Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
146 Bolton Road
Tel: 0161 736 5866
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The museum opened in September 1983 after three years work in converting a former fire engine workshop building at Rochdale fire station. Although operating as the Brigade Museum since that time, the collection, under a unique new arrangement, passed into the control of a charitable organisation known as Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum Trust in April 2010.
This will help to strengthen the museum operation, build on its achievements and allow it be more sustainable in the future. Under a unique partnership agreement, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority retains its interest in the museum and provides substantial support. This arrangement is believed to be unique among fire service museums in the UK.
Looking for an educational visit with a difference? The Museum is a great place for young people to explore popular education themes.
All schools visits are free. The format for an educational visit is normally a guided tour by our dedicated volunteer staff, followed by an education session chosen from a menu of activities...
The collections and displays in the museum portray the proud record of achievement and development of fire brigades, firefighters, personalities and manufacturers associated with fire heritage in Greater Manchester.
The museum is open on Fridays (except Bank Holidays) and the first Sunday of each month (except January) from 10am to 4pm. No appointment is necessary but bigger groups should check in advance. Larger (monthly) open days usually feature working exhibits and additional attractions.
A comprehensive archives section is being developed and the museum is happy to assist in research matters, either through its own archive collection or by our close links with other agencies and museums. Unfortunately there are NO facilities at the time for researchers to consult documents themselves or work on the premises. Researchers should, in the first instance, contact us with details of their enquiry.
The archive contains a large number of photographs, negatives, moving images, publications, journals, drawings, manufacturers' material and fire service records of various kinds. A recent major donation was the complete negative and plate collection of the renowned press photographer, the late Clifford C. Ashton (1913-2008), involving several thousand images. Clifford attended all major fires and other emergency incidents across the region from 1934 to the 1990s and this collection is probably the most significant of its kind in any fire museum. The collection is currently being assessed, catalogued and stored.
Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum is a member of the Association of Independent Museums, the Fire Heritage Network UK, the Historic Commercial Vehicle Society and the UK Motoring Collections Network.