THREE vintage wheeled escape ladders have been deemed a ‘wreckage’ after the vehicle transporting them collided with a tree last week on Highwood Lane.

The flat bed lorry had been moving the load when the ladder snagged a branch ripping the ladders away from the lorry.

The severe damage to the historical equipment and specialist skills required to complete the repairs will cost tens of thousands of pounds leaving the museum with little option but to dispose of the wreckage by cutting it up.

Antony Hurle, director of the Fire Brigade Museum said: “It is a great loss to the museum. The incident on Highwood Lane has been devastating to us at the Fire Brigade Museum.

“Due to great competition from fellow organisations and charities, we were unsuccessful in securing a National Lottery heritage grant that would have seen the Museum open imminently.

“Due to the impacts on fundraising caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic, the museum has struggled to afford storage for its collection. This led to us being evicted from storage on a farm on Highwood Lane with little notice. It was in the process of attempting to meet the deadline for removal that the incident occurred.

“The cargo of the lorry involved was three vintage wheeled escape ladders – in use with the fire service from the 1800’s until the 1980’s made by manufacturers such as Merryweather and John Morris all of whom no longer still exist as ladder manufacturers.

“This has left the team very defeated in trying to commence the vital work of the museum to help 999 workers & young people suffering from mental illness.

“We are very grateful to Mr David Salter & Mr Chris Cunningham of 1st Choice cars in Romsey who agreed to allow us to temporarily store the ladders on their premises while the damage is assessed.”

The museum is now crowd funding to secure premises to open as a museum in the local area & are asking for donations.

Details on how to donate can be found at

The museum will also be holding the first South of England Fire Show at Norman Court Education centre in West Tytherley on July 30 and 31, 2022 to raise funds for the continued work of the museum.