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Title: Provincial fire-fighting in England 1666-1941.
Author: Powner, Jonathan R.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3498 2792
Awarding Body: University of Keele
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 1991
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The thesis examines and explains the history of provincial fire-fighting in England. A literature survey demonstrates the academic neglect of the subject, and discusses the written work that exists. This is supplemented by an extensive bibliography. An outline of early fire history then indicates that nothing happened in the fight against fire until the Great Fire of London, in 1666. This event directly inspired the formation of the first fire brigades in Britain by the insurance companies. Financing their own fire brigades, the insurance companies set a precedent that was to hinder the establishment of a national system of fire-fighting for over two hundred years. Two constant themes emerge: the first is that it takes a disaster to prompt action, and the second is that there was no overall organisation in English firefighting until World War Two. A study of fire appliances reveals that their slow development hindered the growth of fire brigades, but once multiple manufacturers emerged and became competitive, then interest was stimulated, directly resulting in the establishment of many local brigades. An examination of equipment follows this. By studying the types and sizes of brigades it is revealed that fire-fighting was a local expedient, and that self-help was essential since successive governments failed to provide any national fire acts until 1938. The different forms, membership, and financial circumstances of individual brigades show the totally dangerous shambles out of which the efficient British Fire Services of today have arisen. Aspects of the life of the fireman (remuneration, pensions, hours, unions, fire stations, etc.) are then highlighted before it is shown why he became a hero of Victorian society, and the epitome of the ideal of manliness
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History History Engineering Safety measures Fires