London Fire Brigade

Brigade turns 150

01 January 2016

We've announced a year of celebration and fire safety events as we become 150 years old today.
Although the Great Fire of London happened 350 years ago, it wasn't until 1 January 1866 that we were formed as The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB).

The MFB came about as insurance companies told the government they were unwilling to be responsible for London's fire protection due to escalating compensation costs. 

New Year's Day Parade

The year long celebration starts today with our staff involved in the New Year's Day Parade.

The theme of the parade is magic and our head of fire investigation Charlie Pugsley, who is also a magician, will be performing tricks with specially designed fire safety themed playing cards.
Around 50 people from across the Brigade including firefighters, Fire Cadets and retired members will walk the route alongside past and present vehicles.

Our involvement in the parade is supported by Securitas.

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: "Today marks a very special day in the history of London's fire service.

"Londoners have a great affection and trust in the Brigade and that is largely down to the huge professionalism of firefighters past and present.

"While rescue is at the heart of the service, we have also had incredible success with our preventative work.

"Fires are at their lowest levels since 1966 and we will continue to increase awareness of fire safety through our proactive work to keep London safer than ever before."

Other 150 year events

Throughout 2016, there will be numerous ways the public can join in the celebrations.

We've organised a number of events to take place throughout the 150th year looking at our history and educating the public on importance fire safety information.

All events are free of charge to the public and part funding has been found from a number of sponsors.

Limited edition 150 book still on sale

The limited edition book is packed with rare images and charts our history from the formation of the MFB through to the present day London Fire Brigade led by Commissioner Ron Dobson. 

The images have been handpicked by our museum curators from pictorial archivists Mary Evans.
Every current serving London firefighter has received a free copy of the book which has been funded by sponsorship from Bristol uniforms. Members of the public can buy the book online.  

150 years of progress

We're England's busiest fire and rescue service, the busiest metropolitan fire and rescue service in the UK and one of the largest firefighting organisations in the world.

It provides services across the whole of the Greater London area, serving the capital's 8.2 million residents as well as those who work in and visit the city.
Last year, the number of fires was below 20,000 for the first time since records for Greater London began in 1966 and fire deaths have steadily declined since the 1980s.

In 1987, there were 28.5 fire deaths per million residents compared to 3.4 per million in 2014.