Victorian London - Charities - Society for the Preservation of Life from Fire

Society for the Preservation of Life from Fire: office, 47 Ludgate Hill; secretary, Mr. S. Low, jun.; was first established in 1836, but not fully organised until 1843. It maintains, in different parts of the Metropolis, 73 fire-escape stations, usually at distances of about half a mile from each other. At each station there is a fire-escape, attended throughout the night by a conductor well instructed in its use, and provided with all necessary implements. From 1843 to March 31, 1861, the Society's fire-escapes have attended no less than 5211 fires, and rescued 670 lives. Great - as is the amount of good represented by these simple figures, much more would have been and could be effected - if the public tendered a more liberal and constant support. The total receipts for 1861 were 7794l. 17s. 2d., which, with the balance from 1860, gives an aggregate of 8843l. 4s. 0d. The expenditure amounted to 7470l. 3s. 9d., leaving a balance in hand of 1373l. 0s. 3d. The fire-escape in use is Abraham Wivell's; its height varies from 43 ft. to 45 ft., and by means of a supplemental ladder even 60 feet can, if necessary, be obtained. Each machine weighs 8 cwt., and costs 60l.

Cruchley's London in 1865 : A Handbook for Strangers, 1865