Thursday, April 28, 2011

The History of Scottish Fire Brigades

As far as I know I never had any ancestors that served in the Fire Brigade (modern day cousins, yes). If you have ancestors, then here's an interesting site, if you don't it's still interesting :)

Since I am currently trolling around the general area of Dundee in my family research, I thought I'd look up what the site had to say.
Here's a wee bit of it.


1835 to 1837Superintendent T. Matthew
1837 to 1845Superintendent J. Coutts
1845 to 1870Superintendent James Fyffe
1870 to 1873Superintendent John W Fyffe
1873 to 1898Captain Robert Ramsay
1898 to 1903Captain John Ramsay
1903 to 1937Captain James S Weir MIFireE
1937 to 1941Firemaster William MacKay



Steam Engines,350 gallons capacity
Manual Engine (obsolute, not used)
70' Horsed Fire Escape
Horsed Hose Tender
General Service Waggon
Hand Hose Reel
Hand Pumps
Stand Pipes
Branch Pipes
Scaling Ladders
15'Pompier Ladders and Belts
Horses belonging to the Department
8,300 yds
Canvas Hose 2 1/2"

Received an additional Horse Hose Tender.

Calls to fires
1904 - 146
1905 - 137
1913 - 235

There's also information about where the fire brigade was located, some salaries, staff (some locations list the names).
Some other districts also have breakdowns on the kinds of fire trucks.

 AD43 - the Romans invaded Britain and the first fire fighters were organized - basically buckets of water.
1666 - Great Fire of London. As a result Nicholas Barbon introduces fire insurance then sets up his own fire brigade. Insurances companies set up their own fire brigades but only attended those buildings insured by their clients.
1672 - fire hose invented by Jan Van der Heiden
1725 - fire engine developed by Richard Newsham
1810 - Napoleon Bonaparte creates the "Sapeurs-Pompiers"
1824 - First public fire brigade in Britain is established in Edinburgh by James Braidwood. He later took charge of the London Fire Engine Establishment which had been created in 1832. He developed the strategy of entering buildings to fight fires.
1938 - Fire Services Act
1947 - Fire Services Act 1947 returns fire brigades to local authority control

It would be difficult for me to sum up the operations of fire brigades (in Britain) in a few sentences because of all the changes that have occurred over the years.

The Scottish Fire Heritage Group has got a lot of resources in their LINKS section.

A wee hint - if you had male ancestors living in Edinburgh, in the early to mid 1800's, who were tradesmen e.g. slaters, carpenters, masons and plumbers, or sailors, they might have been volunteer firemen.

When I'm in London in a few weeks time I'll try and pay a visit to the Firefighters Memorial near St. Paul's Cathedral. Last time I was there it was pouring rain so I did not take time to stop.

1 comment:

  1. History always connect us to our roots. But the Scottish Fire Heritage took my attention. It's so cute. :)


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