Devonshire author pens scorching account of London’s river firefighters


A Devonshire author is set to publish his historical book this month. David C. Pike, of Barnstaple, has written Fire-floats and Fireboats. With more than 250 fascinating illustrations, it is certain to appeal to lovers of London and aficionados of history and technology.

He says of his work: “It’s an untold story. There has never been a comprehensive history published. It was a book aimed to coincide with the 150th anniversary year of London’s fire brigade. There is wealth in stories contained in the work of London’s river firefighters, many harrowing, and occasional funny but never dull.”

The talented author continues: “The book plots the development of London’s river firefighting craft, the decline of the river industries and hence London’s river fire cover and brings it up the present day with the Brigades duel role of fire and rescue. It highlights the role of the Massey Shaw fireboat, now a national heritage craft and moored in West India Dock and sales from this book go to the Massey Shaw Education Trust.”

Joining the London Fire Brigade as a cadet at the tender age of sixteen, David Pike was destined to become very much an operational firefighter. Heavily committed to raising money for fire service charities, he rowed himself into The Guinness Book of Records whilst attracting many thousands of pounds through his, and his companions’, endeavours. He retired in senior rank from the Brigade in 1996. David now lives in Devon.

Fire-floats and Fireboats, published by Austin Macauley, will be available to purchase from Amazon and all good bookshops from 15th December 2016. For more information, please visit

PR X IIAfter his autobiography Beyond the Flames and his eclectic anthology London’s Firefighters, David C. Pike’s latest book about the London Fire Brigade, Fire-Floats and Fireboats, takes as its focus the history of firefighting on the river Thames. Starting in Roman times and bringing the story right up to the present day, Pike’s comprehensive survey charts the astonishing evolution of the vessels used to combat fire from the river, pays homage to the intrepid crews of these often unwieldy craft, and vividly recreates some of the most devastating conflagrations the capital has ever seen.

With more than 250 fascinating illustrations, Fire-Floats and Fireboats is certain to appeal to lovers of London and aficionados of history and technology, but will also be enjoyed by a wide range of general readers.