Summary of my initial train of thought:
Research Question: What are the levels of security implemented in the shift from public to private space in Oxford and how does they relate to the perception of safety ?
Resources: Student life, student journals, student ‘handbook’, observation (visiting buildings and counting the number of entry ways/doors, porters—if any, number of floors)
Places: Oxford Brookes (from street to housing), Bodleian
Public safety—crime data, police reports
Crime in Oxford; social science library (crime stats, what kind of data is accessible)
Narrow down what kind of crime; “bike thefts in Oxford—student”
Chart murder in Oxford—locations over time; are there any laws that have changed how they occur?
Find a secondary source (someone who has written about the history of ____); murder
The Oxford Fire of 1644 – title something, what is the impact
Fire Safety Laws
National Fire Safety Laws in regards to Oxford (sample region)
Development of fire safety laws in England
Awareness of fire safety in Oxford
After what seems like forever, I’ve finally found something of interest. It stemmed from thinking: what doesn’t involve people? The human factor. The one that involves feelings and creates subjective data. At first I wanted to go with murders because, well, murders are interesting. Except–as my partner would point out–murders are generally carried out with personal intent. Then, I jumped to different crimes, but each one of them were somehow subject.
Looking through crime or incident reports, one thing stood out: fires. Immediately, I went off on that tangent and I began digging up information. There was the Oxford Fire of 1644, and immediately thought, “well, if they named it, it has to be important.” Sure enough, it spurred me on to discovering it wasn’t until 1941 that the Oxford Fire Brigade was formed–and that is mainly only attributed to the Fire Brigade Act of 1948. Essentially, there was no ‘established’ fire department until the early 20th century. Even further, the volunteer fire brigade was created in 1879, but the United States had already established Union Fire Company in 1736!
So I kept digging through legislation in England (mainly focusing on Oxford) about fire safety. Despite there being a history of fires in Oxford and the rest of the country–and the world–building regulations were not officially created until 1971. Walking around, this is clearly evident in older building within the last century having narrow and long staircases–queue memory of the Celtic Hotel–and the fact that today’s modern or updated buildings have outlets with switches.
In summary, my process for this week has mainly been combing through information and reading about the different legislations and how they relate to each other in the grand scheme of things. By creating a timeline, I am able to see how the ideas of fire safety have developed since 1644 (which I consider to be the starting point because of titled fire in Oxford during that year). I hope that my development of a timeline will help me better understand how fire safety is understood and acts undertaken to teach the public awareness of fire safety. Just because people know that fire is a bad thing, doesn’t mean they may be necessarily prepared for it when the problem arises.