The old fire station, on Crook Lane, at the back of the Museum has been used as a large object store for several decades. A 1948 facilities appraisal stated “Former commercial premises adapted for use during the reign of the National Fire Service but suitable for use for some years to come” (www.ddfire.gov.uk). By 1969 it was out of use, as a new, modern Fire Station was built immediately behind it, on Wilson Street. The Museum took over the space, using it as an object store for archaeological and social history items.
As part of the plan to merge the fire brigade, police and ambulance services in Barnard Castle, the old fire station has been sold to Durham County Council. This meant we needed to relocate the contents in three weeks, as the building was due to be demolished. The collection was moved to temporary storage provide by Durham County Council.
The store contained a range of archaeological material; including stone altars – weighing over half a ton each – and a range of social history objects, including a biere (coffin carrier).
Once the large stones were moved Gary Burton and his team (Gary Burton Removals) came in and safely moved the rest of the collection.
In total it took 32 trips in Luton Vans, 4 trips by lorry – approximately 1,200 miles and 20 ton of objects have been relocated.
Karen Barker, Regional Conservator