Shropshire History

Shropshire

Fire Service

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http://www.pulverbatch.org.uk/images/londonfire.jpg

Great Fire of London

 

Until the mid-16th Century, having a building burn down was a calamity for which there was no compensation. Victims then had to rely on charity to feed and house themselves. From that time, several insurance schemes were initiated to provide compensation but these were not very successful. The Great Fire of London in September 1666 destroyed 13,000 houses and many public buildings, including nearly 80 churches. This changed the minds of many people and the insurance schemes became more popular.

 

One of the first was set up in 1667 by Dr Nicholas Barbon, who opened an office for this purpose. In 1681, he created a company with several others called “The Fire Office”. Buildings could be insured at a rate of six pence in the pound for brick-built houses and twelve pence for timber. The risk covered was expressed as "Burnt down, Demolished or otherwise damnified by reason of fire”. Since there were previously no organised fire fighters, the Fire Office soon formed its own unit. Not only did this encourage new customers but it also reduced the amount of compensation the company paid out. Other insurance companies soon followed with their own units.

 

 

In 1668, an Act was which required municipal authorities to provide buckets, ladders, pickaxes and other equipment necessary for the extinguishing of fires. This Act was confined to London and it made no provision for the training of men to use this equipment, nor indeed did it make the local authority responsible for the quenching of fires. Most of the company firemen were recruited from the Thames watermen and, in consideration of their value in combating fires, all watermen who enlisted with a fire brigade were specifically exempted by Act of Parliament from being impressed into the navy by the press gangs who roamed the riverside. Eventually, the companies cooperated by merging their firefighting units and this was the basis of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade established by Act of Parliament in 1865.

 

Most streets and houses had no names or numbers and it was essential for the firefighters to know whether a house needed to be saved. To this end, the company provided lead plaques that were fixed to outside walls. If the firemen saw a plaque on a burning building, they fought the fire. If not, they ignored it. The plaques were marked with the subscriber’s policy number but the practice of fixing plaques died out towards the end of the 19th Century.

 

Shrewsbury followed London’s example in 1837, when the Shropshire & North Wales Fire Insurance Company was formed. Their plaque consisted of the three leopards’ heads of Shropshire.

 

http://www.pulverbatch.org.uk/images/firemark2.jpg   http://www.pulverbatch.org.uk/images/firemark.jpg

 

Examples of the plaques can still be seen at a number of places around Shrewsbury :-

 

11 Dogpole - on first floor wall

 

14 Dogpole – on first floor wall

 

13 Frankwell - above first floor window

 

43 Frankwell - on wall above door

 

116 Frankwell – on wall above door

 

Millington’s Hospital Frankwell – first floor wall of middle house

 

60 Mardol - on first floor wall

 

74 Mardol – on first floor wall

 

Murivance Cottage - on the front facade

 

4 New Street – on wall above door

 

8 Shoplatch - on first floor wall

 

10 St John’s Hill - in top middle pane of a window, probably a reproduction

 

20 St  John’s Hill - on first floor wall

 

St John’s Row – on first floor wall

 

11 St Mary’s Place - on the wall between first floor windows.

 

The private company’s firefighters eventually joined the Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service. Today, this has around 500 full-time and retained firefighters based at 23 fire stations around the county. Day to day operational control of the service is handled by the Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton. He is helped by two Assistant Chief Fire Officers, Andy Johnson and Louise McKenzie.

 

Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service

 

Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service History Society

 

 

Map from Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service’s website

Fire Stations

https://www.shropshirefire.gov.uk/sites/default/files/station-map.png

For details of equipment see below

 

 Full Time Crews

 

Station

Equipment

Shrewsbury

Aerial ladder platform

General purpose vehicle

Heavy pumping unit

Hose layer unit

Incident command & control unit

Light pumping unit

Prime mover

Rescue pump

Water ladders (2)

Water rescue unit + inshore rescue boat

 

Telford

 

Aerial ladder platform

Rescue pump

Tweedale

 

Bulk foam unit

Incident command & control unit

Environmental protection unit

Light 4x4 pump

Prime mover

Water ladder

 

Wellington

 

Heavy rescue unit

Incident support unit

Rescue pump

Water ladder

 

 

Retained Crews

 

Station

Equipment

Albrighton

Water ladder

 

Baschurch

Water ladder

 

Bishops Castle

Water ladder

 

Bridgnorth

Incident support unit

Rescue pump

Water carrier

 

Church Stretton

Light 6x6 pump

Rescue pump

 

Cleobury Mortimer

Rescue pump

 

Clun

Rescue pump

 

Craven Arms

Water ladder

 

Ellesmere

Water ladder

 

Hodnet

Water ladder

 

HQ Command

Incident command & control unit (3)

 

Ludlow

Incident support unit

Rescue pump

 

Market Drayton

Incident support unit

Light 4x4 pump

Rescue pump

 

Minsterley

Incident support unit

Light 4x4 pump

Rescue pump

 

Much Wenlock

Rescue pump

 

Newport

 

Incident support unit

Rescue pump

Oswestry

 

Incident support unit

Rescue pump

Water ladder

 

Prees

 

High volume hose layer

High volume pump

Prime mover (2)

Rapid response unit

Water ladder

 

Wem

Rescue pump

 

Whitchurch

 

Incident Support Unit

Rescue pump

 

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Aerial Ladder Platform

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Bulk Foam Unit

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Heavy Pumping Unit

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Heavy Rescue Unit

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High Volume Hose Layer

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High Volume Pump

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Hose Layer Unit

 

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Incident Command & Control Unit

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Incident Support Unit

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Light 4x4 Pump

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Light 6x6 Pump

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Light Pumping Unit

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Prime Mover

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Rapid Response Unit

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Rescue Pump

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Water Carrier

 

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Water Ladder

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Water Rescue Unit + Inshore Rescue Boat