Plans to redevelop Rochdale’s Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum are firing on all cylinders, with the National Lottery approving a £1.7 million grant to transform the space.
The success of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid, means the museum, which is currently located in a workshop in the grounds of Rochdale’s old fire station in Maclure Road, can now move into the fire station itself, a 1930s art deco building, which will be restored and turned into a major visitor attraction.
In a further boost for the scheme, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which owns the fire station, has gifted the building to us. This supported the bid and enabled more money to be ploughed into the project.
The money will help create a brand new exhibition space on the ground floor of the building, which will take its floorspace from around 200 square metres to over 1200 square metres.
The proposals will also enable the museum to increase its opening hours, which could boost visitor numbers from 5000 to 15,000 a year.
A new café and education centre will be built to support more school visits and paid posts will be created to help manage the museum, which is currently staffed by volunteers.
Nathan Lee, Head of HLF North West said: “It’s fantastic news that, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we are able to support the restoration of this wonderful 1930s fire station and bring it back into community use as a museum dedicated to telling the story of one of the most important public services in Greater Manchester.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “I’m very pleased to support the development of this fantastic project in Rochdale. The revitalised Rochdale Fire Station will breathe new life into this important town centre gateway and be a catalyst, along with other projects like the Heritage Action Zone, for the borough’s on-going regeneration and development.”