Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Share your memories of firefighting in the County

Essex Fire Museum is looking for people who remember important events and incidents in the history of firefighting in Essex to capture their memories as part of a project to create an oral history of firefighting in the county.

The museum has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant to capture the living memories of people whose lives have been affected by major incidents and the work of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to create an innovative oral history exhibit.

Andrea MacAlister, Essex Fire Museum Manager, said: “We are creating an interactive display which will tell the history of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service through the voices of people who lived through, and experienced, that history.

“Over the years there have been a number of landmark events in the firefighting history of the county and we plan to tell the stories of the people involved in a number of them.

“The subjects we are looking at include the work carried out by firefighters in World War Two, the role of the Auxiliary Fire Service and women in the fire service. We will also explore the social history behind historic events such as Southend Pier Fires of 1976 and 2005, The Rose and Crown Public House fire in Saffron Walden 1969 and the efforts made in search and rescue operations overseas.

“These are all important events and we want to capture the stories behind them through this oral history, everyone who contributes will have a chance to tell their story in their own words and explain their place in our history.”

As well as an interactive display at the museum the oral histories will also be available online.

The subjects being covered are:

  • Essex Firefighters in World War II
  • The Auxiliary Fire Service
  • The Southend Pier fires of 1976 and 2005
  • The Saffron Walden Rose and Crown Public House Fire of 1969
  • The work carried out by Essex Crews in rescue missions overseas

Andrea MacAlister said: “We know that there is a wealth of fascinating stories out there waiting to be told and we want to capture those memories for future generations to enjoy.

“We want to hear from anyone who played a part in, or witnessed, these events to make sure that we can create as complete an oral history as possible.”

The oral histories will be captured by a team of specially trained and equipped volunteers recruited specifically for this project.

To take part in the Essex Fire Museum oral history project, either as subject or as a volunteer capturing these histories, contact Andrea by calling 01376 576 214 or emailing andrea.macalister@essex-fire.gov.uk

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