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Cape Breton Centre for Heritage & Science

Alarm, Fire


Accession number: 1966.012
Date: 1838
Materials: Cast Iron
Measurements: 30 cm L
Marks/Label: Front initials: G.H.H. 1838
Narrative: GHH may refer to GH Harrington, a shipper and owner of the wharf near the old market house.
Description:

A heavy cast metal bell shaped instrument with internal clapper. Painted red with black trim.  The initials GHH were cast into the side.

History of Use:

According to JG MacKinnon's Old Sydney (1918) Sydney established its first fire service in 1851 after a fire destroyed several waterfront buildings.  The Market House, at the corner of Amelia and Charlotte Streets became the volunteer fire brigard's headquarters and its market bell was pressed into service as a fire alarm.  (127)

The initials GHH may refer to GH Harrington, a shipper and owner of the wharf near the old market house.  When a merchant came to town, he alerted the town's folk of his presence by ringing the bell.   The bell is believed to be Sydney's first fire alarm system (MacKinnon, 127).  


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