Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Visit to the MOD Fire Museum at Manston

A visit to the MOD Fire Museum this morning and with a tour given by its curator Brian Harris. The museum is housed in the Old RAF Fire School building within the boundary of the Ministry of Defence Fire Service Central Training Establishment at Manston.

As I wrote in an earlier post, the owner and founder of the Museum is Sgt Steve Shirley MBE, who was an instructor on the staff of the CTE and the roots of the present museum go back some twenty years when he obtained his first model fire engine.

Steve started collecting fire related items as a hobby and the collection now runs into many thousands of individual items which include a superb display of over 150 helmets from all over the world which form a large part of the Museum display of today.

The collection continued to grow in the current building as a tribute to the fire fighting Services from around the world and It was officially opened as the Ministry of Defence Fire Museum in June 1995 and was renamed the Manston Fire Museum in November 1998.

The collection, as you can see from the photos I have put up in the library today, consists of many photographs and posters on display alongside models, badges, patches, uniforms, helmets, prints, extinguishers and, of course, really serious fire fighting equipment, both military and civilian ranging from 1868 to the present day.

Many thanks to curator Brian and the RAF for showing me around and letting me photograph the aircraft parked “out the back”. School parties are welcomed by appointment.


Tom said...

Nice post! I've been interested in these aircraft at Manston for a while and wondered if you could advise? They're clearly in pretty dilapidated condition. Are they actually "preserved" as fire museum exhibits or are they due to meet their fates in the fire pits in the future? I'm just wondering because this is a relatively rare F-4J (UK). The only other survivor (that I know of) is at Duxford, but painting in its original US Navy livery. Thanks in advance for your help!

Simon Moores said...

Sadly rusting away unloved and unwanted!

Stuart Parish said...

Hi..were starting a group on facebook to look into saving this phantom. The plan is to transport it to the wattisham heritage museum at Wattisham Airfield. The headache for us is the transportation side of things as our museum is purely done by donations. So the idea of the facebook page is to drum up support to get this f4j back to wattisham. So with your permission wedlike to use your phantom picture as our facebook profile picture. You can contact me at ...kind regards stu :-)

Simon Moores said...

Please do.. you have my full support.

A better photo may be on my Flickr library