Statutes for preventing Fires. 240

Statutes for preventing Fires.

This Notice was published in Print; being dated at Guildhall, the 15th of October 1681.

Pursuant to this, at a Common Council, Sir John Moore Maior, November 16. 1681. it was agreed, That Books should be prepared by the First of December following, and lodged in the Chamber of London, for Receiving and Entring Subscriptions: And that Lands and Ground Rents belonging to the City, to the Value of One Hundred Thousand Pounds, should be forthwith settled as a Fund, to ensure such Houses as should be subscribed for. And that hereafter, as Subscriptions should be made, a further additional Fund, by the Prœmium which should be received, should be made. The Prœmium for Ensuring Brick Houses, to be 4l. per Cent.; and for Timber Houses, 8l. per Cent.

A Fund of 100000l. to be settled for it.

But this would not take; perhaps, because the Credit of the City at this Time was but low.

These sad Accidents in the City by Fire, occasioned oftentimes by the Negligence of Servants taking Tobacco, or not putting out their Candles, or putting Live Embers in dangerous Places, or otherwise; moved the Parliament, in the Seventh Year of Queen Anne, to make an Act; wherein was a Clause for the Punishment of such Servants. And by an Act of Common Council, Sir William Withers Maior, it was thought fit to be printed and made publick, and to be sent into all the Wards of the City; that all Persons whatsoever might be the better acquainted with it. And was as followeth.

The Punishments of Servants, by whose Carelesness Fires happen.

Martis, viijo Die Junij, Anno Dom. 1708. Annoque Regni Reginæ ANNæ, Magnæ Britanniæ &c. Septimo.


"IT is this Day ordered by the Court, That the Clause relating to Servants in a late Act of Parliament, entituled, An Act for the better Preventing Mischiefs that may happen by Fire, be forthwith Printed, and sent into the several Wards of this City, and by the Beadles delivered to every Housekeeper; that all Servants may be acquainted with the same, and know the Penalties therein contained: Which Clause hereafter follows; Viz. "

" AND WHEREAS Fires often happen by the Negligence and Carelesness of Servants, Be it therefore enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Menial, or other Servant or Servants, through Negligence or Carelesness, shall Fire, or cause to be Fired, any Dwelling House, or Out-House or Houses; such Servant or Servants, being thereof Lawfully Convicted, by the Oath of one or more credible Witnesses, made before Two or more of Her Majesties Justices of the Peace, shall Forfeit and Pay the Sum of One Hundred Pounds, unto the Churchwardens of such Parish where such Fire shall happen; to be distributed amongst the Sufferers by such Fire, in such Proportions as to the said Churchwardens shall seem just. And in case of Default, or Refusal to pay the same immediately after such Conviction; the same being lawfully demanded by the said Churchwardens; That then, and in such Case, such Servant or Servants shall, by Warrant under the Hand of Two or more of Her Majesties Justices of the Peace, be committed to some Workhouse, or House of Correction, as the said Justices shall think fit, for the Space of Eighteen Months; there to be kept to hard Labour. " GIBSON.

A Statute was made, 7. Regin, Annæ, Cap. 17. for Preventing of Fires; That Engines should be provided and kept in every Parish, and Stockblocks, and Fire Cocks, and other Implements and Materials for that Use. But that if the Vestries within the Weekly Bills of Mortality, shall think it necessary to have more than one great Engine, or Hand Engine, they may provide it at the Parish Charge, by Assessment to be made.

Engines to be kept in every Parish.

And concerning Party Walls, in the same Statute it was enacted, That they be wholly of Brick or Stone, excepting the Houses built upon London Bridge. And that all Houses to be built on old or new Foundations, within the Bills of Mortality, except on London Bridge, and on the River Thames below Bridge, shall have Party Walls between House and House, wholly of Brick or Stone; except Door Cases, Windows, Lentils, &c.

Party Walls.

All Party Walls to be built Nine Inches on each Man's Ground, &c.

The Splendor and Advantages to which the City is now advanced, tho' by means of that sad Providence, Dr. Woodward, of Gresham College, (excellently skilled in Roman and Ancient Learning, as well as in his own Science of Physick) hath expressed in a private Letter to Sir Christopher Wren; "That the Fire of London, however disastrous it might be to the then Inhabitants, had proved infinitely Beneficial to their Posterity, and to the Increase and vast Improvement, as well of the Riches and Opulency, as of the Buildings. And how by the means of the common Sewers, and other like Contrivances, such Provision was made for Sweetness, for Cleanness, and for Salubrity; that it is not only the Finest and Pleasantest, but the most Healthy City in the World. Insomuch that for the Plague, and other infectious Distempers, with which it was formerly so frequently annoyed; and by which so great Numbers of the Inhabitants were taken off, but the very Year before the Fire, (viz. Anno 1665) an Experience of above Forty Years since hath shewn it so wholly freed from, that he thought it probable it was no longer obnoxious to, or ever again likely to be infested by those so fatal and malicious Maladies."

State of the City, by means of the Rebuilding of it.

J. Woodward, M.D.

Concerning Rom. Antiq. digged up near Bishopsgate.