Sheffield museum launches £20m fundraising drive

The National Emergency Services Museum, West Bar, Sheffield.
The National Emergency Services Museum, West Bar, Sheffield.
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The owners of a Sheffield museum hope to mark its 30th birthday by raising £20 million for a huge expansion.

The National Emergency Services Museum, based on West Bar, has launched the fundraising drive in the same month as it celebrates its 30th year of being open to the public.

The National Emergency Services Museum education co-ordinator Clara Taylor.

The National Emergency Services Museum education co-ordinator Clara Taylor.

Based in a former police, fire and ambulance station, the museum looks after 50 vehicles and 27 exhibition areas.

But head of museums and collections Matthew Wakefield believes there is plenty of scope to expand.

He said: “We are attempting to raise funds of about £20m to develop and extend the site and, as the area of Sheffield the museum is housed in is also developing and transforming, this gives us the perfect timing to expand, utilising the land around the current site to make a world-class attraction and facility right here in Sheffield.”

The museum already has excellent links with all the emergency services, alongside a number of groups, clubs and private collectors. Together they form an umbrella organisation with a joint collection of more than 200 vehicles.

The National Emergency Services Museum education co-ordinator Clara Taylor.

The National Emergency Services Museum education co-ordinator Clara Taylor.

The £20m funding would allow the Sheffield museum to bring more of the wider collection on site and tell the story of the emergency services in a fully interactive and hands-on environment.

The money would also support the museum’s partner sites based around the UK, allowing access to as many people as possible.

Sheffield has had a fire brigade museum in some form since 1931, but it was not until the early 1980s that South Yorkshire firefighters started to restructure the collection of photos, documents, uniforms and equipment into an attraction that could open to the public.

In 1984 the group secured the keys to the former police, fire and ambulance station in West Bar that had been empty for years.

Mr Wakefield said: “The building’s combined police, fire and ambulance history, together with its original features dating back to 1898, its links to the city centre and easy access to the M1, places it in the perfect location for such an attraction.”

n To support the campaign, call 0114 2491999, visit www.emergencymuseum.org.uk, e-mail info@emergencymuseum.org.uk or visit the museum.