The Mayor of London's proposal for a 'Blue Light Museum' bringing together the historic collections of the Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service has been put on hold due to a lack of cash.
Boris Johnson's admission that the proposal is not being pursued at present followed a question tabled by Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the London Assembly Lib Dem group.
We first reported the Mayor's enthusiasm for the Blue Light Museum proposal just over two years ago after the London Fire Brigade Museum in Southwark Bridge Road was threatened with closure by controversial fire authority chairman Brian Coleman.
"Following the risk of closure of the Fire Bridge Museum, my office commissioned a feasibility study to explore options for a Blue Light Museum – a concept of a joint museum for the emergency services," said the Mayor this week.
"This work has led to greater co-operation and projects between the emergency services museums, such as the Blitz exhibition we hosted at City Hall last autumn.
"Whilst there is support for the idea of a joint museum in the long-term, the responsible authorities (London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority, Metropolitan Police Authority & London Ambulance Service) are unable to pursue this aspiration at present because of the difficult economic climate.
"My advisor, Munira Mirza, is liaising with LFEPA separately concerning the risks to the future of the Fire Brigade Museum."
The 'Blue Light' feasibility study, commissioned by the Mayor and carried out by Stuart Davies Associates, specifically warned about the risks of doing nothing.
The study's executive summary concluded that "if no action is taken the services will stagnate as they will have limited ability to develop and reach full potential.
"If no action is taken to address collections care and management facilities and capacity, it can be safely assumed that within ten years the collections will have suffered great losses.
"The rich history, personal stories and impact of the services in shaping London in the past, today and in the future will remain invisible to Londoners and the rest of the world."
The document continued: "The partners need to move beyond agreeing 'Blue Light' is a good idea. There needs to be a commitment to action and agreement on how the project will be led and driven. The initiative will otherwise fail."
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