James Braidwood is today honoured as the father of modern fire fighting. He died 150 years ago on 22 June 1861 in the fire at Cotton’s Wharf on Tooley Street, which was seen as the greatest fire since the Great Fire of London. His funeral a week later on 29 June 1861 drew huge crowds: some say the procession stretched for a mile and a half.
Perhaps less well known is that James Braidwood was an elder here at Crown Court, and his daughters were teachers in our Sunday School. The preacher at his funeral was Reverend Dr John Cummings, at that time Minister of Crown Court.
During the service on 26 June, we will pay tribute to the life of James Braidwood. We will be joined by representatives of various fire fighting organisations, and we also hope to welcome Jezebel, a 1916 vintage engine, although she will have to remain outside in Russell Street!