Since its foundation, the Trust has occupied two successive temporary sites in Grantham and Loughborough. In 1998, the FSNMT and its embryonic FireWorld project for a Fire Service National Museum first arrived on the Grade II listed former Royal Ordnance Depot MOD site at Weedon, Northamptonshire, not far from Junction 16 on the M1.
This was at the rent-free invitation of the development company who had acquired the Weedon site, and who needed a heritage element to fulfil a significant requirement as part of the planning consent for their out-of-town shopping centre proposal in the Depot.
Although the Trust has allowed pre-arranged visitors to its storage site, its unique and historic collection is not yet commercially open to the public.
However, the Trustees and Friends of the FSNMT soon found their high hopes dashed of seeing FireWorld materialise and open to the public. After submission to the local planning authority – Daventry District Council (DCC) – the developer’s scheme was called in by government for a planning inquiry. This process cost the Trust considerable slippage before the outline consent was finally approved, which was then followed by a requirement for a comprehensive conservation study of the entire Depot, a process that took several more years to complete.
With the years slipping by with little positive progress, the Trust and its FireWorld project remained trapped by the ongoing delays. Then, the first signs of the economic downturn began to manifest itself, and in 2012, Weedon Depot was to another development company.
One serious result of the change of ownership was the loss of the previous rent-free storage occupancy. With the rising costs of storage, an enforced retrenchment meant the Trust lost its Headquarters office, together with our vehicle workshops. This has seen the closing down of our entire on-site restoration operation undertaken by our Friends volunteer group.