Sunday, July 3, 2016


The danger was always present. With lamps, candles, fireplaces, kitchen ranges and new-fangled gas in constant use, the opportunities for fire to take hold and damage property and take lives were myriad.

from Morning Post, London, Thursday 18 Jan 1810
So prevalent was the danger that 'fire assurance' companies advertised in every newspaper. They offered protection with their 'fire engines' and varieties of insurance against loss.
from Cumberland Pacquet and Ware's Whitehaven Advertiser - Tuesday 29 December 1812
But the fees could not always be found, and the fires kept happening:
from Northampton Mercury Saturday 11 March 1809
Fire engines were in the early phases of their design. The technology was basic though the intentions were good. This illustration from an American publication shows the early engines.
Guides to cities and towns listed the measures they took to control the losses. The following is from the "Picture of London" published in 1807.
But still the fires kept happening:
 from Cambridge Chronicle and Journal 27 December 1816
from Morning Post Thurs 18 January 1810
from Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal Friday 3 May 1816
 This coloured illustration from Ackermann's Microcosm of London published in 1810 was drawn by Rowlandson and shows the fire engines in the bottom left corner.
Even the great and good were not exempt from the flames. The following account is from the Taunton Courier.
Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser 11 April 1816
Today, house fires and business fires are infrequent and noteworthy occurrences and are fought with all manner of excellent equipment. During the Regency era, fires were commonplace, fought with difficulty, and the cause of much loss of life and property.
Progress has much to recommend it....

'Til next time,