Born in Edinburgh in 1800 and educated at the Royal High School, James Braidwood was the first ‘Master of Engines’ in Edinburgh which established the world’s municipal fire service.
In 1833 Braidwood became the first director of the London Fire Engine Establishment which eventually became London Fire Brigade.
On 22 June 1861 Braidwood died fighting the Tooley Street fire in Cotton’s Wharf, near London Bridge after a wall fell on him. It took two days to find his body.
His heroism prompted a massive turnout at his funeral, with the cortege stretching back a mile and a half.
On 05 September 2008, the James Braidwood memorial statue in Parliament Square, Edinburgh was unveiled by Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea, Principal of the University of Edinburgh.