Prior to the establishment of a city municipal fire service, citizens who wished for their premises to be secure in the event of fire had to seek protection from insurance companies in Dublin. Buildings which were covered by insurance were marked by a small ‘fire mark’. Recently, we featured a post on one of the few remaining fire marks in Dublin, which is above a fine pub in Kilmainham.
In his history of the Cork fire service, For Whom The Bells Tolled, Pat Poland noted that:
The firemark served a number of purposes: it marked the property so it was obvious to all that the building was covered by insurance, it acted as an advertisement for the insurance company, and it let firemen responding to a call in no doubt as to which particular building was insured with their office.
The below is an example of fire policy itself, which would be given to the insured party as proof of payment. I thought it worth scanning up. The illustration is fantastic, with the company ‘The Patriotic Assurance Company’, availing of strong Irish symbolism, for example the harp. Notice the old Irish Parliament building features behind. Of course, this was long in the ownership of the Bank of Ireland by the time this insurance policy form was printed.
Inside, the same great illustration appears.