London’s first post-war black firefighter Frank Bailey. Frank Arthur Bailey came to London from Guyana in 1953 and as a political activist he joined West Indian Standing Conference.

He later attended a TUC conference and heard from a Fire Brigades Union (FBU) delegate that black people ‘were not employed by the fire service’.


He applied and joined West Ham Fire Brigade in 1955 and served at Silvertown Fire Station. Although there is information about black firefighters during WWII, it is believed Frank was the first full time black firefighter and quite possibly the first in the country.

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