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Fire museum to be saved

PUBLISHED: 13:22 03 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:26 23 August 2010

A MUSEUM chronicling the history of the county s fire service is set to be relocated to prevent its closure. There had been concerns that the Kent Fire and Rescue Service Museum would close and the collection of artefacts dating back more than 100 years

A MUSEUM chronicling the history of the county's fire service is set to be relocated to prevent its closure.

There had been concerns that the Kent Fire and Rescue Service Museum would close and the collection of artefacts dating back more than 100 years would be shipped out to sites across the county as the authority looks to create more space for staff facilities.

Meeting last Thursday, the organisations planning and performance committee agreed that the museum, located at the service headquarters in Tovil, Maidstone, would be moved, but efforts would be made to keep the items in one place.

A spokesperson for the service said: "Ensuring that the people of Kent and Medway have access to the Service's proud history is very important to us.

"We want to increase access to our historic documents and artefacts so that local schoolchildren, history, fire service enthusiasts and former firefighters and their families can find out more about the service."

Options such as a completely new site and creating a virtual museum to be accessed through the internet will also be looked into.

The spokesperson added: "The plan is now to look at options that will take the history of the service directly out to local people. This could mean finding a new home for the collection that will bring in the visitor numbers it deserves and relocating some artefacts to local museums where schools can learn more about their local fire service history."

Artefacts include original telegrams sent out asking for the fire service to attend a fire, to old horse-drawn fire trucks.

Historian Roger Mardon has campaigned for the museum's conservation and spoke at the meeting.

He said: "I explained that, in my view, the museum should preferably be maintained at Service Headquarters but, if that were not to be, it was important to preserve the collection intact.

"Whilst it is disappointing that the museum will have to move, I am encouraged by this support for keeping the collection together. Every effort must now be made to find somewhere where this can be done.

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