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Museum News

The Latest Museum News


Look out for the special new feature on the website, dedicated to our exciting proposals to relocate and enlarge the Museum. As we complete the development stages of our project to re-house the Museum in the former main fire station building at Maclure Road, we are launching a new sub-section on the site to be called "Coming Soon." This will feature news updates, photos, plans, progress reports and other items related to the project. To keep up to date with progress at Maclure Road, visit


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.


The Christmas Open Day on Sunday 3rd December was a great success and the weather was kind to us.  Our many family visitors were able to enjoy the Museum, funfair, face painting, "Birdie" photo booth, musical fire engine, seasonal refreshmemts and meet a very special visitor in the form of Father Christmas himself, who arrived on an open fire engine.,   


Having taken part in our recent 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 currently 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, now concluded, told 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. 


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.   



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 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

Mission Statement

”To explore, preserve and make accessible the history of fire, fire engineering and the fire and rescue services in the Greater Manchester region and, through our collections and resources, to further the education and promotion of fire safety in the community.”

Fund Raising

The Museum is currently trying to raise £100,000 towards the next stage of our major relocation project. Can you help by means of a donation to our Paypal account ? If so, click the DONATE button now. Thank you!

Latest Museum News

Visitor Reviews

Beautiful little museum packed with facts and firemans poles

Visitor Reviews

Very educational and also a fun visit

Visitor Reviews

Lots of fire engines and things to see and do

Visitor Reviews

Small but really interesting