Greater Manchester’s newest museum – FIREGROUND in Rochdale – is to be officially opened on Sunday, 16 January.
The opening ceremony is being carried out by retired Chief Fire Officer, now Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Barry Dixon CBE QFSM MIFireE DL.
The museum, which replaces a smaller museum alongside, tells the proud story of fire, fire brigades and fire engineering in the city region. The original museum opened in 1983 and, thanks to a major National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, has now relocated into the magnificent former Rochdale Fire Station landmark building on Maclure Road.
The collection, assembled and looked after entirely by volunteers, comprises over 20 fire engines plus uniforms, equipment, models, paintings, medals and insignia.
The Manchester region has always played an important part in the history of firefighting and fire safety, after England’s first municipal fire service was formed in the city in 1826. Major events such as the 1940/41 Blitz attacks, the 1979 Woolworth’s fire and the 1996 Arndale bombing, have shaped the way the service has developed its professional response over many years.
Additionally, the area’s industries were – and still are – prominent in the production of firefighting equipment such as hose, ladders, sprinklers and full-sized fire engines, supplying worldwide markets from local factories.
FIREGROUND opened to visitors last summer and, by the end of 2021, had welcomed over 6,000 people including more than 40 school trips. Visitors can enjoy hi-tech interactive displays, re-created Victorian and Second World War tableaux and the complete range of fire engines, equipment, models, paintings and medals, as well as appreciating the restored 1933 building itself.
The development of FIREGROUND has been made possible by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and other generous donors, in partnership with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Rochdale Borough Council and Rochdale Development Agency.
Please note, the event on 16 January is NOT open to the public.