FIREMAN ARTISTS

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Some members of the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) and the National Fire Service (NFS) had been professional artists, art students or commercial designers and illustrators before the war and they continued to create in their spare time between alarms and when off duty. There were also volunteer firemen who were or who became amateur artists. Amateur and professional artists were bonded by their common experience of the fire service and so were willing to exhibit together and this is how the term Firemen Artists came into being. On the 28 April 1941, the newsreel company British Path produced a short film about AFS artists which included shots of the AFS men at work both as firefighters and as artists. Several exhibitions of works by firemen artists were held at prestigious venues such as the Royal Academy, London and touring exhibitions were dispatched around the English provinces and, in 1942, a show toured Canada and the United States where it served a propaganda function. Royalties were donated to the London Fire Service Benevolent Fund.