AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/014
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Date(s): 1844-1998
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 21 production units.
Name of creator(s): Society for the Protection of Life from Fire


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Society was formed in 1836, after a previous version, formed in 1828, had apparently been abandoned. Its original aims were: to provide a body of men and equipment (mostly forms of mobile fire escape) to be on hand to assist in rescues from fires; the examination of new inventions in, and the diffusion of information on, fire rescue and safety; and the bestowal of awards (medals, certificates or monetary gifts) for individual acts of bravery in rescuing victims from fire in London.

From 1837, under the patronage of Queen Victoria, the Society was known as the Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire, but on her death in 1901 royal patronage was withdrawn. Until 1881 annual or biannual general meetings were usually presided over by the Lord Mayor or other dignitary (in 1856 the Duke of Wellington).

In 1867 the responsibility for the fire escapes in London was transferred to the Metropolitan Board of Works, and the Society moved to provide equipment (but not manpower) to provincial towns and cities. In 1881 the Charity Commissioners were placed in charge of the appointment of trustees to run the Society, whose responsibilities were reduced merely to the granting of awards countrywide (although primarily in London).

The Society's committees originally met at a variety of locations in the City, before having a succession of bases on Ludgate Hill in the 1850s and 1860s. From 1868-73 they were based at Clifford's Inn Passage, Fleet Street; 1873-82 at 66 Ludgate Hill; 1882-1961 at 20 and then 26 New Bridge Street; and from 1961 until at least 1976 at Chichester House, High Holborn.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire comprising minutes, annual reports, summaries of cases, correspondence and related papers. The minutes contain brief details of the applications for, and grants of, awards for individual acts of bravery. The surviving annual reports give further information on the incidents where awards were granted. These are arranged as numbered cases.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records have been arranged in order reflecting the record function, e.g. administration, financial and so on.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records were presented by the Society to the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library in 2003. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

There is a typescript history of the Society, 1836-1936 in the Printed Books Section of Guildhall Library (Large pam 503).

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:
June to August 2010.

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"