
they had intended to work would not be ready owing to an accident, but
requested permission to produce for trial two steam-engines made by
them for the London Fire-Engine Establishment, although they were not
in the Exhibition. All the arrangements having been made for trying
several engines together, the Committee granted this request, as
otherwise only one engine would have been present, and a complete
table of results could therefore not have been obtained.

The Committee assembled in the appointed place at eight o'clock on the
morning of the 1st of July, and found three engines present, viz., one
of Messrs. Merryweather and Son and two of Messrs. Shand and Mason.

After the Committee had examined the boilers and machinery generally,
the engine-makers filled their respective boilers with cold water from
the river, and fires having been laid, the three were lighted at the
same moment, and the makers were ordered to commence working into a
tank at sixty feet distance as soon as they had attained a steam
pressure of 100 lbs. to the square inch.

Messrs. Merryweather's engine attained the pressure named in 12
minutes 10 seconds, Messrs. Shand and Mason's large engine in 18
minutes 30 seconds, the small engine in about 30 minutes, some
mismanagement having occurred which compelled them to draw the fire in
the latter and light it a second time. Messrs. Merryweather's engine
commenced working as arranged when the steam-gauge indicated a
pressure of 100 lbs., and was 2 minutes and 50 seconds at work before
water passed through the nose-pipe. Notwithstanding this very serious
defect, this engine had poured 500 gallons of water into a tank 60
feet distant in 17 minutes and 15 seconds from the time at which the
fire was lighted. After the difficulty of drawing the water had been
surmounted, this engine worked well, and threw an admirable jet,
losing 15 lbs. steam-pressure during the first trial. After three
trials this engine became disabled; it was, however, repaired on the
ground in about an hour and a half, and resumed work at the ninth
trial, continuing to work well until the thirteenth, when it became
again disabled, and was withdrawn by the maker, to the great regret of
the Committee, who were thus left to continue the experiments with
only two engines, both made by one firm.

Messrs. Shand and Mason's large engine was 18 minutes 30 seconds
getting up steam to 100 lbs., and when started drew water instantly,
losing during the first trial 5 lbs. of steam-pressure.

This engine was severely tested, and worked without accident
throughout the day, the seventeenth trial lasting no less than 63
minutes, during which the steam and water were both kept to a pressure
of 90 lbs. on the square inch throughout, working through a 1-3/8 inch

At the eighteenth and last trial this engine threw a good vertical

Messrs. Shand and Mason's small engine did not raise the steam to 100
lbs. in less than 30 minutes, owing, of course, partly to the
mismanagement already mentioned, and partly to the nature of the
boiler and fire-box, which, according to the makers' account, are not
adapted for raising steam in the shortest possible time. After the
engine got to work the steam-pressure was well sustained, and the
engine continued working the entire day without accident, concluding
in the evening by throwing a good vertical jet.

During the time occupied by the trials the direction of the wind was
W.N.W. to W. by N., pressure 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 lbs. on the square foot.
The barometer stood at 29.97 inches.


On the whole the Committee find as follows:--

Messrs. Merryweather and Son have produced, at a price of 700_l._, a
steam fire-engine, weighing, according to the makers' account, 65
cwt., with jets and lamps, but without water, coal, suction-pipes,
hose, or other gear, and capable, if no accidents occur, of throwing
in an available stream the following average quantities of water per

     Distance.     Angle.     Quantity.

     61 feet.       10°       230 gallons.
     85   "         21°       124    "

Messrs. Shand and Mason have produced an engine, at a cost of 650_l._,
weighing, according to their statement, 55 cwt., with jets and lamps,
but without water, coals, suction-pipes, hose, or other gear, and
capable of throwing in an available stream the following average
quantities of water per minute:--

     Distance.     Angle.     Quantity.

      61 feet.      10°       250 gallons.
      63   "        18°       165    "
      82   "        14°       172    "
      85   "        21°       137    "
     102   "        11°        94    "
     104   "        17°        19    "

Messrs. Shand and Mason have also produced, at a price of 370_l._, an
engine which, under the same conditions, weighs 35 cwt., and is
capable of throwing in an available stream the following average
quantities per minute:--

     Distance.     Angle.     Quantity.

     61 feet.       10°       142 gallons.
     63   "         18°       133    "
     82   "         14°        56    "
     85   "         21°        27    "

The best performance during the five trials from which this last
average was taken being forty-six gallons, and the lowest five gallons
per minute.

At greater distances, in consequence of the wind, this engine could
not deliver a stream, but continued working without accident
throughout the day, and concluded in the evening by throwing a good
vertical jet.

                    SUTHERLAND, CHAIRMAN.
                    E. M. SHAW, HON. SEC.

       *       *       *       *       *

Shand and Mason's tenth land steam fire-engine was supplied to the
London Brigade in June, 1862, and their twelfth, in February, 1863,
upon orders given on the 4th January, 1862. But as the Committee of
the London Fire Brigade were now negotiating with Government to take
the duty of extinguishing fires off their hands, no orders for
steam-engines were given out by them after the above date.

