|James Braidwood: Founder of the world's first municipal fire service.|
The inscription reads;
To the memory of
superintendent of the
London Fire Brigade,
who was killed near this
in the execution of his
at the great fire
on 22nd June 1861
A just man and one that feared god, of good report among all the nation.
Erected by the M. or Southwark Division of the Metropolitan Police
S. H. Gardiner, New Kent Road
James Braidwood was a Scottish firefighter, who is credited with creating the modern municipal fire service.
Born in Edinburgh, in 1860, he would go on to study the construction of buildings, at his father's company, before being made Master of Fire Engines, in 1824.
He was instrumental in establishing the principles of fire-fighting, that are still used today.
He joined the London Fire Engine Establishment, in 1833, which was pivotal in saving the Palace of Westminster, when a fire ripped through the building, on October 16, 1834.
On June 22, 1861, a fire broke out at Cotton's Wharf, Tooley Street. Three hours after the fire began a wall collapsed, crushing James Braidwood. It would take two days for his body to be recovered, while the fire continued to blaze for a fortnight.
His funeral cortege, on June 29, stretched for nearly 2.5km behind the hearse.
He is buried in Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington.
James Braidwood gave evidence, on December 24, 1828, in the trial of William Burke.