Monday, 9 January 2012

Golden Sun

This is a fire insurance mark, high up on the side of a building on High Street. It dates from the 1700s. In those days each insurance company had its own 'fire brigade'. When there was a fire the 'fire brigade'  would seek to extinguish the flames in those buildings with the company's markers first. Uninsured buildings would be left, often with disastrous consequences for neighbouring properties. It was similar to the present US health care system. This free market approach to fire fighting was incompatible with protecting property so municipal fire brigades grew up paid for by taxes. I guess it's easier to get people to pay to protect property than to protect health.

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