Fire Insurance Marks (via Street Scenes)

Our hunt for fire marks has had limited success – nine are shown in the photos (Images 4 to 12), all but Image 12 showing the Sun Fire Office motif.  Some look too new to be original marks, and several show the same policy number, suggesting that they are recent additions.    The only company other than Sun is the Hand in Hand emblem in Prospect Place (Image 12).

We know of insurance values for some Canterbury properties through the surviving records of the companies themselves.  The Royal Exchange Fire Insurance records held at the Guildhall Library show policy details for Abbot’s Mill, insured by James Simmons in the 1790s for £1167 plus £666 for the mill wheels.

Canterbury has two other connections with fire fighting.  A local man John Whitfield claims to have invented the fire engine, and two large fire hooks, used to remove burning thatch, can be seen in the Cathedral Precincts.

There must be other fire marks in the city – do let us know if you spot one.

Sources: Gostling (1825); for images of fire marks for each company see