What is a ‘Davy Descender’?

Upon visiting Handel’s House Museum/Hendrix’s flat in London last Saturday, I noticed an odd looking object on the wall in the corner of Jimi Hendrix’s bedroom.

I done some research on the object and found out that it’s a ‘Davy Descender’. But what is a Davy Descender?

davy11
A Davy Descender.

A Davy Descender is a fire escape hoist that were installed in many top floor flats in London in the 1960’s in case of fire. It allows quick emergency escape by providing automatic, controlled descent. The unit operates by allowing a cable with a sling at each end to pass through a geared braking unit which controls the descent rate at a steady speed. Unlike other evacuation devices the Davy Descender has two evacuation slings. When one sling descends the second sling ascends allowing multiple evacuations to be performed.

Jimi Hendrix lived at the top floor flat of 23 Brook Street with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham from July 1968 to March 1969, although apparently their Davy Descender didn’t work!

Davy Descender
How a Davy Descender is used.

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