       *       *       *       *       *



Towards the close of 1862, several engineers and other gentlemen
interested in the improvement of steam fire-engines, offered prizes to
be awarded at competitive trials to take place in London. The
following is the Committee's published account of these trials which
were held in the grounds of the Crystal Palace Company on the 1st,
2nd, and 3rd July, 1863.

The Committee consisted of the following gentlemen, viz.:--





_Hon. Sec._


The engines were divided into two classes, the large class consisting
of those weighing over 30 cwts., and not exceeding 60 cwts. and the
small class of those not exceeding 30 cwts.

The prizes offered were 250_l._ for the best engine, and 100_l._ for
the second best, in each class.

The chief points to which the Committee directed their attention, in
addition to the consideration of cost and weight, were those relating
to the general efficiency of the machines as fire-engines, combining
among other points of excellence--

  Rapidity in raising and generating steam.

  Facility of drawing water.

  Volume thrown.

  Distance to which it can be projected with the least amount of loss.

  Simplicity, accessibility, and durability of parts.



Delivering 1000 gallons into a tank at a true distance of 67 feet, and
27° from the horizon. Depth from which water was drawn, 4 feet 6
inches. The water in the boiler being cold when the signal was given
to commence, each engine commencing to work on attaining steam
pressure of 100lb. to the square inch.

|   |                 |              | Time of  | Time of |        |
|No.|     MAKER.      |    Weight.   | raising  | filling | Total  |
|   |                 |              | Steam to | Tank.   | Time.  |
|   |                 |              | 100lbs.  |         |        |
|   |                 | T. c. q. lbs.|  '   "   |  '   "  |  '   " |
| 1 | Easton & Amos,  | 2 18  3   12 | 13  14   |  6  16  | 19  30 |
|   |   London        |              |          |         |        |
|   |                 |              |          |         |        |
| 2 | Merryweather &  | 2 18  0    8 | 10  25   |  9  42  | 20   7 |
|   |   Son, London   |              |          |         |        |
|   |                 |              |          |         |        |
| 3 | Shand & Mason,  | 2 17  1    0 | 10  51   | 12  19  | 23  10 |
|   |   London        |              |          |         |        |
|   |                 |              |          |         |        |
| 4 | Butt  and  Co., | 2 14  0    4 | 16  30   |  6  48  | 23  18 |
|   |   United States |              |          |         |        |
|   |                 |              |          |         |        |
| 5 | Roberts, London | 1 19  1    4 | 11  40   | 20  24  | 32  4  |
|   |                 |              |          |         |        |
|   |                 |              |                             |
|   | Nichols         | 2 10  1    4 | Did not work.               |
|   |   (Manhattan)   |              |                             |
|   |   United States |              |                             |
|   |                 |              |                             |
|   | Gray & Son,     | 1 18  1    4 | Did not work.               |
|   |   London        |              |                             |

MERRYWEATHER AND SON began to work at 100 lbs., fell directly to 40
lbs., and continued so throughout; stopped and steam rose to 130 lbs.

SHAND AND MASON--Suction-pipe choked; left off working about 2


Delivering 1000 gallons into tank at same distance commencing with
full steam.

|     |                    | Steam at   | Steam  | Time of |
| No. |       NAME.        | Beginning. | during | filling |
|     |                    |            | Work.  |  Tank.  |
|     |                    |            |        |  '    " |
|  1  | Shand & Mason      |    100     |        |  3    0 |
|     |                    |            |        |         |
|  2  | Butt & Co.         |    100     |        |  3    3 |
|     |                    |            |        |         |
|  3  | Merryweather & Son |    145     |        |  3    7 |
|     |                    |            |        |         |
|  4  | Roberts            |     80     |        | 12   30 |
                Roberts did not fill the tank.


Delivering into large tank at a horizontal distance of 40 feet, a
vertical height of 40 feet, a true distance of 56 feet, and at an
angle of 45 degrees from the horizon, the depth from which water was
drawn being 16 feet 4 inches.

A--No. of Deliveries Open.
B--Length of Hose.
C--Average Steam Pressure.
D--Average Water Pressure.
E--No. of Gallons Delivered.

|   |             |         |   |   |Size of |    |    |       |Time of|
|No.| Name.       | Time.   | A | B |Nozzle. | C  | D  |   E   |Raising|
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       |Steam. |
|   |             |hr. m. s.|   |   |        |    |    |       |       |
| 1 | Merryweather| 1 24 55 | 2 |440| 1-1/2  | 91 | 89 |16,086 |10' 32"|
|   | & Son       |         |   |   |        |    |    |       |  to   |
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       | 80lbs.|
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       |       |
| 2 | Shand       | 2  0  0 | 2 |440| 1-1/2 &| 96 | 62 |12,917 |11' 21"|
|   | & Mason     |         |   |   | 1-3/8  |    |    |       |   to  |
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       |120lbs.|
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       |       |
| 3 | Roberts     | 2  0  0 | 1 |420| 1-1/4  | 75 | 75 | 9,936 |11' 20"|
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       |   to  |
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       | 80lbs.|
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       |       |
| 4 | Butt & Co.  | 0 46 50 | 2 |440| 1-1/2  | 78 | 78 | 8,280 |14' 10"|
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       |   to  |
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       | 45lbs.|
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       |       |
| 5 | Easton &    | 1 32 35 | 2 |440| 1-3/8  | 98 | 41 | 3,036 |12' 30"|
|   | & Amos      |         |   |   |        |    |    |       |   to  |
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       | 90lbs.|
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       |       |
| 6 | Nichols     | 0  4 55 | 2 |420| 1-1/2  | -- | -- | None. |13' 09"|
|   | (Manhattan) |         |   |   |        |    |    |       |   to  |
|   |             |         |   |   |        |    |    |       | 45lbs.|

