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Biography for Abraham Wivell

Born:1786-07-09 - Marylebone, London
Died:1849-03-29 - Birmingham


Abraham Wivell invented the Fire Escape. Born in Marylebone, London in 1786, Wivell was apprenticed at the age of 14 to a wig maker and hairdresser, but later took up painting as a career. In the 1820's Wivell became interested in fire protection. Whilst the insurance brigades of the early 19th century were active preventing loss to their policy holders property, there was as yet little concerted attempt to prevent loss of life from fire. Accordingly a series of voluntary societies grew up with special interest in saving life from fire. In 1836 he became superintendent of fire escapes to the recently formed "Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire". Wivell spent a great deal of time and money in perfecting his fire escape. Due to his Advocacy 85 fire escape stations were established in the London district and maintained by the Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire. By 1849 Birmingham had acquired one of Wivell's which was kept at the Police Station in New Street. He held the Post until 1841 when he resigned over after a dispute with the Society, and moved to Birmingham where he resumed his artistic career. In 1849 he died of Chronic Bronchitis in Birmingham.

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