London Fire Brigade

The Tooley Street fire

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Tooley Street Fire painting

Tooley Street fire

This painting shows the dramatic fire from the north side of the River Thames. Oil on canvas, artist unknown.

The fire at Cottons Wharf on Tooley Street, on 22 June 1861, was seen as the greatest fire since The Great Fire of London and took the life of James Braidwood.

Smoke was discovered at a warehouse storing hemp and jute, and within 30 minutes, the fire was raging, and spread quickly to surrounding buildings. This was mainly due to the fire resistant doors being left open in the haste of workmen leaving.

When the Fire Brigade arrived, there was a roar of fire and a wall collapsed onto James Braidwood killing him instantly. The fire lasted for 14 days. 

150th Anniversary of the Tooley Street Fire next arrow

Did you know

The loss in property from this fire was estimated at two million pounds.


Did you know

Queen Victoria watched this fire from the roof of Buckingham Palace.