ABOUT THE MUSEUM
Our mission is to preserve the history and traditions of the British Fire Service through firefighting appliances, uniforms and artefacts, leading visitors on an interactive journey of living history through major events that led to the creation and evolution to the modern Fire and Rescue Service of today.
Our long term objective is to become the national collection of Firefighting appliances, equipment, uniforms and artefacts for many generations to enjoy and learn from. We aim to become the national research library for the history of the fire service.
To preserve the history of the UK fire service and in particular local Firefighting history. the focus of the museum will be on fire engines so they can be kept for future generations to enjoy, with the ultimate aim of constructing a purpose built museum.
To Address mental wellbeing in the emergency services community by offering a place to come and take part in the museum’s activities, building a support network.
To use revenue from the museum to pay for psychological treatment for emergency workers where they cannot quickly access the the required treatment.
To help young people who have mental illness or confidence issues by establishing a cadet scheme that delivers the same benefits of local authority cadet schemes but focuses on young people who suffer such conditions to allow them a more aware, safe and supportive space.
To provide young people who have mental illness or confidence issues with the opportunity to work in the museum, in a supportive safe space to gain work experience and confidence in an environment where they will be understood, protected and supported.
To provide these young people with apprenticeship opportunities which come from the restoration of the exhibits such as mechanic, carpentry, paint sprayer, auto electrician and more specialised trades such as wheelwrights.
To establish a volunteer scheme focussed on the specific objectives of battling loneliness and social isolation by offering opportunities ranging from restoration work to museum guides, to visitor reception to outreach and fundraising.
To provide Primary schools with an immersive experience of the evolution of the UK Fire Service from its birth as a result of the Great Fire of London up to modern day. The Great fire is on the primary curriculum.
Provide community space, for public meetings and events.
Our origin story
The concept of the Fire Brigade Museum comes from our Director Antony.
Antony served in the Fire and Rescue Service for 21 years in both Retained (on call) and Wholetime roles, becoming a Station Manager with the London Fire Brigade. In February 2019, Antony became severely unwell, being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression, caused by many years of attending horrific incidents as a Firefighter and like many others did not seek the support available to deal with these traumas as was the stigma within the Fire Service Community.
In October 2019, Antony was unexpectedly dismissed from employment due to his illness, ending his long career, livelihood and ability to support his family, plunging the family in to severe financial difficulty, affecting the health of everyone and leading to an attempted suicide.
The family embarked on the harrowing journey of raising the matter to an Employment Tribunal, which in November 2020 concluded that Antony had been unlawfully dismissed due to discrimination of the disability created by mental illness. Although this judgement was made, to date (Summer 2023) the matter has not concluded and the battle for remedy continues.
Throughout this experience, it became all too clear that there was very limited practical help for a family in this situation both in terms of treatment and financial support. To some extent this issue remains today. It was the unwavering support of family, friends and some former colleagues that propped the family up to continue the fight against this wrongdoing.
News of a number of 999 workers dying by suicide due to a number of reasons such as institutional bullying and inability to cope with trauma related illnesses came as a call to action to Antony, this could not be allowed to continue happening, someone needed to provide practical help for 999 workers in crisis.
Initially the Museum was intended purely to raise money to provide practical, timely support to 999 workers, whether that be funding treatment or supporting ill 999 workers financially in the short term.
Antony is a 2nd Generation Firefighter and has been a fire service enthusiast and historian since he was able to walk, amassing a substantial collection of Fire Service Memorabilia throughout his youth. This collection formed the foundation of the Museum collection.
The Museum concept was fortunate enough to attract volunteers, mostly from the 999 community, including families to develop the idea. Nearly all of our volunteers have lived experience of the issues faced by those we endeavour to support. It is this lived experience that helped us to identify other people who would benefit from the Museum's activities which has led to the expanded objectives and mission of the Museum.
We endeavour to ensure that no 999 worker has to suffer as a result of mental illness and that as many young people as possible, suffering from mental illness have an opportunity to develop in an understanding, nurturing environment.