VOLUNTEERS celebrated as Greenock’s old fire station today opened as a museum after a 10-year campaign.
The chief officer of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, Brian Sweeney, officially opened the service’s new heritage centre at the Victorian structure within Greenock Municipal Buildings.
The centre features a range of exhibits -- from hand-drawn pumps and the first breathing apparatus sets to today’s state-of-the-art safety equipment. There are also displays on major incidents tackled by firefighters over the years, including the Cheapside, Kilbirnie Street and Stockline disasters and the attack on Glasgow Airport.
There are plans to open the museum when large cruise ships are at Greenock and also for school trips. Other public open days will be announced on Inverclyde Now's What's On page.
The museum is the result of a partnership between Strathclyde Fire and Rescue (SFR), Inverclyde Council and the SFR Preservation Group. Mr Sweeney paid tribute to members of the preservation group including former firefighter Graeme Kirkwood, pictured, from Greenock who Mr Sweeney described as the foremost authority on the Strathclyde service he had met. More about Graeme
The building has many original features including hose racks, cobble stones, and concrete runs for the horses. The fire station opened in 1887 and was replaced in 1960.
Mr Sweeney said: “The opening of this museum could not have come at a more appropriate moment. As we move towards a single Scottish Fire Service, which will herald the end of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue as a separate entity, it is fitting that we look back and celebrate the region’s proud firefighting history and heritage.
“Thanks to the work of the Preservation Group, the equipment and vehicles in the museum have been lovingly restored and are in working order, ensuring these exhibits will be preserved for generations to come.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the work of our partners in Inverclyde Council, who have been ardent supporters throughout and made this building available to us -- I can think of no more fitting home for this museum than in a former fire station at the heart of the community.
"Along with the Preservation Group and our own Head of Corporate Support, Iain Morris, they have delivered a museum which I am sure will quickly become a highlight of the Scottish tourist trail.
“As we face the dawn of a new era in firefighting, it is more important than ever that we remember these firefighters and honour the courage and dedication they have shown - qualities displayed by firefighters today which will continue to be exemplified by the firefighters of tomorrow.”