BIRTHDAY OF THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE.

BIRTHDAY OF THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE.

On November 20, 1905, occurred the 238th birthday of the London fire brigade—the date of its establishment being November 20, 1667. Its foundation was suggested by the Great Fire, the ravages of which and the fatalities attending it showed that some kind of provision against fire was necessary. An act of common council was, accordingly, passed to oblige each of the four divisions of the city to keep “eight hundred leathern buckets, fifty ladders from twelve to forty-two feet in length, two brazen hand squirts to each parish, twenty-four pickax-sledges, and forty shod shovels.” A11 embryo fire brigade was also instituted by forcing “the several companies of carpenters, bricklayers, plasterers, painters, masons, smiths, plumbers, and paviours” to supply a certain number of men to accompany the lord mayor and sheriffs on all occasions of fire, “for extinguishing the same.” Seeing that most of the companies involved would he interested in rebuilding the burned houses, the selection made suggests a “job.” Rather more than hand-squirts were demanded by the ordinance of 1707, when the church-wardens of each parish were required to “fix fire-cocks upon the several main water pipes in the streets; and also to provide a large hand engine, with a leather pipe and socket to screw on the fire cock.” A curious clause in this ordinance inflicts a fine of one hundred pounds, or eighteen months’ hard labor, upon “any menial or other servant or servants who, through negligence or carelessness, shall cause to be fired, or fire, any dwellinghouse or outhouses, such servants being lawfully convicted by the oath of one or more credible witnesses.” This step was made necessary by “the great number of fires caused through the carelessness of servants.” It seems, therefore, that the servant question existed as early as 1707.

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