Salvage Corps originated out of an Act of Parliament in 1865, (The Metropolitan Fire Brigade Act), and as a result of Insurance Fire Brigades being replaced by municipally funded Fire Brigades. It is recorded that there were some 18 insurance salvage organisations, including those in Belfast, Brighton, Harrogate, Horsham, and Tunbridge Wells, but the most prominent and the longest in existence were the Liverpool Salvage Corps, (1842 – 1984), the London Salvage Corps, (1866 – 1984) and the Glasgow Salvage Corps, (1873-1984).
During the era of Insurance Fire Brigades, there were ‘Porters’ in addition to their Firemen and these Porters, who were dressed differently, would operate at fires salvaging goods and reducing losses to the Insurance Company. The role of ‘Salvagemen’ after the formal creation of the Salvage Corps was very much the same and as years past, were dressed almost identical to members of the Fire Brigade and crewed a range of vehicles built in similar design to regular fire engines, and responding from quarters styled along the lines of fire stations.
Members of the Salvage Corps faced the same dangers as members of the Fire Service and a number lost their lives in the course of their duties.
The funding for the Salvage Corps came from joint contribution from a wide range of insurance company’s.