MERRYWEATHER AND SON--Fire lighted at 4h. 1m. 55s.; gauge moved at 4h.
8m. 20s.; engine started at 4h. 12m. 27s.; water drawn in about 10
revolutions; pumps not primed, valve box leaked slightly, and engine
worked satisfactorily in every respect.

SHAND AND MASON--Fire lighted at 11h. 25m. 46s.; gauge moved at 11h.
32m. 53s.; engine started at 11h. 37m. 7s.; pump primed at 11h. 45m.
48s.; drew water at 11h. 47m.; water first through the nozzle at 11h.
48m. 59s.; in hood at 11h. 49m. 19s.; shifted nozzle (3-1/4m. delay);
high wind.

ROBERTS--Fire lighted at 11h. 17m.; engine, started at 11h. 28m. 20s.

BUTT AND CO.--Fire lighted at 5h. 55m. 10s.; started engine at 6h. 9m.
20s.; repeatedly stopped from slide valves not acting, and stopped
entirely at 6h. 46m., from cylinder cover breaking.

EASTON AND AMOS--Fire lighted at 2h. 2m. 35s.; gauge moved 2h. 10m.;
started engine at 2h. 15m. 5s.; pumps primed, worked till 2h. 54m.
5s.; stopped to shift plungers; went to work again, and stopped
entirely at 3h. 35m. 10s., from two fire bars falling out.

NICHOLS (Manhattan)--Fire lighted at 10h. 51m. 14s.; gauge moved at
10h. 59m. 20s.; drew water directly; steam up to 140lbs. at 11h. 8m.
45s.; stopped two minutes; started again; made a few revolutions, and
fly-wheel broke.


Vertical Jet against Tower.

| No. |       Name.        |  Size   | Greatest Height |
|     |                    | of Jet. |     Thrown.     |
|  1  | Shand & Mason      |  22/16  |     180 ft.     |
|     |                    |         |                 |
|  2  | Merryweather & Son |  26/16  |     180 ft.     |
|     |                    |         |                 |
|  3  | Roberts            |  14/16  |     150 ft.     |
|     |                    |         |                 |
|  4  | Lee & Co           |  21/16  |      55 ft.     |

GRAY'S engine lighted fire at 7h. 7m. 40s.; steam 9lbs. at 7h. 17m.
0s.; got to work at 7h. 23m. 40s. to blow fires; at 7h. 27m. 0s. water
through hose. Owing to some of the pipe connected with the steam gauge
breaking, no further experiments could be made.



Delivering 1000 gallons into a tank at a true distance of 50ft. and
37° from the horizon. Depth from which water was drawn, 4ft. 6in. The
water in the boilers being cold when the signal was given to commence,
each engine commencing to work on attaining steam pressure of 100lbs.
to the square inch.

|   |               |               | Time of   | Time of |        |
|No.|     Name.     |    Weight.    | raising   | filling | Total  |
|   |               |               | Steam     | Tank.   | Time.  |
|   |               |               | to 100lbs.|         |        |
|   |               | T.  c. q. lbs.|  '    "   | '   "   | '    " |
| 1 | Shand & Mason | 1   9  2   0  |  11  36   | 5  24   | 17   0 |
|   |               |               |           |         |        |
| 2 | Lee & Co      | 1  10  0   0  |  11  55   | 6   3   | 17  58 |
|   |               |               |           |         |        |
| 3 | Merryweather  | 1  10  1  12  |  12  15   | 9  14   | 21  29 |
|   |   & Son       |               |           |         |        |

Owing to a broken bolt, there was great leakage in water cylinder of
Lee and Co's. engine.


Delivering 1000 gallons into tank at same distance, commencing with
full steam.

|     |                    |   Steam    | Steam  |  Time   |
| No. |      Name.         |     at     | during | filling |
|     |                    | Beginning. | Work.  |  Tank.  |
|     |                    |            |        |  '  "   |
| 1   | Shand & Mason      |     85     |   --   |  5 49   |
|     |                    |            |        |         |
| 2   | Lee & Co.          |    125     |   --   |  5 50   |
|     |                    |            |        |         |
| 3   | Merryweather & Son |    100     |   --   |  6 17   |
     The leakage in Lee and Co's. engine was remedied.


Delivering into large tank, commencing with Full Steam. At a
horizontal distance of 40ft., a vertical height of 40ft., a true
distance of 56ft., and at an angle of 45° from the horizon; the depth
from which water was drawn being 16ft. 4in.

