Sturgeon snubs campaigners’ fire museum plea

Scottish Fire and Rescue chiefs are set to sell the Lauriston Place building to Edinburgh University. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Scottish Fire and Rescue chiefs are set to sell the Lauriston Place building to Edinburgh University. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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CAMPAIGNERS have voiced their disappointment at Nicola Sturgeon’s failure to step in and save the UK’s last Victorian fire station as the home of Edinburgh’s Museum of Fire.

Friends of the Museum, who are fighting to keep the museum in its current location at the Capital’s former Central Fire Station in Lauriston Place, delivered a 5000-signature petition to St Andrew’s House six weeks ago, urging the First Minister to intervene and halt plans by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to sell the building in a cost-cutting move.

Lothian Tory MSP Gordon Lindhurst gained cross-party support for a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling on the government to reconsider the sell-off. But the campaigners say they have heard nothing from the First Minister.

And on September 30 the SFRS announced it was selling the building to Edinburgh University.

It later confirmed it planned to relocate the museum to McDonald Road fire station, which the campaigners say is well away from the normal tourist routes and would not have the historic setting of Lauriston Place, which dates back to 1900.

Susan Grant, from the Friends of the Museum, said: “It is very disappointing that the Scottish Government has not fought for the Museum of Fire to be retained at Lauriston Place and have shown little or no interest in even looking at options or discussing the motion put forward by Gordon Lindhurst and a cross party of MSPs.”

The Friends want the SFRS to hand the museum over to a trust to develop and run it.

Ms Grant added: “To suggest this unique collection of appliances and history will be better served being put back into McDonald Road rather than remaining at Lauriston Place is astonishing.

“The building itself is a central piece to the museum and this can never be replaced.

“SFRS should focus on their core job, fire rescue, and hand over the management and the responsibility of the museum to a dedicated trust. We are very much open to work with them on this.”

A government spokeswoman said: “The First Minister’s Office took delivery of the petition and made the campaigners aware that the petition will be considered by the Public Petitions Committee at the Scottish Parliament in due course.

“The future of the Lauriston Place building and Museum of Fire is a decision for the board of the SFRS.”

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of this historic collection.”