National Emergency Services Museum
The National Emergency Services Museum (NESM) in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, is an independent, self-funded museum and charity dedicated to celebrating and preserving the history of all our emergency services and their communities, in peace and war. It is the largest combined emergency services museum in the world.
It is housed in a historic combined police, fire and ambulance station that dates back to 1900. A number of original features, such as the engine house and Victorian police cells, have been preserved within the museum and are now used as amazing and unique gallery spaces for NESM’s exhibitions and displays.
The museum cares for more than 600,000 objects, from historic uniforms and equipment in its own permanent collection, to unique and historic items from other organisations, such as HM Coastguard. This includes approximately 100 historic emergency services vehicles from around the world; around 35 on display at any one time in the museum itself and others in an off-site store where NESM’s team of volunteers work to maintain, restore and preserve vehicles for future generations. The store is also the home of the museum’s historic running fleet, which is taken out to events nationwide, used in school visits and hired out for film, TV and special events.
The museum’s historic fleet encompasses vehicles from the earliest days of the organised emergency services – such as a 1748 Newsham fire pump and a Merryweather engine which served with the early Sheffield Fire Office – to more modern objects like a Nubian airport truck, armoured police Land Rover and even a 47-foot RNLI lifeboat. Among the other vehicles currently on display at the museum are a 1938 Leyland fire engine, once operated by Barnsley Fire Brigade (believed to be the last surviving engine to have served in the Sheffield Blitz), a 1920s Du Cros ambulance, a Nubian airport truck and a wartime Austin K2.
The museum team has worked hard over the last few years to make NESM an engaging, informative and entertaining destination for visitors of all ages, from history enthusiasts to families. It prides itself on offering something from everyone, with plenty of hands-on activities and opportunities to get up close to vehicles and objects across the museum’s three floors.
This approach has taken NESM from strength to strength over the last few years. It now welcomes around 30,000 visitors annually and engages with a further 10,000 through outside events.