A--Number of Deliveries open.
B--Average Steam Pressure.
C--Average Water Pressure.
D--No. of Gallons Delivered.
|              |   |         |   | Length | Size of |     |    |      |
|     Name.    |No.|  Time.  | A |   of   | Nozzle. |  B  | C  |  D   |
|              |   |         |   |  Hose. |         |     |    |      |
|              |   | h. m. s.|   |        |   in.   |     |    |      |
| Shand &      | 1 | 1  0  0 | 1 |   420  |   1 &   | 146 | 80 | 8142 |
|   Mason      |   |         |   |        |  1-1/4  |     |    |      |
|              |   |         |   |        |         |     |    |      |
| Merryweather | 2 | 1  0  0 | 1 |   420  |   7/8   |  86 | 45 | 4885 |
|   & Son      |   |         |   |        |         |     |    |      |
|              |   |         |   |        |         |     |    |      |
| Lee & Co.    | 3 | 1  0  0 | 1 |   420  |   3/4   |  80 | 60 | 4278 |
|              |   |         |   |        |         |     |    |      |

SHAND AND MASON--Steam ready at 150 lbs.; started at 7h. 3m. 32s.;
stopped at 7h. 12m. 5s. to put on an additional length of hose; worked
well throughout.

MERRYWEATHER AND SON--Steam ready at 110 lbs.; commenced work at 3h.
43m. 30s.; pumps primed.

LEE AND CO.--Steam ready, started at 2h. 1m. 0s.; worked well, without
any stoppage.


At a meeting of the Committee held on the 8th July, 1863, his Grace
the Duke of Sutherland in the Chair, the following prizes were


Messrs. Merryweather & Sons,      1st Prize, 250_l._
Messrs. Shand & Mason             2nd Prize, 100_l._
Mr. W. Roberts, highly commended.


Messrs. Shand & Mason             1st Prize, 250_l._
Messrs. W. Lee & Co.              2nd Prize, 100_l._

(Signed) On behalf of the Committee,

                    SUTHERLAND, CHAIRMAN.
                    E. M. SHAW, HON. SEC.

From the above trials it was found that the first prize large-class
engine weighed 6504 lbs., and delivered in one hour 11,366 gallons,
being at the rate of 196 gallons for each hundred-weight of the
engine; while the first prize small-class engine delivered in the same
time 8142 gallons, or 276 for each hundred-weight of the engine,
showing that the latter engine delivered nearly one-half more water in
proportion to its weight, than was delivered by the large one, the
conditions of the two trials being the same.

As the greatest amount of power in the smallest possible bulk and
weight, was considered most available for use at London fires, the
Committee of the London Fire Brigade, although not in a position, for
the reasons already stated, to purchase additional steam fire-engines,
commenced hiring Shand, Mason, and Co.'s prize engines, and at the
close of 1865 had four such in use in this manner.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade, an extension of the late London Fire
Brigade, has now (May, 1866) the following steam fire-engines in
use:--The Floating Steam Fire-engine, by Shand and Mason, in 1855; a
Land Steam Fire-engine by Easton and Amos, which was worked at the
Crystal Palace trials, and is now used in a barge as a floating
engine; one by Roberts, which was also worked at the Crystal Palace;
three by Merryweather and Sons; and fifteen of Shand, Mason, and Co.'s
Land Steam Fire-engines.


The disastrous results of the great fire at Tooley-street, in 1861, at
which Mr. Braidwood lost his life, fully demonstrated the inadequacy
(in men and appliances) of the fire brigade supported by the insurance
offices, and as these bodies declined extending their establishment so
as to meet the wants of the whole of the metropolis, a Parliamentary
inquiry was instituted, which resulted in the passing of the following



     CAP. XC.

     An Act for the Establishment of a Fire Brigade within the
     Metropolis. [5th July, 1865.]

     WHEREAS it is expedient to make further provision for the
     protection of life and property from fire within the
     metropolis: Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent
     Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords
     Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
     Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as


     1. This Act may be cited for all purposes as the
     "Metropolitan Fire Brigade Act, 1865."

     2. For the purposes of this Act the "Metropolis" shall mean
     the City of _London_ and all other parishes and places for
     the time being within the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan
     Board of Works:

     "Insurance Company" shall include any persons corporate or
     unincorporate, or any person carrying on the business of
     fire insurance.

     3. The expression "Metropolis Local Management Acts" shall
     mean the Acts following; that is to say, "The Metropolis
     Management Act, 1855," "The Metropolis Management Amendment
     Act, 1856," and "The Metropolis Management Amendment Act,

     _Establishment and Duties of Fire Brigade._

     4. On and after the first day of _January_ one thousand
     eight hundred and sixty-six the duty of extinguishing fires
     and protecting life and property in case of fire shall
     within the metropolis be deemed for the purposes of this Act
     to be entrusted to the Metropolitan Board of Works; and with
     a view to the performance of that duty it shall be lawful
     for them to provide and maintain an efficient force of
     firemen, and to furnish them with all such fire engines,
     horses, accoutrements, tools, and implements as may be
     necessary for the complete equipment of the force, or
     conducive to the efficient performance of their duties.

