Monday, 23 October 2017

Hidden Henley

SEVERAL old buildings in Henley have metal plaques indicating that they were insured against fire more than 200 years ago.

SEVERAL old buildings in Henley have metal plaques indicating that they were insured against fire more than 200 years ago.

This is one of two plaques at the Bull pub in Bell Street.

Back in the 18th century if you didn’t have such a marker and you suffered fire damage or were rendered homeless, you would find yourself at the mercy of charity. Pleas for goodwill help were read out by the vicar at the Sunday church service.

Following the Great Fire of London in 1666, the first fire insurance companies were formed and badges such as the Sun Fire Office one pictured here were displayed on insured buildings.

When there was a blaze at an insured building, firemen would tackle it but if there was no plaque, often the crews would not bother and go home, leaving the residents and any willing neighbours to do the best they could to fight the flames.

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