Fire Engine Memorabilia
Martin’s Bar & Restaurant is home to one of England’s largest and most important private collections of fire engine memorabilia. The collection has been built up over three decades by Martin Cox, a member of the family who has owned Highlands End Holiday Park for over 50 years.
Martin himself previously served for many years as a Retained Leading Firefighter with the Dorset Fire and Rescue Service. Exhibits on view range from historic firefighter helmets and other curios to a magnificently restored 1936 Leyland fire engine and a 1902 Merryweather horse-drawn steam engine.
The Bar & Restaurant was extensively refurbished and extended in 2017 and this provided the opportunity to provide an even more eye-catching setting for the exhibits. The collection celebrates firefighters and their life-saving achievements through the ages and draws enthusiasts to visit from across the UK.
It all began with just a couple of copper branches – nozzles that went on the end of hoses – which Martin had on display at the house he shares with his wife, Vanessa. Eventually, they put them on the wall of what was at that point known as the clubhouse. With more space, the collection started to grow and soon came a gradual interest from customers, some of whom began to bring Martin items to add to the collection. Each item has a different and fascinating story behind it.
A wall of photographs next to the bar depicts local firefighting history and is a talking point for locals and visitors. Other exhibits are displayed at multiple locations throughout the venue, so make sure to have an explore if you’re interested in seeing everything. There are cap badges, helmets, posters, models, postcards, old fire marks and much more.