SPECIAL NOTICE : EASTER HOLIDAY OPENING TIMES
VIsitors are advised that the Museum does not currrently open on bank holidays so, regrettably will NOT BE OPEN on Good Friday, 19th April. We will be open again, as usual, on Friday 26th April and normal opening dates/times after that.
Have a lovely Easter !
MUSEUM HOSTS ITS FIRST FIRE MEMORABILIA EVENT
If you are fire memorabilia collector or enthusiast, don't miss our first Memorabilia Sale which will be held at the Museum on Sunday 5th May, as part of our monthly Open Day event. With helmets, badges, buttons, models, photographs and every kind of fire-related collectable available to be explored there will be something for everyone. The Museum and Memorabila Sale will still be free to enter as usual; prospective stallholders should contact the Museum for details of how to exhibit.
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
CHRISTMAS OPEN DAY
Our big Christmas event took place this year on Sunday 2nd December with lots of attractions. Once again we had a funfair, mini fire engine rides around the yard and the famous musical fire engine complete with snow, courtesy of our friends in Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. Santa himself also paid us a visit and spent some time with the younger visitors in his special grotto. A special treat this year was the public debut of our newly-restored 1910 steam fire engine "George V," operating in full steam for the first time since its major refurbishment.
"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.
FULWOOD STEAMER RETURNS TO LANCASHIRE
Nearly a year after arriving at the Museum for a period of loan, the 1898 Shand Mason steam fire engine, formerly of Fulwood UDC Fire Brigade. finally left Rochdale this month.
The steamer, one of the best preserved examples of its kind, had been here to commemorate the White Lund munitions explosion of 1917; the Fulwood and our own "Horrockses" steamer, are now the only two surviving fire engines to have attended the disaster and have been on exhibition together here, the first time they had been side by side in 100 years. Before returning to its normal home at the British Commercial Vehicle Museum in Leyland, the Fulwood had one more World War One duty to carry out - a special exhibition at Lancaster Castle. GMFS Museum agreed to transport the appliance safely to Lancaster with some great photo opportunities. Thanks to BCVM for this loan, which has been a wonderful addition to our displays these past months.
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.