The Fire Services National Museum Trust (FSNMT) was originally founded in 1979 by a group of senior fire officers, fire service enthusiasts and engineers who all felt that the proud history and achievements of the British Fire Service over two centuries should be permanently recorded and marked at a national level.
This effort to inaugurate the Trust and its FireWorld Museum was led by Chief Fire Officers’ John Maxwell CBE DFC QFSM, Bruce Hogg OBE QFSM, and Reg Haley QFSM.
The project was endorsed by the Home Office, various MP’s, the Chief Fire Officers Association, British Fire Brigades and their fire authorities, and other professional bodies that represented the UK fire industry. Much of this original support is still evident.
Today, the Trust cares for 40 historic fire engines from manually drawn and pumped versions from the 18th century, 19th century horse-drawn types including steam powered pumps, early motorised pumps from the 1900’s, right through to those of the dramatic Blitz years of World War II, to more modern complex fire engines of the 1980’s.
The Trust has also amassed some 8,000 separate items of firefighting and rescue equipment, uniforms, models, books, magazines and technical manuals, fire brigade badges, buttons and rank markings, and fire service historical administration, documentation going back more than two centuries.
The objects of the Trust remain as founded in 1979 and can be summed up as:
Instructional: To demonstrate the evolution and development of firefighting and fire engineering, much of which has been pioneered by the United Kingdom
Educational: To display firefighting and rescue exhibits in such a way as to encourage the study of fire technology and firefighting which embraces a range of sciences including hydraulics, physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, and electricity
Fire Safety: Using virtual reality and practical technology to provide both school children and adults with an understanding of fire safety and to assist in the reduction of outbreaks of fire and its subsequent casualties
Technical: To display items and examples of outstanding technical and engineering interest and to provide for research and development into firefighting techniques and the continual development of fire safety technology
Historical: To preserve and maintain for practical display and re-enactment firefighting vehicles and items of historical importance
Recreational: To provide a display of popular appeal to both the public and Fire Service personnel alike
The Trust relies financially upon donations, membership fees, legacies and various occasional grants from fire authorities and the fire industry. These sums are used to defray insurances, office outgoings, travel expenses for officers and volunteers, and until recently, to fund materials and equipment used in our extensive restoration work.
We have also received several small maintenance grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, together with donations from a number of fire-related associations and, more recently, a small grant from the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation, along with HRH’s best wishes for the FireWorld project.