Sir Eyre Massey Shaw

Our names sake, Captain Sir Eyre Massey Shaw was born on 17 January 1828 and died on 25 August 1908.

He was the Superintendent of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (now renamed the London Fire Brigade), and its predecessor, the London Fire Engine Establishment, from 1861 to 1891. He introduced modern firefighting methods to the Brigade, and increased the number of stations moving away from the previous system run by the insurance companies.

Changes to the system

He established a new rank system; introduced a new uniform that consisted of a brass or silver helmet and woollen tunic; built new fire stations and introduced advanced technology to help improve the service.

He brought in steam fire engines that could pump, on average, 300 gallons of water a minute. They were well equipped for putting out fires - as long as the boilers were kept warm enough to raise the steam.

Horses were used to pull the engines and they were housed at the station with the firefighters. Sloping floors in fire stations allowed engines to move out more easily - this was called 'on the run', a term still used today.