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Museum News

The Latest Museum News


The latest large vehicle to join the Museum's fleet is a little different from its new stable mates.   K 630 KMB, a Mercedes 1124F was originally built in 1992 with a Locomotors water tender body for the Cheshire Fire Service.  After a number of years on the front line, K 630 had its fire engine bodywork removed and was converted to a "beaver tail" low loader vehicle in order to carry the Shand Mason steam fire engine operated by the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Heritage Group and has attended many shows and events over recent years. Having now been acquired by Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum, the appliance will be put to good use here, helping to transport our own fleet of horse-drawn or manual fire engines when required.  The vehicle still "looks like a fire engine" though, with the original crew cab, a striking livery and warning devices (strictly for use in the museum only !)


Plans are well advanced for the Museum's major event of the year - our Summer Family Open Day.   Fire engines (old and new), GM Fire and Rescue Dogs, Mini Fire Engine rides, bouncy fire engine, fairground, stalls, fun and games for all the family.  Refreshments, souvenirs and prizes to be won.  Don't miss out on ouor famous home-made cakes too !  The Open Day takers place on Sunday 3rd June between 10am and 4pm.


The Museum was pleased to welcome Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, when he visited Rochdale recently. The Mayor was keen to see our plans for the redevelopment of the former Rochdale Fire Station into a stunning new fire museum over the next two years and met with Trustees and Volunteers at Maclure Road.  Seen here with Andy (centre) is (L to R) Museum Chairman Steve Williams, Curator Bob Bonner, Trustee Geoff Bottomley and Greater Manchester Fire Authority Chair David Acton   


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.


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. 



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 !


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

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Latest Museum News

The latest large vehicle to join the Museum's fleet is a little different from its new stable mates.   K 630 KMB, a Mercedes 1124F was originally... View Full Article

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

Packed with facts and fireman's poles !

Visitor Reviews

Fab place !

Visitor Reviews

What a lovely little museum this is

Visitor Reviews

Absolutely amazing