The Museum tells the story of firefighting, particularly in the Greater Manchester region. The area has played a significant role in the story of fire brigades and fire engineering. Manchester formed England’s first municipal fire service in 1826, whilst the country’s earliest motorised fire engine was delivered to Eccles in 1901.
Pioneering and innovative chief fire officers such as Alfred Tozer and George Parker in Manchester, John Eccles of Rochdale and Albert Bentley in Salford helped forge the reputation of our local fire brigades through their revolutionary measures and technical skills. In later years, the Greater Manchester Fire Service (now Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service) continued these traditions through its high-level safety campaigning and proud operational record.
Over the past 200 years, our local fire services have had to deal with every type of incident, from house fires to cotton mill blazes, from all kinds of industrial fires to major ship, road, rail and aircraft incidents, as well as two world wars and terrorist incidents of national significance.
The area was also noted as an important centre of manufacture for fire engines, fire hose and equipment. Companies such as William Rose, John Morris and Mather & Platt achieved universal success in their particular fields.
Twenty-three larger exhibits make up the appliance fleet, supported by many other items of firefighting equipment, uniforms, models, medals and insignia, paintings, curios and other objects. The Museum also holds several items related to the famous Tozer family of fire chiefs.
Some parts of the Museum are laid out to represent period tableaux, such as a Victorian fire station and a Second World War ”Blitz” scene. As with many other museums, there are several additional items not currently on display, due to limitations of space or duplication, but which can be seen by prior appointment.
Originally opened in 1983 as the Brigade Museum of Greater Manchester County Fire Service, the Museum has operated as an independent, charitable trust since 2010. Through a unique Partnership Agreement, the Museum Trust retains its close ties with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, which is a major stakeholder and corporate member and which provides an annual support grant to the Museum.
The Museum is affiliated to Fire Heritage Network UK (FHNUK), the Association of Independent Museums, the Historic Commercial Vehicle Society and the Motoring Collections Network. The Museum also serves as the head office for FHNUK and its Curator is currently Secretary of the Network.
We are registered as ”Working Towards Accreditation” with Arts Council England . In 2010, the Museum was awarded full accreditation from Visit England under the VAQAS (Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme) arrangements and in 2014 was awarded the Quality Badge of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.
The Museum offers educational visits for pupils and students of all ages from reception to A-level. Regular topics include The Great Fire of London, People Who Help Us, Victorians, Uniforms and The Blitz. Please visit Our Education Services pages for further details of how to arrange a visit, plus study material and summaries of the topics we can cover.
For Visitor Information. Local Brigade History, Forthcoming Events, or Shop Sales, or if you wish to Contact Us , please follow the appropriate links.