Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Insurance Fire Plaques

The other day while walking round Thame in Oxforshire my wife pointed out a plaque on a wall she thought was a date for the house. I explained it was an Insurance Fire Mark which were quite common on houses back in the 17th century and indicated that the house would be safe in the event of a fire, safe that is if you were up todate with your insurance the company fire brigade would extinguish it for you. Mind you only if they got there in time. I thought that the marks would be a good idea for a blog so I'll show a few of the ones I have come across

 The first time I came across them was while walking round a village called Blewbury which is just off the downs in what was Berkshire

  Along the London road I noticed this mark high up on a cottage wall.

The next time I was in the Village I spotted this one which was a different type

Then a round the corner along a road called Nottingham Fee a familiar one high on the wall of a house.

I noticed this one was in a village called Drayton just off the green. I stopped to take a photo of this mark only to be asked by a neighbor what I was doing and could they help. Nothing wrong in looking out for next door is there. I told them and they said look along the Causeway there are a number of houses with them.

They were right about that, and all of them different

Looks like it was painted over at one point

You can just make this one out forming part of the decoration at the bottom

 The next two were on the same house  I don't think they are on the original house and most likely put on as decoration

One was used as a house name
It was called Phoenix House along the Bromyard Road in Worcester

This cottage in Thame has mark on it

which I might add this is one I have not seen before.

 I will leave you with this one I saw in Drayton which was still painted. Hope you have enjoyed the ones I have shown though I could not say if the markers are on the original building, some clearly look like that are others have been moved. If you walk around an old part of a town or village in the UK and spot a marker like I have shown then you know what it is.


  1. The first time I saw these was in Chester but I had forgotten all about them until I read your post. Excellent and what a selection you have found.

  2. Never heard of this... really interesting!

  3. It's always fun to learn about something new like this and then find examples in real life. It's like knowing a special secret! Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. How intriguing! Lovely post. Who knew?!
    (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

  5. I enjoyed this post. Sort of before and after. Well done.

  6. What an intriguing thing - I've never seen them before.

  7. How fascinating. A project here.