Report … to the Right Hon. the Secretary of State of the Home Department concerning the Fire which occurred at the Theatre Royal, Exeter, on the 5th of September 1887 …

London: Printed for Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode … 1888.

Folio, pp. 19, [1]; title-page dusty, final leaf creased, but a good copy, disbound.


US $200€169

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First edition of Shaw’s account of the disastrous fire at the Theatre Royal, Exeter, in 1887.

Shaw (1828-1908), superintendent of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, was responsible for introducing numerous advances in fire safety in London, particularly to public venues. His treatise Fires in Theatres (1876, second edition in 1889), was followed by a ‘massive report’ on that subject in 1882 (Oxford DNB). His personal bravery in the role was matched by his easy mingling with the notables of the age, and he is now best remembered for a tribute in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe.

The theatre in Exeter was rebuilt in 1889 to new, more fire-conscious designs by Alfred Derbyshire (1839-1908), himself an amateur actor.

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