The Fire Mark Circle
The Fire Mark Circle was founded in 1934, as a focal point for collectors
of Fire Marks and other associated historical memorabilia dating back to
the 18th Century, when The Fire Insurance Companies of that and the next
century provided the Fire Brigades of today.
The Insurance Companies issued
gloriously decorative insignia, or Fire Marks, to identify the buildings
which they insured and to advertise their business.|
Fire Marks today
are keenly collected by a variety of enthusiasts and can be bought for as
little as £40 or £50, although rarer subjects may exchange hands for three
or four figure sums.
Collectors are also interested in old Fire
Insurance Documents, Insurance Company Firemans Badges, leather Fire
Buckets, Helmets and Medals, etc,.|
The Fire Mark Circle has just under
200 members thoughout the United Kingdom and a few Overseas Members.
Some of the latter have associated societies in their own
countries, including Australia, and Italy.
The British Fire Mark Circle meets
twice a year. Once in the Spring, usually April, and once in the Autumn,
usually October. The April meeting is normally an afternoon occasion held
at the Chartered Insurance Institute in London.
The Autumn meeting takes the form of a weekend break at an
interesting location, anywhere in the country. Past venues have included
Cambridge, Liverpool, Stratford-upon-Avon and Guernsey. Many members bring
their wives or partners to the autumn meetings, there is always a 'non Fire
Mark' programme laid on and the Circle has become a very friendly and
The emblem of the Fire Mark Circle is the Fire Mark at the
top of each page of this web site. This mark was designed for a very early
and short lived Fire Insurance Company known as 'The Friendly Society'
(1683-1730c) and the Fire Mark Circle is a most friendly society!
The format of the Circles' meetings normally includes one
or more guest speakers, who talk on an appropriate topic, followed by an
Auction of Fire Marks and other memorabilia (A useful facility for
collectors and those wishing to dispose of surplus items). There is also
usually a Swap/Buy stall.
Prices achieved at these Members Auctions are
generally close to those realised at professional auction houses, however,
the rate of commission charged is considerably less, there being no buyers
premium and only a modest sellers premium.
The Circle publishes a Newsletter 'FMC News' twice a year and members are encouraged to provide
collecting, historical or related material for inclusion.
Click here to view a sample copy
(A .PDF file of 3.5MB which opens in a new window).
Membership of The Fire Mark Circle.
Membership is available to all who may be interested. The Annual Subscription is
currently £20 and a joining fee of £10 is payable in the first year.
As well as FMC News twice a year, a Spring Meeting/AGM in London and Autumn weekend meeting
in the UK - both with auctions. Members also benefit from use of the Circles' library
and the Lead Fire Mark rarity guide. The Circle also has an 'in situ' Fire Mark register and
a Fire Marks 'in museums' register.
Advice on identifying fakes and reproductions is also available.
membership year runs from 1st April to 31st March and if you join after 31st
December, your subscription will start from 1st April.
If you would like more information or to join The Fire Mark Circle please click the
'Contact us' link where you can download a membership application form.
(Photos: British Crown & Bristol Union; R. Addis. All others P. Baldwin)