National Emergency Services Museum
The National Emergency Services Museum (formerly the Sheffield Fire and Police Museum) is an independent museum and charity centred around preserving the history around the emergency services throughout the ages.
The National Emergency Services Museum is a museum on West Bar, close to Sheffield city centre, showcasing a collection of police, fire and ambulance vehicles and related materials. It is based in a former combined police and fire station dating back to 1900. The current museum first opened in 1983, but it has significantly grown since then, now boasting over 600,000 objects, including 45 vehicles. In 2014, it became Sheffield’s first national museum, and it is the largest combined emergency services museum in the world.
The building, designed by architect Joseph Norton, was built to accommodate both the fire service and police service, and featured what was then cutting-edge technology: pole drops, electric bells, and a Fire Brigade observation tower – one of the few remaining examples in the United Kingdom. The building saw service in both World Wars, and survived bombing during the Sheffield Blitz, with shrapnel scars still visible in some of the brickwork. Many elements of the old station have been authentically preserved in the museum, such as the old police cells and the engine house.
Inside the building are a number of exhibitions, including a detective-themed area with items from the archive of Donald Sutherland Swanson, lead detective of the Jack the Ripper case. Other exhibits include showcases of both historic and modern fire service vehicles, police vehicles and equipment, and presentations of the stories of the emergency services during the world wars. There are special interactive areas – guests can try on police riot equipment, or use a police-chase simulator game on the police motorbike display to test their road skills. The building also includes function rooms in the old mess halls and kitchens which are used as meeting rooms for events and classrooms for school visits.
Outside the building, in the back-yard area, a number of vehicles are on display, some of which are available for guests to climb onboard. The ‘star exhibit’ is a 47-foot (14.3m) long Royal National Lifeboat Institution Tyne-Class lifeboat, which was named ‘The City of Sheffield’ and once patrolled British waters before being retired to the museum.
The museum also features a gift shop and café, and there are a number of paintings on display, including one by famous Sheffield artist Joe Scarborough. There are also some occasional events, including a fire engine ride experience, in which guests can ride around Sheffield in a real fire engine and get a feel for the real lives of Sheffield firefighters. The museum also hosts birthday parties for children, as well as school trips.
The site is very accessible to public transport users, being very close to both the cathedral and shalesmoor stop. The Museum does not have parking situated on-site, but, there are many pay and display parking facilities around the site, that this should pose no issue to people needing to park.
The museum is independently-run by volunteers, and it is a registered charity.
Official website: https://www.visitnesm.org.uk