Page 5 - January 2020
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Graham Maltby QFSM Past Master Alan Wells
Chair of the Charitable Trust
   The St Florian Collection
A library assembled in the lifetime of Eur Ing Patrick Anthony David (Paddy) Sheen BSc CEng PPIFireE
A library assembled in the lifetime of Eur.Ing Patrick Anthony David (Paddy) Sheen BSc CEng PPIFireE FAE FRSA
Patrick Anthony David Sheen; known to many as ‘Paddy’ a close friend or colleague; or by reputation as an acclaimed and highly respected international forensic and consulting engineer, specialising in accident and fire investigation; was a member of The Worshipful Company of Firefighters from the early days of its inception until sadly, during his 73rd year, he lost a hard-fought fight against cancer and passed away on the 28th July 2006.
Through his dedication and love for his professional work Patrick became International President of the Institution of Fire Engineers in 1991-92; He served for 10 years as a firefighter with the Peterborough Volunteer Fire Brigade whilst principal of Peterborough Regional College. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, a Member of the Society of Experts and recognised as a one of the most highly experienced forensic science investigators, specialising in fires of electrical origin. His expert analysis and opinion was sought after across most continents. Throughout his lifetime Patrick
amassed a significant number of books and various publications about fire and related topics which amounted to a unique library collection of almost 600 titles.
Shortly before he died, Patrick decided he wanted the collection to form the basis of a national library on fire. He asked the Worshipful Company of Firefighters to take custody of the collection and tasked us to preserve its integrity and ensure it was placed on permanent loan with the London Fire Brigade’s Museum at Winchester House, where it could provide a valued historical and research resource; properly managed and cared for.
With the support and cooperation of Sir Ken Knight, then Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade and the LFEPA’s agreement, Patrick was able to witness the giving of his collection into the Company’s care and, its transfer to London, secure in the knowledge that his wishes would be fulfilled.
The necessity to catalogue the collection was willingly undertaken by two Court Assistants, to whom the Company is deeply indebted. Namely, John Lowndes, a consulting engineer himself and Martin Lloyd-Elliot the Company’s Archivist. The task took several months.
Once the collection was accommodated Patrick’s widow Kathleen, accompanied by daughter Rachel and her partner, travelled from Yorkshire to London onthe3rdOctober2007andcame to Winchester House where they were welcomed by the then Master, Vivian Jones, Past Master Jeremy Beech , Martin Bonham, then Clerk
to the Company, representatives of the London Fire Brigade and the Institution of Fire Engineers. Kathleen was pleased to see the library collection, available to readers and researchers, where Patrick wanted it to be.
A service to dedicate the collection conducted by the Rev. Angus Aagaard, a London Fire Brigade Chaplain, brought an appropriate and memorable close to the fulfilment of Patrick’s wishes and the memory of a great man, who lives on in the legacy he has given us.
For Patrick, St Florian - the Patron Saint of Fire - embodied the whole concept of his life’s work and he cherished a figurine of St Florian that Kathleen had given him as an anniversary present during their life together.
Knowing the relationship Patrick embraced with St Florian, it was Kathleen’s wish that Patrick’s library collection was to be known as The St Florian Collection and today the Collection bears the title, prominently displayed, together with an ‘Appreciation of Paddy Sheen’ for all to see and read.
It was Kathleen’s express wish that she wanted The Firefighters’ Company to have the figurine of St Florian that Patrick cherished so much, and it was presented to the Company at their St Florian’s Banquet held at the Pewterers Hall on the 10th October 2007. Since then the figurine has proudly graced the table annually at the Company’s St Florian’s Banquet.
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