Edinburgh’s Museum of Fire: thousands fight closure

Thousands have backed a campaign to save the museum. Picture: Neil Hanna
Thousands have backed a campaign to save the museum. Picture: Neil Hanna
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THE campaign to save Edinburgh’s closure-threatened Museum of Fire is winning support from all over the world.

Fire bosses plan to sell off the former fire station at Lauriston, which houses the museum and its unique collection of vintage fire engines and firefighting equipment, as part of their rationalisation following the move to a single Scotland-wide fire service.

But a campaign to save the museum has attracted signatures from people as far afield as France, Germany, Italy. the United States, Canada and Australia.

Many of those pledging their support have visited the museum during trips to Edinburgh.

And the signatories also include people whose relatives were firefighters in the Capital.

Edinburgh was home of the first municipal fire brigade in Europe, founded by pioneer James Braidwood in 1824.

And the museum has become a place of pilgrimage for firefighters around the world.

The online petition has been signed by more than 3000 people.

Among the comments added, Fiona Morrison posted from Australia: “One of my great-grandfathers was a fireman in Edinburgh and lost his life at an early age due to a firefighting accident. Have visited this museum and would be very sad to see it close.”

Also from Australia, Joan Flack wrote: “I want the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Museums Galleries Scotland to save the entire building for development as a world-class Scottish National Museum of Fire and as a tribute to James Braidwood, first Firemaster of Edinburgh and Father of the British Fire Service.”

Johan Schots, from Belgium, said: “I’m signing this petition because a few years ago I discovered this unique firefighters museum in Edinburgh.

“Never seen such a marvellous collection of fire equipment and such dedicated men running the museum with passion and focus.

“Take care of your history Edinburgh. The city and Scotland, even the world deserve it as well.”

And Michael Scappaticci, from Okotoks, Canada, said: “Do not sell any more Scottish heritage or disgrace those who served and lost their lives in the service of the people of Edinburgh.

“As a former pupil of George Heriot’s I would walk past this building and had many tours while it was still an active part of the fire service. The museum is a tribute not only to those firemen who have gone before but for those that are still in the service today. There is no more appropriate building that could host the museum.”

George Gray, a volunteer guide at the museum and retired part-time office-in-charge at Linlithgow Fire Station, welcomed the international support for the campaign.

He said: “It is very gratifying – and there is probably more to come because the petition only went up at the end of the year and people will have had better things to do over Christmas and New Year.”

The museum is staffed by seven volunteers, who try to keep it open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, for guided tours.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has insisted the contents of the museum will be protected and relocated.

The petition can be viewed online at: www.change.org

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com