This photograph shows Massey Shaw, Chief Officer of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade wearing the uniform he introduced. The uniform consisted of a brass, or silver helmet, and a woollen tunic.
Captain Sir Eyre Massey Shaw took over the Brigade after James Braidwood died, and changed it significantly. He established a new rank system and uniform, built new fire stations and employed new technology to improve the service.
Shaw was well known throughout society for the work he was doing. He was friends with the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) who enjoyed being taken out to the scene of large fires.
In 1889 the London County Council was formed and took away Shaw’s sole control over the Brigade. After 30 years of service he retired in 1891.