In October 2008, the London Fire Brigade Budget Options Report earmarked the Museum at Winchester House, Southwark for closure.
It was the start of the period of public sector austerity. The savings were minuscule and no cost benefit analysis was given. The value of the Museum as a major cultural asset, that records the role the fire service played in the development of London, is ignored and it was clear something needed to be done.
The Volunteers who worked at the Museum started a campaign involving a petition, contact with the local press and letter writing to members of the Authority. The letters emphasised the positive aspects of the Museum, such as giving the Brigade access to 6,000 visitors annually, at very little cost.
The opportunities this presented to give its message on fire awareness, using items which caused fires, often in the home, is priceless, making many aspects a vivid reality. The limitation of available space restricted the number of visits to guided tours even though demand was high.