     5. The said Board, hereinafter referred to as the Board, may
     take on lease, purchase, or otherwise acquire stations for
     engines, stables, houses for firemen, and such other houses,
     buildings, or land as they may think requisite for carrying
     into effect the purposes of this Act, and may from time to
     time sell any property acquired by or vested in them for the
     purposes of this Act:

     The Board may also contract with any company or persons
     authorized to establish the same for the establishment of
     telegraphic communication between the several stations in
     which their fire engines or firemen are placed, and between
     any of such stations and other parts of the metropolis.

     6. On and after the said first day of January one thousand
     eight hundred and sixty-six, all stations, fire-engines,
     fire escapes, plant, and other property belonging to or used
     by the fire engine establishment of the insurance companies
     in the metropolis shall vest in or be conveyed or assigned
     to the Board for all the estate and interest of the said
     companies therein, upon trust to be applied by the Board to
     the purposes of this Act, but subject to all legal
     liabilities and obligations attaching thereto, including the
     payment of all pensions that have been granted to the
     members of the said Fire Engine Establishment, according to
     a list that has been furnished to the chairman of the said
     Board by the chief officer of the said fire-engine
     establishment, and all trustees for the same shall be
     indemnified against such liabilities and obligations. The
     Board may also, if they think fit, purchase the stations,
     fire-engines, and plant belonging to any parish, place, or
     body of persons within their jurisdiction.

     7. The force of firemen established under this Act,
     hereinafter called the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, shall be
     under the command of an officer, to be called the chief
     officer of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

     The chief officer and men composing the said fire brigade
     shall be appointed and removed at the pleasure of the Board.

     8. The Board shall pay such salaries as they think expedient
     to the said fire brigade. They may also make such
     regulations as they think fit with respect to the
     compensation to be made to them in case of accident, or to
     their wives or families in case of their death; also with
     respect to the pensions or allowances to be paid to them in
     case of retirement; also with respect to the gratuities to
     be paid to persons giving notices of fires; also with
     respect to gratuities by way of a gross sum or annual
     payment to be from time to time awarded to any member of the
     said force, or to any other person, for extraordinary
     services performed in cases of fire; also with respect to
     gratuities to turncocks belonging to waterworks from which a
     supply of water is quickly derived.

     9. The Board may by byelaws make regulations for the
     training, discipline, and good conduct of the men belonging
     to the said fire brigade, for their speedy attendance with
     engines, fire escapes, and all necessary implements on the
     occasion of any alarm of fire, and generally for the
     maintenance in a due state of efficiency of the said
     brigade, and may annex to any breach of such regulations
     penalties not exceeding in amount forty shillings, but no
     byelaw under this section shall be of any validity unless it
     is made and confirmed in manner directed by the Metropolis
     Local Management Acts; and all the provisions of the said
     Acts relating to byelaws shall, with the necessary
     variations, apply to any byelaws made in pursuance of this

     10. The vestry of any parish or place in the metropolis may
     allow such compensation as they think just to any engine
     keeper or other person employed in the service of fire
     engines who has hitherto been paid out of any rate raiseable
     in such parish or place, and who is deprived of his
     employment by or in consequence of the passing of this Act,
     and any compensation so allowed shall be paid out of the
     rate out of which the salary of the officer so compensated
     was payable.

     11. The Board may make such arrangements as they think fit
     as to establishing fire escapes throughout the metropolis.
     They may for that purpose contribute to the funds of the
     Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire, or of
     any existing society that provides fire escapes, or may
     purchase or take by agreement the property of any existing
     society in their stations and fire escapes, and generally
     may maintain such fire escapes and do such things as they
     think expedient towards aiding persons to escape from fire;
     and any expenses incurred by them in pursuance of this
     section shall be deemed to be expenses incurred in carrying
     into effect this Act.

     12. On the occasion of a fire, the chief or other officer in
     charge of the fire brigade may, in his discretion, take the
     command of any volunteer fire brigade or other persons who
     voluntarily place their services at his disposal, and may
     remove, or order any fireman to remove, any persons who
     interfere by their presence with the operations of the fire
     brigade, and generally he may take any measures that appear
     expedient for the protection of life and property, with
     power by himself or his men to break into or through, or
     take possession of, or pull down any premises for the
     purpose of putting an end to a fire, doing as little damage
     as possible; he may also on any such occasion cause the
     water to be shut off from the mains and pipes of any
     district, in order to give a greater supply and pressure of
     water in the district in which the fire has occurred; and no
     water company shall be liable to any penalty or claim by
     reason of any interruption of the supply of water occasioned
     only by compliance with the provisions of this section.

