First and foremost, the Museum would like to wish Her Majesty The Queen our sincere congratulations on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee. A truly momentous event marking Seventy Years of unwavering commitment and service to the country and her Armed Forces which most of our volunteers have proudly served in.
It seems like it was only yesterday that the last ‘Bubblewrap Blog’ for the Museum of RAF Firefighting was published but time seems to have sprinted on and left us behind as a month has past without as much of a squeak from us. Hopefully this update will bring you all up to speed on what has been happening behind the scenes – trust us when we say we have not rested on our laurels!
With the recent notice to vacate our storage facility which has provided us with over 12 months of storage, free of charge, we have worked each week to consolidate the collection and its associated footprint down to a more manageable size. We have also brought the more perishable items and artifacts back to HQ at Scunthorpe for repacking into more manageable boxes. The regularity of boxes failing when they were being moved definitely led to some of our more colorful exclamations but highlighted the need to get the job done. We are pleased to report that after more than five years and several moves across the county, surprisingly, we have found less than a handful of artifacts with limited damage that can be rectified in the future when our situation is much more settled.
The vehicles have now also been moved outside where they will remain until we receive word of our next move – hopefully as part of the Scampton Holdings Ltd’s plans for RAF Scampton if they are successful in their bid to acquire the base when it closes later this year. Throughout our time working at the storage area, we have been lucky to continue receiving the support of the site owners who have provided another area of covered storage for our most exposed and fragile vehicles – the WOT1, 45 Monitor, Dennis F12, the K4 Turntable, the Victorian Appliances and wheeled escapes – which would deteriorate rapidly if left outside to the elements. Of course, it wouldn’t be a vehicle manoeuvre without the customary million point turns and wheezing engines – and volunteers – but the team were able to get there in the end, albeit with forearms like Popeye!
This week we took delivery of our hired box storage trailers which the site owners have allowed us to locate on site next to our vehicles and facilitated their arrival. Whilst a 44ft 3-axle box trailer almost looks cavernous inside on first sight, it was soon filled with stillages, pallets and anything else that would fit with the use of the forklift truck that we were graciously supplied by James Selby Transport Ltd, a long term supporter of the museum. Unfortunately the hard work this weekend has clearly identified we need at least another trailer to fully vacate the storage area which will cost us more per month than first anticipated. One bonus of the trailers however is that these loads are ready to be taken to our next – hopefully permanent – home.
The box trailers have been provided to us at a very reasonable rate by Michelle at Dawson Group, Doncaster, to enable the storage of the pallets which were originally located in the shed. Although this is a financial cost to the museum of around currently £125 a week, this represents the best option to ensure the survival of the collection as we work out our next steps and wait for decisions surrounding RAF Scampton to be made. As it has been mentioned previously, any movement of the collection will be a five-figure operation so this will be a onetime operation if the Museum is to survive and secured for future generations. If you would like to contribute something towards the move, please visit our website firemuseum.uk for further information on how you can help.
Finally, and on a much more positive note, the Mobile Display Unit was given its first run out of the year at a village Jubilee Fete in Fiskerton. This is after a full winter of reviewing the content and ensuring it is brought up to date which we think will represent the museum in the best of light and keep its name out in the public, even if we cannot provide as full a display as we would normally like with the vehicles. Like we have said before, we are down, but definitely not out!