SUMMER FAMILY FUN DAY
The Museum's major event of the year - our Summer Family Fun Day - turned out to be another winner with large nunbers in attendance. The few light showers deterred no-one as hundreds of family members enjoyed the Museum's attractions. The mini fire engine ride proved another popular draw, along with the famous "bubble-blowing musical fire engine" from our colleagues at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. A welcome attraction this year was the Brigade's brand new 42-metre turntable ladder appliance, which travelled from Manchester Central fire station for us. This impressive machine was giving live demonstations of its capabilities all day. Thanks also to Rochdale fire station crews, Alison and Bill's popular fairground rides and the legend that is Barry McQueen, Blackpool's famous town crier who once again declared the event well and truly "open" in his imitable style. A huge thank-you to all our visitors from far and wide who supported us for another year.
MUSEUM ON SHOW AT LOCAL GARDEN CENTRE
Our recent exhibition at the All-in-One Garden Centre, Rochdale Road, Slattocks, Middleton on Saturday 25th May was a great success with hundreds of people coming down. Two of our historic fire appliances - the 1940 Dennis pump escape and the 1910 steam fire engine "George V" were on show, as well as the museum sales stall. As well as inspecting the vehicles, visitors were able to explore our plans for the new museum and discuss the redevelopment with the volunteer team. Look out for the Museum at more external events this summer, full details on the Forthcoming Events page.
MODEL RAILWAY COLLABORATION A BIG HIT
On 16th and 17th March the Museum opened for an extra weekend to help support the Heywood Model Railway Group's annual show which was being held at the nearby Rochdale Masonic Hall. Visitors to the model show were able to combine two trips in one, park their cars at the museum and enjoy our famous home-made delights - a cracking weekend for sure ! Both venues were packed out over the two days and we were delighted to make many new acquaintances from the model railway fraternity and their families. Thanks also the HMRG for bringing their fantastic Thomas The Tank Engine child-friendly train layout to the Museum earlier this month
"GEORGE V" COMES HOME
After a year away from the Museum, one of our star exhibits - the 1910 Shand Mason steam fire engine "George V," is now back on display and raring to go. "George" has been undergoing a complete boiler refit, including new water tubes, but is now in full working order several years after its last steaming. The fire engine was originally delivered to the Skelmersdale Fire Brigade in Lancashire and named after the new king. When the fire service was nationalised in 1941, it was still on station, so the bosses at the Manchester headquarters decided it was time to retire "George." The engine was brought to the Regional Training School and never left Manchester. The picture shows "George" undergoing a steam test at the Museum prior to its first public showing at the Christmas Open Day on 2nd December.
CHECK OUT OUR EXCITING REDEVELOPMENT PLANS
FURTHER TO OUR SUCCESSFUL HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND DEVELOPMENT AWARD IN 2016, THE MUSEUM HAS BEEN WORKING WITH A TEAM OF SPECIALIST CONSULTANTS, ARCHITECTS AND DESIGNERS AND CAN NOW GO PUBLIC WITH OUR PLANS FOR AN EXCITING NEW FIRE MUSEUM.
Although our exisitng building - the former Rochdale Fire Brigade workshops - has served us well for over 30 years, we have long-since outgrown it. The collection, and our many visitors and friends, deserve something better. Now, plans are coming together for a brand new museum in the former Rochdale Fire Station next door, which will give us a four-fold increase in display space, a dedicated education area, cafe, shop, library, archive and research room and an all-important street frontage directly opposite the Metrolink stop. Our popular Manchester Blitz and Victorian Street tableaux will be re-created in the new museum and original features of the fire station, such as the hose tower and pole drop will become important displays in their own right. The project will depend on further funding coming through by Summer 2018 and, if successful, the new Museum could be ready as soon as the end of 2019. Do have a look at the plans and artist's impressions here and please feel free to send your comments on the proposals to us here at the Museum. We look forward to seeing you in our new home before long.