     All police constables shall be authorized to aid the fire
     brigade in the execution of their duties. They may close any
     street in or near which a fire is burning, and they may of
     their own motion, or on the request of the chief or other
     officer of the fire brigade, remove any persons who
     interfere by their presence with the operations of the fire

     Any damage occasioned by the fire brigade in the due
     execution of their duties shall be deemed to be damage by
     fire within the meaning of any policy of insurance against


     13. Every insurance company that insures from fire any
     property in the metropolis shall pay annually to the
     Metropolitan Board of Works, by way of contribution toward
     the expenses of carrying this Act into effect, a sum after
     the rate of thirty-five pounds in the one million pounds on
     the gross amounts insured by it, except by way of
     reassurance, in respect of property in the metropolis for a
     year, and at a like rate for any fractional part of a
     million, and for any fractional part of a year as well as
     for any number of years for which the insurance may be made,
     renewed, or continued.

     The said payments by insurance companies shall be made
     quarterly in advance, on the 1st of January, 1st of April,
     1st of July, and 1st of October in every year; the first of
     such payments to be made on the 1st of January one thousand
     eight hundred and sixty-six, and such first payment and the
     other payments for the year one thousand eight hundred and
     sixty-six to be based upon the amounts insured by the
     several companies in respect of property in the metropolis
     in the year ending the twenty-fourth of December one
     thousand eight hundred and sixty-four: provided that any
     insurance company which at the time of the passing of this
     Act contributes to the expenses of the said fire engine
     establishment may, in respect of all payments to be made by
     it in the years one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six and
     one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, but not
     afterwards, contribute after the yearly rate of thirty-five
     pounds in one million pounds of the business in respect of
     which it contributes to the said fire engine establishment
     for the present year, according to a return which has been
     furnished to the chairman of the said Metropolitan Board,
     instead of in the manner in this Act provided.

     14. All contributions due from an insurance company to the
     Board in pursuance of this Act shall be deemed to be
     specialty debts due from the company to the Board, and be
     recovered accordingly.

     15. For the purpose of ascertaining the amount to be
     contributed by every such insurance company as aforesaid,
     every insurance company insuring property from fire in the
     metropolis shall, on the thirtieth day of December one
     thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, with respect to the
     amounts insured in the year one thousand eight hundred and
     sixty-four, and on the 1st of June one thousand eight
     hundred and sixty-six, and on every succeeding 1st of June,
     or on such other days as the Metropolitan Board of Works may
     appoint, make a return to the said Board, in such form as
     they may require, of the gross amount insured by it in
     respect of property in the metropolis.

     There shall be annexed to the return so made a declaration
     made by the secretary or other officer performing the duties
     of secretary of the company by whom it is made, stating that
     he has examined the return with the books of the company,
     and that to the best of his knowledge, information, and
     belief, it contains a true and faithful account of the gross
     amount of the sums insured by the company to which he
     belongs in respect of property in the metropolis.

     The return made in the June of one year shall not come into
     effect till the 1st of January of the succeeding year, and
     shall be the basis of the contributions for that year.

     16. If any insurance company makes default in making such
     returns to the Board as are required by this Act, it shall
     be liable to a penalty not exceeding five pounds for every
     day during which it is so in default.

     17. The secretary or other officer having the custody of the
     books and papers of any insurance company that is required
     to pay a contribution to the Board in pursuance of this Act
     shall allow any officer appointed by the Board to inspect,
     during the hours of business, any books and papers that will
     enable him to ascertain the amount of property insured by
     such company in the metropolis, and the amount for which it
     is insured, and to make extracts from such books or papers;
     and any secretary or other such officer as aforesaid of a
     company failing to comply with the requisitions of this
     section in respect of such inspections and extracts shall be
     liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding five
     pounds for each offence.

     18. The Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury shall pay or
     cause to be paid to the Board by way of contribution to the
     expenses of maintaining the fire brigade such sums as
     Parliament may from time to time grant for that purpose, not
     exceeding in any one year the sum of ten thousand pounds.

     19. For the purpose of defraying all expenses that may be
     incurred by the Board in carrying into effect this Act which
     are not otherwise provided for, the Board may from time to
     time issue their precepts to the overseers of the poor of
     every parish or place within the metropolis, requiring the
     overseers to pay over the amount mentioned in the precepts
     to the Treasurer of the Board, or into a bank to be named in
     the precepts, within forty days from the delivery of the

     The overseers shall comply with the requisitions of any such
     precept by paying the sums mentioned out of any monies in
     their hands applicable to the relief of the poor, or by
     levying the amount required as part of the rate for the
     relief of the poor, but no contribution required to be paid
     by any parish or place under this section shall exceed in
     the whole in any one year the rate of one halfpenny in the
     pound on the full and fair annual value of property rateable
     to the relief of the poor within the said parish or place,
     such full and fair annual value to be computed in all parts
     of the metropolis, exclusive of the city of London,
     according to the last valuation for the time being acted on
     in assessing the county rate, or, where there is no county
     rate, according to a like estimate or basis; and no liberty,
     precinct, or place, shall be exempt from the rate leviable
     for the purposes of this Act by reason of its being
     extra-parochial or otherwise; and in default of proper
     officers in any liberty, precinct, or place, to assess or
     levy the said rate, the Board may appoint such officers, and
     add the amount of any expenses so incurred to the amount to
     be raised by the next succeeding rate in such liberty,
     precinct, or place.

