HERITAGE OPEN DAYS A GREAT SUCCESS
Thanks to all who visited the Museum on 13th and 14th September as part of this year's national Heritage Open Days event. This was a once-only opportunity to explore Rochdale's iconic former fire station building before restoration and redevelopment work commences in October !
Over 200 visitors received an "access-all-areas" guided tour of the station, exploring spaces such as the former Muster Room, Billiard Room, Control Room and Hose Tower, none of which now survive in their original form. Great interest was shown in the first-floor ballroom area, with its recently uncovered glimpses of the balcony and wonderful vaulted art-deco ceiling.
Our lovely visitors were a wonderful mix of heritage fans, fire enthusiasts, ex-residents and firefighters as well as many Rochdalians who were keen to share their stories of the dances and events which had taken place in the ballroom. We were especially pleased to welcome visitors from as far as Merseyside, West Yorkshire and even Paris !
An exhibition showing images and objects from the station's life was also in place for both days whilst Barry and Adam from our exhibition designers, Creative Core, were on hand to tell visitors about our exciting new Museum project and show them plans and images to whet the appetite. The Museum itself was also fully open and the glorious sunshine on both days helped things along.
For more details about the redevelopment visit our COMING SOON pages.
MUSEUM ON SHOW AT LOCAL GARDEN CENTRE
The Museum will be staging another Roadshow event at a local garden centre this autumn. Vehicles from our historic fire appliance fleet will be on show at the ALL-IN-ONE GARDEN CENTRE, SLATTOCKS, MIDDLETON on Saturday 26th October. As well as the old equipment, visitors will be 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.
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.
"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.