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Fire marks

- plates issued by insurance companys and fixed to buildings to enable the company to identify which buildings were insured by them. A vast number of designs evolved, there were over 150 companies and most of them produced a number of variants. Many of them feature a policy number. They were constructed in a variety of materials, from lead through to copper, iron and tin, and are usually around 10 inches high. The first marks date from the later 1600's, and some companies continued to use them into the 1900's. Many have been lost through demolition, and they are popular with collectors, but they can still be seen and can add enormously to the character and interest of a building. Where the building is listed they should be retained, although almost inevitably, for the above reasons and the fact that owners like to take them when they move, not all are original to the buildings.