Deposited by the Chief Officer, Fire Salvage Association of Liverpool Ltd., 46 Derby Road, Liverpool L20 8EH, in March 1979 and in April 1984.
Salvage Corps, of which there were three in this country, in London, Liverpool and Glasgow, were maintained by fire insurers. Their aim was to reduce the loss and damage caused by fires, to help mitigate the effects of fire and of fire-fighting and to salvage both premises and goods affected by fire.
The formation of the Liverpool Salvage Corps came about as the result of a disastrous fire in the Formby Street area of Liverpool in September 1842 which destroyed between six and seven acres of warehouses and merchandise. The financial loss had to be born by the fire insurance companies the representatives of which later met together to consider ways of minimising loss by fire in the future. It is not clear what early arrangements this body of representatives made for the more efficient collection of salvage but on 15th October 1845 there met in Liverpool a "... Committee appointed to consider the arrangements necessary to be adopted for an improvement on the system of securing Salvages in Liverpool ..." (see 368 SAL/1/1, p. 1). This Committee, composed of the Secretary of the Liverpool Fire Office and the agents of the Royal, Phoenix, Sun and North British insurance companies, resolved that "... it be recommended to the Various Offices doing business in Liverpool to establish a permanent Committee for the superintendence and Management of their Common Interest" (see 368 SAL/1/1, p. 1). The resolutions passed at this meeting were considered by the Fire Offices representatives at a meeting held in London on 24th October and it was resolved that "... a Committee be appointed in Liverpool to carry out the following objects viz:
To make needful arrangements with the Fire Police whether fixed or temporary
To appoint the Inspector of Salvage and regulate his duties ... his pay and expenses attending the securing of Salvages
To keep a register of the losses and alarms of Fire and report the same with any observations that may be called for, to the Chairman of the meetings in London
To take proper charge of all Salvages, and see to their proper distribution, associating with them for this purpose, the agent of any Office not represented in the Committee which may be largely interested"
(See 368 SAL/1/1, p. 3). On 5th November 1845 the new Committee met in Liverpool and resolved "That this Committee be called "The Liverpool Committee of the London, Liverpool and other Fire Offices (see 368 SAL/1/1, p. 5).
According to the first Annual Report of the Committee (see 368 SAL/1/1, p. 51) "... the Salvage Committee in Liverpool ... having now been in operation one year ..." its first objective had been "... the organisation of a permanent Salvage Corps ..." The functions of this Corps were
To take property out of buildings on fire and keep possession of it until the mode of its disposal shall have been determined by the Committee
To remove property out of buildings so endangered by the Fire, as to render such desirable and to deal with it in like manner
To take possession of the ruins after a Fire and all Salvage which may remain therein, and to dispose of the same in such a way as the Committee may instruct"
As regards personnel, the Committee considered that the men suitable to form such a Corps would "... require the disciplined habits of Military Life ..." Accordingly, Captain Greig, Staff Officer of the district was consulted and a number of army pensioners, many in employment as warehousemen, were enlisted as Corps men, serving for the payment of a small annual fee. All the Corps men, including the Commander, were part time staff, summoned to attend when the outbreak of fire was reported.
The Corps was financed by the contributing fire insurance offices, proportionately with the amount of duty on insurances issued by each office in Liverpool. Until 1938 an annual contribution had to be made to the fire brigade authority for their attendance at fires in premises insured with member insurance companies.
By the 1860's warehouses and their contents had increased in number and value and it was becoming obvious that the organisation of the Salvage Corps was no longer adequate. On 6th June 1866 at a meeting of the Salvage Committee it was resolved that "... a Sub-Committee be formed ... for the purpose of re-organizing the Salvage Corps" (see 368 SAL/1/2, p. 196). The outcome of this was that the Corps was remodelled on the lines of the London Salvage Corps. In December 1866 Richard Yelland of the London Salvage Corps was appointed as first full-time Superintendent of the Liverpool Salvage Corps (see 368 SAL/1/2, p. 210). As such he took over the functions of the former Commander, Secretary and Inspector of Warehouses. Early in 1867, under his control, ten full-time Corps men were appointed and this number was soon to be increased. There were to be two new depots, superseding the old one in Temple Street, which were to be fully equipped with "... a cart and appliances similar to London" (see 368 SAL/1/2, pp. 212-213). The depots were sited in Hatton Garden and Vauxhall Road, ultimately replaced by the new depot in Derby Road, the site of which was acquired in 1872.
Certain changes in title and constitution took place before 1900. By the end of 1857 the Committee was known as the Liverpool Salvage Committee. The Annual Report for 1856 (368 SAL/1/2, p. 9) is for the Liverpool Committee of the London, Liverpool and other Fire Offices. The Annual Report for 1857 (368 SAL/1/2, p. 37) is for the Salvage Committee. This title was retained until the end of 1891. From January 1892 it became the Liverpool Salvage Association. According to the Report of the Liverpool Salvage Committee for 1891 (368 SAL/1/5, pp. 9, 10) "With the close of 1891 the constitution of the Liverpool Salvage Committee as heretofore existing comes to an end, the same having been originally established in 1845. Henceforth, the Committee will be constituted and termed the "Liverpool Salvage Association" in accordance with the rules and regulations drawn up for the direction of the same by the Fire Offices Committee* and dated 23rd December 1891 ..." A major re-organisation took place in 1893, when the Association became a limited company called the Fire Salvage Association of Liverpool Ltd. The last General Meeting of the Liverpool Fire Salvage Association took place on 8th August 1893 (368 SAL/1/5, p. 227), and the first Statutory General Meeting of the Fire Salvage Association of Liverpool Ltd. on 6th October 1893 (368 SAL/3/1, p. 1). The first Executive Committee meeting of the new Fire Salvage Association took place on 25th August 1893 (368 SAL/2/1, p. 1).
The Fire Salvage Association was disbanded in April 1984 and its functions transferred to the Merseyside Fire Brigade.
* Fire Offices Committee: founded in 1868, a voluntary association of tariff fire insurance companies, acting collectively on various aspects of fire insurance business
Note of title changes
Oct. 1845 - 1857
Liverpool Committee of the London, Liverpool and other Fire Offices
1857 - Dec. 1891
Liverpool Salvage Committee
Jan. 1892 - Aug. 1893
Liverpool Salvage Association
Aug. 1893 - Apr. 1984
Fire Salvage Association of Liverpool Ltd.