     Overseers shall, for the purposes of levying any amount
     required to be levied by them under this Act, have the same
     powers and be subject to the same obligations as in levying
     a rate for the relief of the poor.

     The word "Overseers" shall include any persons or bodies of
     persons authorized or required to make and collect or cause
     to be collected rates applicable to the relief of the poor;
     and such persons or bodies shall pay to the Board the amount
     so mentioned in the precept out of the said rates.

     20. In case the amount ordered by any such precept as
     aforesaid to be paid by the overseers of any parish or place
     be not paid in manner directed by such precept and within
     the time therein specified for that purpose, it shall be
     lawful for any justice of the peace, upon the complaint by
     the Board or by any person authorized by the Board, to issue
     his warrant for levying the amount or so much thereof as may
     be in arrear by distress and sale of the goods of all or any
     of the said overseers, and in case the goods of all the
     overseers be not sufficient to pay the same, the arrears
     thereof shall be added to the amount of the next levy which
     is directed to be made in such parish or place for the
     purposes of this Act, and shall be collected by the like

     21. The Board may, with the consent of the Commissioners of
     Her Majesty's Treasury, borrow any sum not exceeding forty
     thousand pounds, and apply the same for the purposes of this
     Act; and all powers contained in the Metropolis Local
     Management Acts authorizing the Board to borrow money, or
     any commissioners or persons to lend money to the Board, and
     all other provisions as to the mode of borrowing, the
     repayment of principal or interest, or in anywise relating
     to borrowing by the Board, shall be deemed to apply and to
     extend to this Act in the same manner as if the monies
     borrowed in pursuance of this Act were monies borrowed for
     the purpose of defraying the expenses of the Metropolis
     Local Management Acts, or one or more of those acts. The
     Board shall apply the monies received by them under this Act
     in liquidation of the principal and interest of the monies
     so borrowed, but no creditor shall be concerned to see to
     such application, or be liable for any misapplication of the
     monies received or borrowed by the Board in pursuance of
     this Act.


     22. Where any chief officer, or other person who has been
     employed by the Board in any capacity under this Act, and
     has been discharged therefrom, continues to occupy any house
     or building that may be provided for his use, or any part
     thereof, after one week's notice in writing from the Board
     to deliver up possession thereof, it shall be lawful for any
     police magistrate, on the oath of one witness, stating such
     notice to have been given, by warrant under his hand to
     order any constable to enter into the house or building
     occupied by such discharged chief officer or other person as
     aforesaid, and to remove him and his family and servants
     therefrom, and afterwards to deliver the possession thereof
     to the Board, as effectually, to all intents and purposes,
     as the sheriff having jurisdiction within the place where
     such house or building is situate might lawfully do by
     virtue of a writ of possession or a judgment at law.

     23. If the chimney of any house or other building within the
     metropolis is on fire, the occupier of such house or
     building shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding twenty
     shillings; but if such occupier proves that he has incurred
     such penalty by reason of the neglect or wilful default of
     any other person, he may recover summarily from such person
     the whole or any part of the penalty he may have incurred as

     24. All penalties imposed by this Act, or by any byelaw made
     in pursuance thereof, and all expenses and other sums due to
     the Board in pursuance of this Act, in respect of which no
     mode of recovery is prescribed, may be recovered summarily
     before two justices in manner directed by the Act of the
     session holden in the eleventh and twelfth years of the
     reign of her present Majesty, chapter forty-three, or any
     Act amending the same, and when so recovered shall be paid
     to the treasurer of the Board, notwithstanding any police
     act or other act of parliament directing a different
     appropriation of such monies.

     25. Any dispute or other matter which is by this Act
     directed to be determined summarily by two justices shall be
     deemed to be a matter in respect of which a complaint is
     made upon which they have authority by law to make an order
     for payment of money within the meaning of the said Act of
     the session holden in the eleventh and twelfth years of the
     reign of her present Majesty, chapter forty-three, or any
     Act amending the same.

     26. Any act, power, or jurisdiction hereby authorized to be
     done or exercised by two justices may be done or exercised
     by the following magistrates within their respective
     jurisdictions; that is to say, by any metropolitan police
     magistrate sitting alone at a police court or other
     appointed place, or by the Lord Mayor of the City of London,
     or any alderman of the said City, sitting alone or with
     others at the Mansion House or Guildhall.

     27. The accounts of the Board in respect of expenses
     incurred by them under this Act shall be audited in the same
     manner as if they were expenses incurred under the said
     Metropolis Local Management Acts, and the Board shall in
     each year make a report to one of her Majesty's principal
     Secretaries of State of all acts done and expenditure
     incurred by them in pursuance of this Act, and that report
     shall be laid before Parliament within one month after the
     commencement of the session.

     28. The Board may delegate any powers conferred on them by
     this Act to a committee of their body; and such committee
     shall, to the extent to which such powers are delegated, be
     deemed to be the Board within the meaning of this Act.

