Digging History

Secret fire station discovered under UK factory

Firefighters' uniforms (The Alan Nuttall Partnership).

Firefighters' uniforms (The Alan Nuttall Partnership).

An incredible underground fire station, untouched for almost 60 years, has been discovered beneath a U.K. factory.

Workers at the Dudley site recently entered the fire station for the first time in decades, discovering an amazing time capsule.

The fire house is beneath a manufacturing facility owned by The Alan Nuttall Partnership, which makes interiors and displays for stores. “It was notionally known about, but nobody had opened it up to take a look,” Anna Bamford, Nuttalls’ marketing manager, told FoxNews.com.

After locating the key, staff opened the mysterious basement door and were stunned to find a fully-equipped fire station complete with dust-covered pump, hoses, and firefighters’ uniforms hanging on the wall. “We came across all of these fascinating finds - there’s a set of seven or eight uniforms – they have got the original hats and jackets, still with the silver buttons,” said Bamford. “There’s a lot of hoses, I think there’s about 10 or 12 down there, there’s even an old gas mask.”

Other items found include a half-drunk bottle of Pepsi and a certificate awarded to one of the firefighters in a competition against other stations. Firefighters' names also appear to be chalked on the wall above their uniforms.

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Bamford explained that documents in the fire station are dated from 50s and 60s, which provide a hint as to when it was last in use.

The pump, however, may be more than 80 years old. “We have had some feedback about the pump - people are saying that it’s from the 30s,” Bamford said. “It has a towbar on it, so it would have hooked to some sort of vehicle – it’s a really special piece.”

The fire station dates back to the site’s earliest days – the factory was built in 1915 to manufacture munitions during World War I. “It has a heavily structured feeling – we don’t know if it was an air-raid shelter or maybe an explosives storage area from when it was a munitions factory,” said Bamford.

After about 15 or 16 years making munitions, the factory was used for car manufacturing. Later, in the mid-20th century, the site used to build store interiors and displays and was taken over by the Alan Nuttall Partnership in 1986.

The company, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, wants to find out more about the underground fire station and hear from firefighters that worked there. “Part of what we are looking to do is see if we can get hold of someone who worked in that room,” said Bamford.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers