REUNION OF TWO GREAT WAR HEROES
As part of a new exhibition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of two major north west disasters in 1917, the only two surviving fire engines which attended the White Lund (Morecambe) munitions explosion in October 1917 are now together again, on display at the Museum. Our own 1882 Shand Mason steam fire engine, which has been on loan to the National Emergency Services Museum in Sheffield for several years, has returned home and been joined by the Fulwood UDC steamer, also a Shand Mason and dating from 1898. The Fulwood appliance is now on loan to us by courtesy of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and the British Commercial Vehicle Museum. Both steamers attended the major disaster at White Lund when No.13 National Shell Filling Factory blew up, killing several members of the works fire service and causing major damage. Fire brigades from all over the North West, including as far away as Liverpool, Salford, Bolton and Manchester were called in - unheard of at that time - with the Manchester crew being the first outside brigade to enter the works, where they found a scene of utter destruction. The exhibition, which will run until mid-October, tells the story of White Lund, also of the great Ashton-under-Lyne munitions explosion of June 1917, which killed over 40 local people and was, in many ways, a more devastating incident. Through original photographs and reports we explore the many problems for fire brigades encountered in the First World War, also the medals and awards which were won.
A BRILLIANT SUMMER OPEN DAY !
The Museum's biggest event of the year took place on Sunday 4th June, in glorious sunshine (apart from one brief but heavy shower). With record attendance, great attractions for all the family and a wonderful atmosphere, this was our best summer event at the Museum in years. As well as the Museum's own fleet of historic fire engines and equipment, visitors were able to see modern fire appliances from Rochdale and Oldham fire stations, a wonderful wartime Austin and trailer-pump which travelled all the way from Lancaster, and some craft stalls. Our regular funfair, face painter and "bouncy fire engine" all did a roaring trade and the children had a great time trying on the firefighters' uniforms and operating the hose. Some even got to ride on the 26-metre hydraulic platform. Official Blackpool Town Crier, Barry McQueen, opened the proceedings in his inimitable style.
MUSEUM WORKS WITH LOCAL ART STUDENTS
As part of the many research activities in progress related to Manchester's London Road Fire Station, the Museum is working with students from Manchester School of Art as they create some fantastic and varied works of art inspired by the famous old fire station. The BA and MA students are partway through their respective projects and already producing some amazing photography, film, sculpture, ceramics, , interior design, graphics and more traditional artwork, with the Museum's help. As part of their work, the students were given unfettered access to the station, thanks to its enthusiastic new owners Allied London, and have already uncovered hidden stories, explored long-forgotten corners and met former residents as they research every angle of this station. In March, a number of students spent the day at the Museum getting stuck into our archives to help interpret the more practical discoveries at the station.
Whilst, for the students, this is an important part of their academic work,the discoveries currently being made will also add to the Museum's own knowledge of this unique building.
It is hoped that, once completed, an exhibition of this creative work will be held at the Museum later this year.
1910 STEAMER GOES INTO REHAB
1910 STEAMER GOES INTO REHAB
After several years of inactivity, the Museum's "pride and joy" - our 1910 Shand Mason steam fire engine named "George V" has now been taken in to the workshop for a major refit, after which it should be back in full operating condition. Inside the gleaming brass boiler casing is a network of copper tubes which, sadly, have a limited life and - once a tube is "blown" or leaks, then the steam engine cannot work. "George" was originally delivered to the Skelmersdale Fire Brigade in West Lancashire and, after the war passed into the fleet of the Manchester City Fire Brigade. When the Museum was formed in the 1980s, "George" became one of the stars of the collection and has been "in steam" at many events over the years, until a faulty tube about seven years ago put a halt to that. Now, the Museum Trust is investing a sum of money into having the boiler re-tubed and the old appliance brought back to working order. With luck, we shall see "George" steaming happily again at Museum Open Days before too long. The photos show "George" being delivered to the boiler engineers near Matlock in March. Watch this space and listen for that whistle !
MUSEUM ON TV
The Museum team spent a busy day at the beginning of February working with a BBC film crew making a documentary on the fire service. Great interest was shown in our manual fire pumps, steamer and motor appliance collection and the past career experiences of the team. To assist with the filming, our friends at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Heritage Collection sent over their wonderful 1949 Dennis F7 pump escape, in the capable hands of old friend Barrie Green, who put the lovely limousine through its paces for the BBC. The opportunity was not wasted to get some great shots of LFM 200 "turning out" of the Maclure Road fire station, a sight which brought back wonderful memories of Rochdale Fire Brigade Dennis days. Further details about the broadcasting of what should be a great programme will be announced on this site.
LONDON ROAD FIRE STATION "LIVING MEMORIES" PROJECT
LONDON ROAD “LIVING MEMORIES” SOUGHT FOR POSTERITY
Did you live or work at Manchester’s London Road Fire Station?
Former firefighters, police officers and their families are now being sought to assist with a unique project to record the history of the London Road Fire Station before redevelopment of the site begins in earnest this year.
The iconic building opposite Piccadilly Railway Station served for eighty years as Manchester’s central fire station, a police station and Coroner’s court, and was home to hundreds of firemen and their families from 1906.
Manchester School of Art and Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum have teamed up with building owners Allied London in a special project to record the memories of those who knew the fire station best, for future generations to understand. Former residents and staff are being asked to help by revealing their favourite stories and memories of the old station.
“We are trying to capture the last remaining living memories of people who had the closest associations with the building; we particularly want to speak to anyone who lived at London Road as an adult or as a child.” (Project Organiser, Jenny Walker)
Previous events have taken place at the Museum for ex-London Roaders, but this is going to be something really special, not least because it will take place at the fire station itself – possibly the last chance to see it before it reopens. It will be a real “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to record people’s memories for posterity,” (GMFS Museum Curator, Bob Bonner)
A special “Welcome Event” at the fire station on Thursday 26th January was attended by over 40 ex-firefighters, residents, police officers, court workers and fire alarm call centre staff but anybody else having memories of the London Road site can still take part in the memories project by being interviewed at London Road at a later date.
If you would like to get involved, please contact Project Organiser :
JENNY WALKER at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07734 430760 for further details.
For further information on the Museum’s involvement, please contact :
BOB BONNER at email@example.com or on 01706 341219
Museum wins Heritage Lottery Fund award
Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum is thrilled to announce the success of our First Round application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for development-phase funding in connection with our plans for the redevelopment of the former Rochdale Fire Station. The award of £108,000 from HLF is really exciting news, representing a major (82%) contribution towards the project. This first-phase of the project will include further architectural development work, business planning, conservation plans amd project management work. The remainder of the £132,000 costs will be provided through volunteer-time and match-funding.
After several years of uncertainty and failed funding attempts this generous award means we can now look forward confidently to a future relocation in the old fire station. A lot more external funding support will be required in the future to complete the scheme, but the Museum is now in a far better position to start planning for this. Meanwhile, we will spend up to two years completing all the professional consultancy work and other activities which, together, will make sure the next phase of work is ready to go.
We are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund (North West) for this wonderful gesture of support
MUSEUM IS NOW ON FACEBOOK
Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum now has its own Facebook page. Have a look for the latest information on events, news and reviews and do get in touch with us about anything. Find us at :
www.facebook.com/gmfsMuseum for all the information and chat.