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Pressure on Boris to turn historic Clerkenwell fire station into museum

Tearful firefighter Alex Badcock is consoled by a colleague in January Tearful firefighter Alex Badcock is consoled by a colleague in January

Monday, June 30, 2014
7:00 AM

Pressure is mounting for Boris Johnson to turn the old Clerkenwell Fire station into a museum to honour London Fire Brigade’s proud history.

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Plans are in place to sell the historic building on Rosebury Avenue for atleast £10m, but Labour are calling for it to be “kept in the hands of the local community.”

Local community groups and investors currently have until July 9 to scoop up the building, which was Britain’s oldest fire station, or see it go out to market.

Speaking after the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority meeting, London Assembly Labour Group Fire Spokesperon, Fiona Twycross said:

“Clearly it would have been great to save Clerkenwell as a working fire station. But as the Mayor would not consider that option, I am calling on him to consider this new proposal, which would be a fitting and exciting use for the historic building.

“Clerkenwell Fire Station would be a fabulous new home for the Fire Brigade Museum, and would save keep the building in the hands of the local community, bringing visitors and jobs to the area. From the Great Fire of London to the role of firefighters in the Kings Cross Fire, the Fire Brigade is an important part of our history here in London, and it would be good to see this role recognised with a new visitor attraction”.

The fire station, which is more than 140 years old, closed in January, after a fierce battle to save it. Firefighters broke down into tears as they left the historic station for the last time, which was the ninth busiest in the city.

Residents fighting for community ownership got a huge boost last month, after Islington Council succeeded in listing the 140-year-old station as an “asset of community value” meaning the site cannot be sold on the open market for at least six months.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has fought for months against the closure, which was part of a drive to save more than £28million and has led to demonstrations across London.

Speaking on the eve of the station’s closure, Jennette Arnold, London Assembly Member for Islington and Hackney, said: “Boris has not listened to local residents and is forcing these cuts through.

“In response to his consultation 94 per cent of Londoners said they do not support his plans.

“Today’s cuts are a terrible new year’s present, Boris should be thoroughly ashamed and held to account for these reckless closures that will put Londoners’ safety at risk, including many of my constituents in Hackney and Islington.”

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