This light blue building on Charlotte Street adjacent to Smeaton bridge displays a fire insurance plaque (actually a replica as the original one was stolen). The plaque is above the door below the central upper window. It is the mark of the Sun Fire Office with the property’s registration number, 10154, at the bottom.
Fire insurance marks are metal plaques marked with the emblem of the insurance company which were affixed to the front of insured buildings as a guide to the insurance company’s fire brigade. These identification marks were used in the eighteenth and nineteenth century in the days before municipal fire services were formed. The UK marks are called ‘Fire insurance plaques’.
If an insurance company Fire Brigade found the plaque of a rival insurance company they might choose to not put out the fire or else they would extinguish the blaze and charge the insuring company.
The registration number of the property is at the base of the plaque.