London’s fire commissioner and authority are marking the 150th anniversary of the Tooley Street fire which claimed the life of the James Braidwood, the capital’s first fire Superintendant.
Braidwood lost his life on 22 June 1861 while tackling a fire at Cottons Wharf on Tooley Street. The fire took two weeks to put out and caused £2m of damage – around £145million at today’s prices.
The scale of damage and Braidwood’s death led to the creation of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, the forerunner to today’s London Fire Brigade, and ended the policy of firefighters only attending fires at insured buildings.
On Wednesday London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, Chairman of LFEPA Community Safety Committee Councillor Susan Hall and the Retired Members Association, will host a memorial service to commemorate the fire and Braidwood.
Ron Dobson said: “James Braidwood is a central figure in the history of London Fire Brigade as we know it today. His dedication to protecting the capital and his fascination with preventing fires gave the Brigade a strong foundation and helped to shape it into what it is now – the world’s third largest fire and rescue service.”
The London Fire Brigade museum is holding a special open day to mark the 150th anniversary on Friday 5 August. The museum, normally only available by appointment, will open its doors from 10am till 3pm.