21 Jul - 17 Sep 2006

The London Fire Brigade Archive

21 July - 17 September 2006

The Photographers’ Gallery showcases, for the first time, one of London’s most important and, to date, unseen archives. The London Fire Brigade Archive contains over 300,000 black & white and colour photographs ranging from the 1860s up to the present day.

The exhibition focuses on the period between 1930 and 1980 and includes original black & white photographs complete with their detailed captions. Many images in the exhibition concentrate on scenes from domestic incidents across London and the stories behind them.

Installation image - The London Fire Brigade Archive, 2006

Personal and individual tragedies are all presented, recorded and preserved in the detached and clinical method of the archivist. From the blackened living room after a television explosion, to the scene of a child’s bedroom where little visible damage is detected but the caption reads fatal fire. Most of the photographs depict the aftermath of an incident and their quietness and stillness leave the viewer to imagine and complete the stories for themselves.


For further information on this and past exhibitions, visit our Archive and Study Room.