The Princess Royal officially opens the Museum of Scottish Fire Heritage

A museum in Edinburgh celebrating the remarkable history of Scotland’s firefighting tradition has been officially opened on Tuesday, 7 November, by Her Royal Highness The Princes Royal.

The Princess Royal was presented a posy by a firefighter

Her Royal Highness is now one of more than 7,200 visitors who have visited the Museum of Scottish Fire Heritage since it opened its doors to the public at the end of June.

The Rt. Hon Lord Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh, Robert Aldridge, was one of several dignitaries to greet The Princess Royal. He said: “It was a pleasure to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to the city and the McDonald Road Community Fire and Ambulance Station on behalf of the people of Edinburgh.

“To have the opportunity to learn more about the rich history of firefighting in Scotland was also an extremely interesting and proud experience.

“I would like to thank the team at McDonald Road for accommodating us today and pay tribute to our fantastic firefighters, alongside our other emergency services, who make sure we are all kept safe.”

The Princess Royal speaking to the Museum volunteers

Ross Haggart, Chief Officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) was at the museum to extend a warm welcome to Princess Anne. He said: “We are deeply honoured to have the opportunity to show Her Royal Highness the fascinating exhibits that chart the remarkable history of our firefighting tradition.

“This special building is home to an array of artefacts dating back almost two hundred years, including fire appliances, uniforms and equipment.

Next year, our service will be marking the bicentenary of the world's first municipal fire service founded in Edinburgh by James Braidwood.
The Princess Royal with the Scottish Ambulance Service crews

As part of the visit, The Princess Royal was also given a tour of McDonald Road Community Fire and Ambulance Station, which has been newly refurbished as an emergency hub building alongside the Scottish Ambulance Service. HRH was greeted by a contingent of firefighters and ambulance crews.

Chair of the Scottish Ambulance Service, Tom Steele, said: “I was delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness to McDonald Road Community Fire and Ambulance Station alongside our colleagues at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

“The museum is a fantastic celebration of the fire service’s history. As well as sharing a number of co-locations with the fire service, including here in Edinburgh, we share a strong history of caring for and improving the lives of the people in Scotland.

“We look forward to many more years of working together to provide life-saving work.”

After watching a demonstration of how firefighters use a high reach appliance, HRH was presented with a posy by Crew Commander Blair Muir, who carefully manoeuvred the vehicle so he could hand deliver the flowers from onboard the appliance.

The Princess Royal spoke with staff and volunteers, including Jim McDonald, a museum volunteer. Mr McDonald said: “It was a truly remarkable and humbling experience to meet Her Royal Highness. Her genuine interest in our exhibits left a lasting impression on all of us.”

At the end of the visit, The Princess Royal officially unveiled commemorative plaques, marking the official opening of the museum.

McDonald Road Community Fire and Ambulance Station has undergone renovations and modernisation and last month won a Commendation in the Large Projects and Regeneration/Strategy Award Categories for the 2023 Edinburgh Architectural Awards.

Further information about the museum can be found on the Museum of Scottish Fire Heritage website.

The Princess Royal is unveiling the plaques with SFRS Chief Officer Ross Haggart