Shifnal Fire Station exhibition centre

A Shropshire fire station, which lay dormant for 20 years, has reopened to the sound of a 1930s siren after a £139,000 revamp.

Shifnal Fire Station, which first opened in the 1930s, has been rescued from ruin and transformed into an exhibition centre and archive store.

Area Manager John Das-Gupta, who was representing Shropshire Fire and Rescue Services Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond, cut the ribbon to officially open the station.

The revamp has carefully preserved the building's distinct and important design and now includes an insulated roof, a glazed foyer, a disabled access toilet, a new kitchen, an archive store and gas central heating.

Reverend Chris Thorpe, from St Andrew's Church in Shifnal, who was also present at the opening, said the fire station was now a venue the town could be proud of: "The restoration work was done to a really high standard, they used very good quality materials and the interiors have been beautifully created. At the moment there is lots of old Shifnal memorabilia and other aspects to the town in the building. The heritage group has put it all together and has pictures of some of the historic buildings that have since been knocked down in Shifnal. I think I could be a great venue for the town because of the quality of the restoration and I think it will be a great little venue for smaller meetings. From the people gathered there today I sense folks will treasure it and use it."

Shifnal Town Councilor Adam Teecey said "The new build would attract more people to Shifnal." He added: "I am very pleased with the way it has turned out. The people involved have volunteered a lot of time and they deserve to be thanked for that. It's a credit to the town, especially in these dull economic times, it's a nice uplift for the town. It was important that we respected people's wishes to refurbish it and I'm hopeful that people will appreciate it."

The refurbishment scheme was carried out for Shifnal Town Council by Bilston based building contractors William Gough & Sons Ltd. It was assisted by The Veolia Environmental Trust, which awarded a grant of £46,550 through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Now the work is complete, the Fire Station is available for community groups and organisations to book for meetings and events in the daytime or evenings.

18th December, 2009