Skip to main content

call 01706 341219

Museum News

The Latest Museum News


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. 


The Museum's biggest event of the year - our Summer Family Open Day - took place in fine weather on 3rd June. Large crowds flocked to Maclure Road to enjoy the special attractions including funfair, mini fire engine rides. modern fire appliance from Rochdale Fire Station and the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service dogs.  Younger visitors enjoyed dressing in firefighter uiniforms, having a go at the fire hose and making sand art pictures. The event was opened by Blackpool's official Town Crier, Barry McQueen. With a hot dog and an ice cream what better way to spend a Sunday in Rochdale ?


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 !)


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.



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

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

Packed with facts and fireman's poles !

Visitor Reviews

Fab place !

Visitor Reviews

What a lovely little museum this is

Visitor Reviews

Absolutely amazing