By Shane Ewen (auth.)
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Extra resources for Fighting Fires: Creating the British Fire Service, 1800–1978
The companies responded by offering £400 per annum on the condition that the Board dropped service charging entirely. 41 Citing irreconcilable differences, in June 1838 the Board disbanded the establishment, despite an increased offer of £500 per annum. 42 The instability of Glasgow’s municipal administration was the product of obfuscation and a sense of inequity between discordant interests, which inevitably became acrimonious. Keen to exert its authority in its transition into a democratic system of municipal government, the Police Board demanded additional resources from the insurance companies since they palpably beneﬁted from organized ﬁre protection.
Heterogeneity in organization sometimes spilled over into uncoordinated action on the ﬁre-ground. Lured by the offer of a ﬁnancial reward, ﬁremen from different companies actively competed to arrive ﬁrst at a ﬁre, and, while they tried to co-ordinate resources, the absence of single command and uniﬁed equipment undermined concerted action. The Police Board tried to amalgamate these competing bodies in mid-1821 by forming a ﬁre-engine committee, which purchased improved engines, erected stations and framed a set of rules ‘for the government’ of the ﬁremen when on duty.
In addition, the Caledonian, Friendly and Sun donated their ﬁre-engines to the Commissioners, in the expectation that such ‘unity of management’ would avoid the ‘wrangling and quarrelling’ among the ﬁremen. ’33 An estimated annual shortfall of £150 would therefore fall upon the Commissioners’ funds: Constructing Modern Fire Brigades 39 It is the Inhabitants at large therefore within the whole of the Town as well as its suburbs on whom the burden ought to lie or in other words on the whole districts falling within the Police Act.
Fighting Fires: Creating the British Fire Service, 1800–1978 by Shane Ewen (auth.)