James Braidwood, died 1861

James Braidwood, died 1861

A faire-part commemorating the death of the Scottish firefighter James Braidwood, with an embossed design of angels surrounding a small albumen portrait of the pioneering fireman.

Braidwood founded one of the world's first municipal fire service in Edinburgh in 1824. In 1833 he became the first Superintendent of the London Fire Engine Establishment (which eventually became the London Fire Brigade), with a team of eighty full-time firefighters and thirteen fire stations. He is credited with the development of the modern municipal fire service.

He was the first to promote entering burning buildings to fight the seat of a fire. He trained his men at night to get them used to dark conditions and instructed them to carry rope to escape from burning buildings. He also invented one of the first forms of breathing apparatus to be used by firemen. Braidwood's manual on firefighting includes many basic principles which are still quoted during fire training today.

He was killed on 22 June 1861 by a collapsing wall while fighting the Tooley Street Warehouse fire at Cotton’s Wharf on the south bank of the River Thames. He was buried in Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, where his monument still stands today. Thousands turned out to see his funeral procession as it passed through the streets of London.

Photographer unidentified.


Code: 127180
© Paul Frecker 2023