Birmingham & Black Country

Abandoned fire station basement in Dudley rediscovered

Dudley fire station Image copyright Alan Nuttall Partnership
Image caption Old uniforms were among the items found in a locked room in an old fire station in Dudley

A former fire station that was mysteriously shut away for half a century has been rediscovered.

Based in the former national works in Dudley, it housed the Co-operative Wholesale Society's company crew.

The station is believed to have been used until the 1960s before it was locked and left untouched for decades.

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Media captionReporter Sian Grzeszczyk explores the rediscovered Dudley fire station

Matt Hornblower, operations director for Alan Nuttall Partnership, which owns the building, said the firm would see if it could restore items there.

Image copyright Alan Nuttall Partnership
Image caption Items in the room are not believed to have been seen in 50 years
Image copyright Alan Nuttall Partnership
Image caption It is not known why the room was locked or why it remained unopened
Image copyright Alan Nuttall Partnership
Image caption Stacks of old documents have also been found in the locked station

The company is also looking to see if it can display some items at the Black Country Living Museum.

The old station was rediscovered when a set of old keys was found during renovation work on the factory.

Mr Hornblower said nobody knew how long it had been locked away.

"We've always known it was here, but this is such a large site there are little corners that no one goes into," he said.

"Recently we came in and had a good look around, and we still keep finding things that we didn't know were here."

Image copyright Alan Nuttall Partnership
Image caption Some of the vehicles still bear the initials of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, which used to occupy part of the building
Image copyright Alan Nuttall Partnership
Image caption A number of companies were based in the Dudley site after it was built to make munitions during World War One

Clare Weston, a curator with the Black Country Living Museum, said many companies in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century had their own private fire stations because public services did not exist.

"Gradually local authorities did start developing their services, but companies retained the firefighting equipment because it was there on the site and could protect valuable assets," she said.

Image copyright Alan Nuttall Partnership
Image caption Some caps and jackets still have names marked out in chalk above the hooks on which they hang

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