The London Fire Brigade are painstakingly packing up around 20,000 fire-related artefacts as they prepare for the opening of their new museum, writes Thomas Deacon…
The collection includes around 350 helmets, more than 400 vintage uniforms and even artefacts dating all the way back to the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Previously based at Winchester House since 1966, the museum had to close its doors to visitors in 2015 after the site was sold.
Museum curator Jane Rugg said: “It’s been a huge challenge to pack up the museum’s rich and varied collection of London Fire Brigade history. “It’s certainly the end of an era moving out of Winchester House.
“However, in the Brigade’s 150th anniversary year, we are very excited about the future of the museum.”
The Brigade hope that rehousing the artefacts in a purpose-built space will encourage more schools and families to visit to learn about the history and influence of the fire service, and the importance of fire prevention. Items from the Great Fire include 17th century artwork, leather buckets and even a water squirt that was used to put out some of the fire.
Plans are in motion for the new site to be based at the former headquarters at Albert Embankment, the original home of the museum before 1966.
The new site will be part of the Brigade’s work with its developer partner, U and I Group Plc on a multi-million pound redevelopment scheme. Plans include an upgrade to Lambeth fire station and a new community hub within the next three to five years
. Legal steps need to be completed to formally appoint U and I for the project, and once complete a planning application for the site will be prepared. While awaiting a permanent museum, temporary exhibitions will be held across London.