The Victorian Era
Although the Victorian era began with the coronation of the Queen in 1837, for the purposes of this historical summary reference will be made to the whole of the 19th Century. This was a great formative period in relation to the creation and organisation of of fire brigades, to firefighting and fire prevention, to the provision of water mains which could be used for firefighting and to the improvement of firefighting equipment.
At the beginning of the 19th Century, the earliest properly constituted volunteer fire brigade in Kent was formed in Hythe in 1802. Many other brigades were also formed throughout the county during the 19th Century, particularly in the cities and towns where the population was greatest.
But parish overseers, churches, great houses and growing industries also began to provide firefighting apparatus in the form of early hand operated pumps, buckets, hose carts, ladders and hooks for pulling down buildings and thatch, and other equipment.