London Fire Brigade

New Cross Open Day: celebrate Brigade’s 150th anniversary at Europe’s oldest operational fire station

30 April 2016

Europe's oldest operational fire station, New Cross Fire Station, welcomes visitors for a family fun filled day packed with free activities on Sunday, 8 May from 12pm to 4pm.

The open day is a great opportunity to meet the firefighters, learn life saving lessons and discover the rich history of the station as the Brigade celebrates its landmark 150th year.

Playmobil are helping us organise 65 special open days across London to celebrate the Brigade's 150th anniversary.

The anniversary open days will be a perfect day out for anyone who has ever fancied playing firefighter for a day, taking place across London from April through to December.

Children big and small can meet real firefighters and life-sized Playmobil ones, plus enjoy toys and activities galore.

Limited-edition London Fire Brigade versions of popular Playmobil Fire Brigade sets have also been created for little ones to learn through play at home.

Ten per cent of proceeds will be donated to the Brigade's charities of choice, with toys available from April to purchase at the open days and from Playmobil customer services.

What will you see on the day

New Cross fire station will host a display from the Brigade Museum, illustrating the history of the station and famous incidents attended by the crews.

Vintage fire appliances will be on show, along with vehicle from the current fleet.

A Fire Investigation unit will attend with their skilled trained dogs, while firefighters and the Community Fire Safety Team will be available to meet the visitors, handing out literature and giving precious advice for fire safety at home and in the community..

A Harley Davidson Club, formed by retired and on duty firefighters, will take part on the day, bringing old and new iconic bikes to get a close look at.


New Cross fire station opened in 1894, and is now the oldest operational fire station in Europe following the closures of Clerkenwell and Woolwich stations in 2014.

The station was designed by Robert Pearsall, the Brigade's chief architect, who designed a number of notable fire stations, seven of which are now Grade-II Listed Buildings.

The station was built to accommodate the divisional superintendent, a station foreman, eight married and eight unmarried firefighters, as well as two coachmen and stabling for four horses.

It also hosted one steam-powered and one manual appliance, as well as a hose cart and van, a long ladder and four fire escapes.

In 1912, a sliding pole was installed to give quick access to the engine room. In 1958, the two original appliance bays were increased to three, and the openings widened and remodelled.

In November 1944 during WWII, firefighters from New Cross attended the V2 bombing of Woolworths store, that killed 168 people and seriously injured 121.

Don't miss out on the fun filled action packed day.