     29. If the companies insuring property within the
     metropolis, or any such number of them as may in the opinion
     of the said Board be sufficient, establish a force of men
     charged with the duty of attending at fires and saving
     insured property, it shall be the duty of the Fire Brigade,
     with the sanction of the Board, and subject to any
     regulations that may be made by the Board, to afford the
     necessary assistance to that force in the performance of
     their duties, and, upon the application of any officer of
     that force, to hand over to their custody property that may
     be saved from fire; and no charge shall be made by the said
     Board for the services thus rendered by the fire brigade.

     30. It shall be lawful for the Board, when occasion
     requires, to permit any part of the fire brigade
     establishment, with their engines, escapes, and other
     implements, to proceed beyond the limits of the metropolis
     for the purpose of extinguishing fires. In such case the
     owner and occupier of the property where the fire has
     occurred shall be jointly and severally liable to defray all
     the expenses that may be incurred by the Fire Brigade in
     attending the fire, and shall pay to the Board a reasonable
     charge for the attendance of the Fire Brigade, and the use
     of their engines, escapes, and other implements. In case of
     difference between the Board and the owner and occupier of
     such property, or either of them, the amount of the
     expenses, as well as the propriety of the Fire Brigade
     attending such fire (if the propriety thereof be disputed),
     shall be summarily determined by two justices. In default of
     payment, any expenses under this section may be recovered by
     the Board in a summary manner.

     The Board may also permit any part of the Fire Brigade
     Establishment to be employed on special services upon such
     terms of remuneration as the said Board may think just.

     31. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade shall in the morning of
     each day, with the exception of Sundays, send information,
     by post or otherwise, to all the insurance offices
     contributing for the purposes of this Act, of all fires
     which have taken place within the metropolis since the
     preceding return, in such form as may be agreed upon between
     the Board and the said companies.

     32. All the powers now exercised by any local body or
     officer within the metropolis as respects fireplugs shall
     henceforth be exercised by the Board, and the Board shall be
     entitled to receive copies or extracts of all plans kept by
     any water company under the provision of the Act of the
     session of the fifteenth and sixteenth years of her Majesty,
     chapter eighty-four; and every such water company shall
     provide at the expense of the Board in any mains or pipes
     within the metropolis plugs for the supply of water in case
     of fire at such places, of such dimensions, and in such form
     as the Board may require, and the Fire Brigade shall be at
     liberty to make such use thereof as they may deem necessary
     for the purpose of extinguishing any fire; and every such
     company shall deposit keys of all their fireplugs at such
     places as may be appointed by the Board, and the Board may
     put up on any house or building a public notice in some
     conspicuous place in each street in which a fireplug is
     situated, showing its situation.

     33. "Owner" in this Act shall mean the person for the time
     being receiving the rackrent of the premises in connexion
     with which the word is used, either on his own account or as
     agent or trustee for some other person, or who would receive
     the same if the premises were let at rackrent.


     34. On and after the first day of January, one thousand
     eight hundred and sixty-six, there shall be repealed so much
     as is unrepealed of an Act passed in the fourteenth year of
     his late Majesty King George the Third, chapter
     seventy-eight, and intituled an Act for the further and
     better regulation of buildings and party walls, and for the
     more effectually preventing mischief by fire, within the
     Cities of London and Westminster and the liberties thereof,
     and other the parishes, precincts, and places within the
     weekly bills of mortality, the parishes of St. Marylebone,
     Paddington, St. Pancras, and St. Luke, at Chelsea, in the
     County of Middlesex, and for indemnifying, under certain
     conditions, builders and other persons against the penalties
     to which they are or may be liable for erecting buildings
     within the limits aforesaid contrary to law, with the
     exception of sections eighty-three and eighty-six which
     shall remain in full force, but such repeal shall not affect
     any penalty or liability incurred under the repealed

     35. On and after the first day of January, one thousand
     eight hundred and sixty-six, section forty-four of an Act
     passed in the session holden in the third and fourth years
     of the reign of King William the Fourth, chapter ninety,
     shall be repealed so far as respects any parish or place
     within the limits of the metropolis as defined by this Act;
     provided that the repeal of the said section shall not
     affect the power of the churchwardens and overseers of any
     parish or place to contribute to the funds of any society
     that at the time of the passing of this Act maintains fire
     escapes in such parish or place, unless and until the Board
     purchase the property of such society, or otherwise provide
     fire escapes in such parish or place.

       *       *       *       *       *

In accordance with the provisions of the above recited Act of
Parliament, the London Fire Brigade of the Insurance Offices is now
being extended to meet the requirements of the whole of London, under
the title of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, with Captain E. M. Shaw,
Mr. Braidwood's successor, as chief officer.



       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Variations in spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, and punctuation
have been retained from the original book. The Table of Contents and
List of Illustrations do not exactly match the chapter, section, and
illustration titles in the text.

The following changes have been made:

Page 70: Missing word "of" added (avail themselves of the means).

Page 183: Typo estalishment changed to establishment (establishment of
telegraphic communication).

Tables in the Appendix have been modified in format, but not in
content, to fit the plain-text spacing constraints.

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