I'd like to thank the Lothian
and Borders Fire and Rescue Service for letting us provide a copy of their
150th anniversary brochure on the History of Edinburgh Fire Brigade. You can
visit their web site at
Here is the Foreword by the
This booklet is published to commemorate the 150th
Anniversary of the establishment of the Edinburgh Fire Brigade, thought to
be the oldest Municipal Fire Brigade in the world.
In those far-off days of 1824, fire was a frequent
in the highly congested areas of
the old part of the City. In the early part of the nineteenth century many
of Edinburgh's citizens lived in the high multi-storeyed
and outbreaks of fire
with alarming rapidity exacting
a heavy toll in life and property. The existing-
arrangements were often found to be quite inadequate and, following a series
of disastrous fires, the City Fathers decided that the responsibility of
ensuring the safety of their citizens
rest with the Council. Thus was
formed the City Fire Brigade under the command and guidance of James
Braidwood, a young man of courage and vision who laid foundations and
principles which are respected and admired to the present day.
compares the fire-fighting
which have existed throughout
Britain since Roman times and in tracing the history of the Edinburgh Fire
Brigade it highlights the technical advances which have been so necessary to
keep abreast of developments in building, commerce and industry. The history
of the Brigade is also of course the history of Edinburgh and there were
many incidents which are now part of our City's tradition; the bravery of
John Geddes in the
activities of Burke and Hare;
the muck creels carried by the early Council Firemen and the fights which
often broke out between the rival Insurance Brigades.
These and many more make up the history of our Brigade and our City.
Uncontrolled fire is today -
as it was in 1824
- still one of man's greatest enemies; one
which takes its annual toll of life and causes very high economic loss to
the community. Now as then it is important that every member of our
community plays his or her part in reducing this very
serious hazard. The high
ideals and spirit of inventiveness established by James Braidwood have been
continued and expanded over the years and today the South-Eastern Fire
Brigade, successor to the Edinburgh Fire Brigade, is justly proud of the
position it holds.
Whilst technical advances in
appliances and equipment are a necessary part of any Fire Brigade, it is the
men who man the appliances and use this equipment who are most important.
to these officers and men of the Edinburgh Fire Brigade, who throughout the
years have contributed so much to the safety of the community, that we pay
tribute in this booklet for their dedication, loyalty and devoted service.
The proceeds from the sale of this booklet will be
donated to the fire Services National Benevolent Fund-
a Fund set up to alleviate suffering and
hardship of those firemen, and their families, who became casualties in the
service of the community. The Fund was founded during the Second World War
period and the then Commandant of the Auxiliary Fire Service in Edinburgh,
Sir Andrew Murray, was appointed its President. I would therefore thank all
purchasers of the booklet for their donation to a most worthy cause .
James Anderson, F.I.FIRE.E.,
You can download the brochure
as a pdf file here! (5.1Mb)