The first fire brigades were established as a result of the Great Fire of London in 1666 which destroyed 13,000 homes, 84 churches, 44 livery halls plus numerous commercial and public buildings. Remarkably, only six people were killed. These first fire brigades were formed and maintained by insurance companies and a plaque unique to each insurance company identified properties covered. It was not until the passing of the Fire Brigade Act in 1938 that the provision of a Fire Brigade became a formal requirement.
In 1941 all localized brigades were brought together under the common National Fire Service who combined and standardized the available resources following the end of World War II. The Fire Services Act 1947 handed the running of brigades back to the County Borough Councils. The change of the county boundaries in 1974 saw a further re-organisation take place.
At that time the Fire Services in England were broadly divided into two categories, Metropolitan Services and Shire Services.
The Metropolitan Fire Services were: -Tyne and Wear-London-Greater Manchester-Merseyside-South Yorkshire-West Midlands-West Yorkshire
Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Fire Brigade was established in 1974 made up of four former smaller brigades and parts of two other brigades (Durham County, Northumberland County, Newcastle and Gateshead, Sunderland, South Shields and Tynemouth) and was managed by the Chief Fire Officer at Pilgrim Street Headquarters, Newcastle upon Tyne. Since 1986, the Service has been the responsibility of the Tyne & Wear Fire & Civil Defence Authority (Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority as of 2005).
Badges of Tyne & Wear