Tom Scott

Why 18th-Century Firefighters Let Some Buildings Burn

In the 18th century, firefighters weren’t always meant to fight fires. If your building didn’t have a fire mark, they might just let it burn. The reason: fire insurance, and fire insurance companies. [CORRECTION: the plaques on the wall at 1:10 are parish boundary markers, not fire marks! The facts and words in the video are true, but those markers were misidentified in the sources I used. Apologies.]

Filmed safely:


“No pay, no spray”:
“It’s not reasonable”:
Additional stories:

The Great Fire of London painting via the Museum of London:

Images licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Fire Mark, 39 Church Trees by Alan Murray-Rust,
Fire mark of the Hand in Hand Fire & Life Insurance Society on a house in Loose by Marathon,

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