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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): LCC/FB/WAR
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1914-1949
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 2.48 linear metres
Name of creator(s): LCC | London County Council x London County Council


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Council, on its creation in 1889, assumed responsibility for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade maintained by its predecessor, the Metropolitan Board of Works. On 15 August 1904 the name of the brigade was changed to the London Fire Brigade by virtue of Section 46 of the London County Council (General Powers) Act, 1904.

As part of the Second World War emergency organisation, a Regional Fire Officer with a small staff was appointed to co-ordinate the work of fire brigades in the Greater London area. From 18 August 1941 to 31 March 1948, under emergency legislation, the Brigade and the wartime London Auxiliary Fire Service, in common with the brigades of other local authorities, were merged into a National Fire Service under the direction of the Home Office. The Council resumed control of the Brigade from 1 April 1948.

1833: London Fire Engine Establishment began to operate, being a union of brigades formerly run by individual insurance companies.
1836: Society for the Protection of Life from Fire set up, a voluntary society maintaining and manning fire escapes at a number of stations throughout London.
1865: Metropolitan Fire Brigade Act placing responsibility for extinguishing fires and protecting life and property upon MBW. Thus on 1 Jan 1866 Metropolitan Fire Brigade came into existence, commanded by Captain Eyre Massey Shaw (the new brigade was combination of two bodies described above)
1866: London Salvage Corps established by leading insurance companies to protect property rather than life at metropolitan conflagrations.
1889: LCC take over Metropolitan Fire Brigade
1904: Name changed to London Fire Brigade.
1938: Threat of war leads to formation of Auxiliary Fire Service to augment existing brigade; equipment and finance provided by Home Office, training and day to day management closely supervised by London Fire Brigade.
1941: National Fire Service created to unify fire services of entire country; London became one of 11 regions of this Service, the London Fire Brigade and Auxiliary Fire Service being superseded.
1947: Fire Services Act - responsibility for fire brigades placed upon County Councils and County Boroughs nationally.
1948 1 April: London Fire Brigade resumed operations.
1948 1 April: Middlesex County Fire Service came into operation. Before war fire services in county of Middlesex were responsibility of Urban District and Borough authorities, and at an earlier date parish vestries occasionally provided fire engines for local fires.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the London County Council Fire Brigade Department relating to emergency wartime measures, 1914-1949, including subject and policy files on the First World War History of the Brigade; First World War air raid measures; experiments to test the efficacy of dry-powder fire extinguishers against incendiary bombs; fire protection for munitions factories; coal and food rationing; war badges for off-duty wear by firemen of military age; employment of disabled ex-servicemen; medals and decorations awarded to Brigade staff (uniformed and non-uniformed) on war service; interwar consideration of air raid precautions; fire-fighting during air attacks; press cuttings on air raid precautions; auxiliary fire stations; air raid warning signals; unexploded bombs and shells; Fire Service Information Bulletins; co-operation between military and civil authorities; Ministry of Information Official Bulletins; duties of fire brigades in case of invasion; National Fire Service (London Area) Regulations, 1941; nationalisation of fire services on 18 August 1941; situation reports; decontamination; emergency vehicles; River Service; Emergency Water supplies; communications in wartime; observation posts; anti-gas and incendiary bomb control training; Auxiliary Fire Service recruitment; liaison arrangements with London Salvage Corps; honours and awards for gallantry; reports on individual air raids (in and out of London); long range rockets.

Original air raid fire reports, First World War, and original reports on incidents due to enemy action, Second World War. Daily returns of air raid fire calls, First World War and Second World War. Situation reports, Second World War.

"Fire Over London: The Story of the London Fire Service"; London Auxiliary Fire Service informative leaflets used for recruiting purposes; National Fire Service (England and Wales) Directory; London Civil Defence Region Directories; Directory of London Fire Brigade and London Auxiliary Fire Service Stations and Sub-Stations; registers of B Class auxiliaries (the fire-fighting category) enrolled in the Auxiliary Fire Service from 1938; Press Cuttings Book; London Auxiliary Fire Service Routine Orders.

London Fire Region (LFR) files, including messages received at night in the Regional Control Room; LFR Newsletters; air raids on Portsmouth and Southampton; incendiary bombs; Fire Service vehicles; Water Relaying Units; women auxiliaries; Regional Fire Officer duties; Regional Fire Headquarters staff; twice daily situation reports (London Civil Defence Region); Regional Fire Control Room Occurrence Book; London Fire Region Twice-daily Situation Reports; Home Office Daily Air Raid Intelligence Reports; Home Office Weekly Summary of Air Raid Intelligence; Home Office Detailed Reports on individual fires; training films; monthly returns of personnel and appliances in each outer-London brigade; medals, decorations and honours; underground control room; conferences; protection of fire stations against bombing and poison gas; aircraft crash fires; reporting of casualties.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

LCC/FB/WAR/01: Subject and policy files; LCC/FB/WAR/02: Air raid fire reports; LCC/FB/WAR/03: Returns of air raid fire calls; LCC/FB/WAR/04: Miscellaneous; LCC/FB/WAR/LFR: London Fire Region files.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired with the records of its parent body, the London County Council.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For records of the London Fire Brigade Widows and Orphans Fund 1906-1980 see ref ACC/730, for the London Fire Engine Establishment see ref LFE. For the Metropolitan Fire Brigade 1866-1889 see records of the Metropolitan Board of Works (ref MBW). For Middlesex County Fire Service 1948-1965 see Middlesex County Council (ref MCC).

For the Auxiliary Fire Service 1938-1941 and National Fire Service 1941-1948 see also records at the National Archives.

Publication note:

For detailed accounts of the history of the London Fire Brigade, see: London's Fire Brigades - W. Eric Jackson (Longman's 1966) and A History of the British Fire Service - G. V Blackstone (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1957). For further information on the history of the LCC please see Achievement: A Short History of the London County Council by W Eric Jackson (1965), LMA Library reference 18.0 1965, The London County Council 1938, LMA Library reference 18.7 SER 4, and The Youngest County: A description of London as a county and its public services, 1951, LMA Library reference 18.0 1951.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
April to June 2009

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