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The cost of the London Fire Brigade is, thanks to Captain Shaw's admirable organisation, still small as compared with some other unhydranted cities. In New York, as already stated, the cost is very much greater for less than a third the population and area. There the average annual cost for the three years, 1880–3, was over £288,000, and it appears to be growing almost as rapidly as that of London, though on the other hand the population there is growing more rapidly. Paris, also another practically unhydranted city with half the population, spends proportionately more than London for fire extinction.

In Paris, the water supply is partly pumped, and partly acts by gravitation. Street hydrants have, to some extent, been introduced. In certain cases, where the pressure is sufficient, they are used without the intervention of fireengines, but the water supply is not such as to admit of this being done generally. It is intended, however, to increase the number of hydrants to 8000, and ultimately to make them universal, and to dispense with fire-engines. The total daily supply of water is about 82 million gallons. The population is 2,269,000, and the area 29 square miles, The fire-brigade, numbering 1743 officers and men, is an armed force lent for this special service by the Minister of War, and is not called out for purposes of war. There are 11 barracks, 10 steam fire-stations, and 80 small stations in addition to 40 look-outs ; there are also 12 steam and 80 manual fire-engines. The average annual cost of the fire extinguishing service is £ 86,600 for the two years, 1883 and 1884, or about £38 35. per 1000 of the population, but this cost does not include the rent and repairs of the barracks, quarters, &c., which belong to the Prefecture of the Seine. The estimated annual average losses for the three years, 1880, 1881, and 1882, were £ 431,300, or about £122 1os. per 1000 of the population.

The question of the cost of fire extinction, again, is no the sole consideration ; behind that there is the question of fire loss, or the destruction of property by fire, and the loss of life. Putting aside the last and highest question as being one not altogether dependent upon the extinguishing service, I propose now to direct attention to the question of fire losses as affected by the absence or presence of efficient hydrant services.

In describing the hydranted cities, I have already given the fire losses in four of them, viz., Glasgow, Manchester, Dublin and Birmingham, in accordance with the published estimates, and I have shown that the losses are-in Glasgow £215, in Manchester £234. in Dublin £125, and in Birmingham £26 IIs. per 1000 of the population. In the case of New York, the losses are published in detail, and amount to about £710 per 1000 of the population, as compared with £588, the loss in the metropolis, as estimated by myself.

The Table A (on p. 562), has been prepared in accordance with the facts I have stated ; but in order to give the figures a practical bearing in the case of the metropolis, I have added two columns which give the costs and losses of a place having the population of London, at the same rates as each of the places considered. It will be seen that the annual cost of extinction by hydrants, if it were at the same rate as Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, and Birmingham, would be from £30,000 to £40,000 ; and at the same rate as Dublin, £50,000; while if it were at the same rate as New York, the cost would be £886,000, instead of £99,880, the average annual cost in London in the years 1880–2.

The diagram H (shown on the wall) has been prepared from Captain Shaw's table already referred to, and it seems to place the value of efficient hydranting in a very striking light. From the table referred to have been compiled the figures, giving the cost of the fire brigades in a number of important towns at the date of the compilation of the table (1877). The cost in the hydranted cities, viz., Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, and Dublin, has been shown in red. The blue line shows the cost in a number of American cities. Paris and London, having populations respectively twice and over threefold as great as New York, are not shown, but from the table and the remarks upon it, it will be gathered that in both those cases the cost would be far above the rates shown by the red colour, which has been extended to embrace a place of the size of New York.

In the foregoing remarks, I have simply taken population as the basis of comparison between the several places. I do not pretend to say that there are not exceptional considerations apart from the question of water supply, such as areas, character and proximity of buildings, habits of people, and so on, which would, and no doubt do, materially influence results, but the distinction between the hydranted and unhydranted places is so broad and marked where the places are of such different characters on the one hand as Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, and Dublin, and on the other hand as London, New York, Paris, and Birmingham, that it must appear to all that the absence or presence of efficient hydranting far outweighs any other consideration.

It now remains for me simply to add that, having for some years devoted much study to the subject, I believe that, notwithstanding all the difficulties, only the chief of which have been adverted to here, there are methods-or perhaps I ought rather to say there is a method—by which such cities as London, New York, and Paris may be efficiently hydranted at a comparatively small cost, and practically with very trifling inconvenience, which method I have already described in papers read at the last meeting of the British Association, and before the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

It is, however, obviously impossible, within the limits of a single paper, to discuss the whole question. I therefore content myself on this occasion by advancing the proposition that efficient hydrants form, as far as our experience goes, the only effective weapon with which fire brigades can successfully cope with fires.

£ s.




821,542 895,644 476,050 101,287

234 16 124 16

26 II


587 19




Average of 3 years, 1880, 1881, 1882.

Population, 1881.

Area Square


Cost of Fire


Cost of Fire
Brigade per 1000


Cost of Fire
Brigade of Me-
tropolis at same


Loss.- Property
destroyed by


Loss.- Property

Loss of Property
destroyed by

in Metropolis
Fire per 1000

at same rate. Inhabitants.


Liverpool .
Birmingham, 1882-3 .

341, 508



£ s.
9 14
IO 6
Іо 8
13 3
7 18


80, 180
31, 144



New York
IParis, 1883-4

1, 240,000



26 232 $ 38

8 3

886,490 145,500

2, 242,400

880,000 16431,300

709 14 ||192 10

2,242,400 2,707,150


• The term "hydranted" and "unhydranted” indicate the presence or absence in each place of a complete system of hydrants which are used for fire extinction without the intervention of fire engines.

+ The cost of the Fire Brigade has been reduced from £3616 in 1880, to £3053 in 1882.

A large number of fire hydrants have been put down, and some have been used without the intervention of fire engines, but the average pressure is not such as to
admit of this being generally done.

Average of 1883 and 1884, exclusive of rent and repair of quarters, barracks, &c.
Average of 1880, 1881, and 1882.



By JOSEPH QUICK, Jun., M.Inst.C.E.

Next to the importance of securing a supply of water of good quality for the requirements of a city or town, is that of its distribution, for however superabundant the source may appear to be, the advantages to be derived from its use, and the number of those whom it may benefit, must necessarily be in a great measure dependent upon the way in which it is distributed.

The author does not propose to enter here into the question as to the works necessary to bring an ample supply of water into a city or district, but assumes, for present purposes, that such works have been well executed, and that properly proportioned distributory pipes have been laid, and service reservoirs or other means provided for affording a supply of water at high pressure throughout the district to be supplied.

The history of the water supply in England is eminently instructive, as showing not only the various phases through which it has passed as refinement and sanitation have advanced; but also as proving the absolute necessity of proper control being exercised with regard to its distribution,

Not to weary my hearers with unnecessary detail on this point, it may suffice to refer to the discussions which have taken place during past times, as to the relative merits and practicability of the systems known as “intermittent" and “constant” supply respectively.

It is within the author's recollection when it was the exception, instead of being, as it is to-day, the rule for towns in England to enjoy the advantages of constant supply ; but up to this moment there are many instances,

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