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(Specialist Talk) – The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service: 200 years of History

11th July @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Please note that this talk takes place at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh. Reserve your free tickets on their website: https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/scottish-fire-and-rescue-service-200-years-history


The world’s first public and local authority funded Fire Service was established in the city of Edinburgh in 1824. However, humans have always needed to muster together to extinguish fires and our history goes beyond 200 years. From the Romans to the Scottish Act of 1426 to Insurance Fire Brigades we will cover methods of fire fighting over the centuries leading up to 1824.

In 1824, two things happened that would change the trajectory of firefighting in Scotland. First was the appointment of a young man named James Braidwood as the first Edinburgh Master of Engines in October. Then less than a month later the Great Fire of Edinburgh would sweep through Old Town becoming one of the most destructive fires in the history of the city. These two key events saw the destruction of a historic area of the city but gave rise to new methods and procedures in firefighting that would shape the city and then the country.

Dave Farries QFSM is our speaker. He is a retired Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Watch Commander, having joined the fire service in 1968 and was the longest serving firefighter at the time of his retirement in August 2023. Dave dedicated 55 years of his life to public service working as a firefighter, fire service instructor and investigator, in 2014 he was awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal (QFSM). He built up a wealth of knowledge about the history of the fire service and its historical collection working within the SFRS Heritage team.  



City Art Centre
2 Market St
Edinburgh, EH1 1DE United Kingdom
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