Tuesday 28th February – seventh walk of 2012

We met at London Bridge and took the Northern Underground Line to the Borough station. The walk to the museum was a bit longer than anticipated, because of a road being blocked off, so we had to take a longer circular route! Luckily it was a nice bright sunny day so it was fine.

When we arrived we waited in the reception along with another six people and was joined by our guide, Dave, a retired firefighter.

The tour started in a large room which was the original building of the first fire station, and now houses all the large appliances. Dave gave an in-depth description of all exhibits in the room.  These ranged from the first pump of 1770 to a large Dennis engine from 1960.

From here we moved across the courtyard to Winchester House.  This fine building was built in 1820 and acquired in 1878 by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. It was used as the residence of the first Chief Officer James Braidwood, second Captain Shaw and subsequently all Chief Officers until 1967, when it became home of the Brigade’s heritage collection.  The rooms were set out with information and items relating to all aspects of the Brigade and its history.  This included uniform, World War Two, equipment, communication and the role of woman.  There were many items displayed and it showed how the brigade has progressed and changed to the force it is today.

This whole area, as well as the Museum, contains the admin offices, is the Headquarters and is the training centre for London Fire Brigade, although unfortunately, we didn’t see any action!

An interesting tour with a very experience and knowledgeable guide. The tour had to be booked, lasted roughly 90 minutes, cost £3.00 and was very good value. Two of our group had a special interest in this Museum as one had a brother who was serving in the force during the King’s Cross incident and another’s father was in the force during the Blitz in World War Two.

After this we were very tired and set out to find a cafe for a refreshing cup of tea! On the way we managed to find a fireman walking the streets and asked him the way.  He, in turn, escorted us, up the street, round the corner to a really nice little cafe.  Here we ordered teas, coffees and rolls.  When it arrived we realised what great value it was.  Tea only 60p and was lovely! The salad with the rolls was, maybe, the biggest helping I had ever seen!

Another great day out helped by the bright sunny weather.

Next week we plan to go to Natural History Museum.