The show will go on for the West Norwood Victorian fire station, currently a home to the South London Theatre, thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of more than £1.6m, it was announced today.
The cash will mean that vital repairs can be carried out to the Grade II listed Old Fire Station, a rare surviving example of a fire station designed for horse-drawn fire ‘engines’.
The historic building will open its original main front doors for the first time in 100 years – and will be accessible to the public in 2017.
Built in 1881 the building has a colourful past. For 35 years it housed 26 firemen, their families and two horse-drawn fire appliances before falling out of use in 1916 with the advent of motorised engines, which were too big to fit through the doors.
It then served the Lambeth community as a church hall, stood strong through the Second World War as an observation tower and was brought out of disuse by the South London Theatre Company in 1967.
Sue Bowers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “Fire stations of this age and condition are extremely rare and full of character and we’re delighted to play a part in giving it a new lease of life.”