All Fired Up!

New temporary exhibition opening at Saffron Walden Museum on 2 April.

Volunteers from Essex Fire Museum and Saffron Walden Museum have collaborated to create a unique presentation of the history of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

The exhibition, which will go on display at Saffron Walden Museum from Saturday 2 April, follows the success of the Fire Museum's previous exhibition at Chelmsford Museum. 

Research for this exhibition has been undertaken at Saffron Walden Library, Essex Record Office Access Point based at Saffron Walden Library, and at the Gibson Library and Essex Fire Museum. Staff and volunteers also visited the Saffron Walden Fire Station and met current serving firefighters, whilst local people have generously offered archival information and related artefacts for the displays.

Visitors to the exhibition at Saffron Walden Museum will be able to explore some of the fascinating stories of firefighting across Essex. The exhibits include a wide range of artefacts, photographs, uniforms and equipment which trace the history of firefighting from Victorian times to the present-day. It will also feature private and works' fire brigades, which were particularly prominent in Essex during the 20th century. 

Along with discovering some of the technological developments which have influenced firefighting, visitors will be able to discover heroic stories of bravery and the human stories behind some of the major incidents which have occurred in the county's history. The exhibition also touches upon some of the more obscure aspects of local fire-fighting history, including a troupe of fire-fighting scouts, a famous fire-fighting Vicar and the story of how a family pet caused a local mansion to go up in flames. 

The exhibition will be held in the temporary exhibitions gallery at Saffron Walden Museum from Saturday 2 April to Sunday 3 July.

Associated with the new exhibition, Mick Ford, from Essex Fire Museum will be giving an illustrated talk on Monday 4 April on the work of the fire service in Essex during the First World War. The talk, entitled "From the 'Smoke' to the Coast", takes place at 8pm at St Mary's Parish Rooms in Saffron Walden. It is open to the public. Entry is £1 for Museum Society members and £3 for non-members. Payments will be accepted in cash only on the day. There is no need to book in advance.

For more information about the exhibition, please contact Jenny Oxley, Collections Officer (Human History) on joxley@uttlesford.gov.uk or 01799 510333.

More information can also be found on the museum's website and social media channels.

18 March 2022