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Edinburgh Celebrates Bicentenary of Fire Service with New Museum Exhibitions

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Two new co-curated exhibitions with partnership organisations were launched at the Museum of Edinburgh yesterday evening (May 2).

‘Edinburgh Rising from the Ashes: 200 Years of the Scottish Fire Service’ marks the bicentenary of the world’s first municipal fire brigade, which was founded here in Edinburgh in 1824. This exhibition, in partnership with the Museum of Scottish Fire Heritage, charts the remarkable development of firefighting in the Capital and across Scotland over the centuries.

In addition to the exhibition, there is an accompanying series of lectures and family craft workshops covering everything from Edinburgh’s influence on global fire safety standards to painting a mini fire helmet.

Pic Greg Macvean 02/05/2024 Edinburgh Council – opening of 2 exhibitions in the Museum of Edinburgh on the Fire Service and Cycling

‘Pedal Power: Cycling and Activism in Edinburgh’ is an exhibition which focuses on cycling safety, sustainability and history in our city. This exhibition was curated in conjunction with local cycling groups Critical Mass, Infrasisters, Spokes and Bike Buses.

There are also lectures and a family craft workshop taking place during the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, which runs from 31 May to 9 June 2024.

Both exhibitions run until Sun 22 Sep 2024 and entry is free.

For more information on the Museum of Edinburgh please visit our website.

“I was delighted to launch these exhibitions and see first-hand some of the incredible stories that they tell. From our proud history and traditions of firefighting to promoting active travel in modern day Edinburgh these provide two very distinct views of life in the Capital. The different themes and ideas explored in these exhibitions shows our museums as the incredible spaces they are to explore contemporary issues as well as historical events.

“I’d like to thank all our partners who contributed to these exhibitions, some of whom I was lucky enough to meet at the launch.  I’d also urge our residents and visitors to take advantage and get down to the Museum of Edinburgh in the coming months.”

Culture and Communities Convener, Councillor Val Walker

“This year is an incredibly historic year for us as we recognise and proudly celebrate Scotland’s rich fire and rescue heritage. 

“We have a wealth of great commemorative and educational events lined up across the year to celebrate 200 years since the creation of the world’s first municipal fire service in Edinburgh.

“The world has changed drastically since 1824 and so has our service. Through these exhibitions we want to showcase the people, the innovation, and the values that our service was built on and are still at the heart of the modern Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

“We have something for all ages so I would encourage anybody who has an interest in the Fire Service, its history and the importance of the wider history of the city and beyond to head along to the museum and view the exhibition.”

Assistant Chief Officer for Operational Delivery at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, David Farries

“We got involved with the Pedal Power exhibition because we are all keen to show that better, safer cycling benefits everyone. At some point we lost the balance of transport in the city, and we now know how harmful that has been to our lungs, our health and our wildlife. We’re all working in different ways to create a future city where more people can share the joy of walking and cycling safely.

“We hope people will come to the exhibition and see an opportunity to move forward from binary car vs bike debates and support better active travel infrastructure in Edinburgh.” 

Pedal Power Co-curator and member of Edinburgh Critical Mass, Victoria Hawkins

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