An old building in Houghton-le-Spring is enjoying a renaissance thanks to the success of a local company.
MRS Training & Rescue, (formally Mines Rescue Service) provides expert training courses throughout the UK including confined space training and rescue.
It is based in Houghton-le-Spring in the building known locally as ‘the old fire station’.
Although many people think it is a museum, or even a retirement home, what goes on inside is all about rescue and even survival.
In 1913, this unique Grade II listed building was purpose-built to serve the mining industry in the early part of the 20th century.
The underground training galleries were originally constructed to train part-time rescue colliery miners in the art of underground rescue and first aid.
The facilities are now utilised to train personnel from a variety of industries, such as oil, ship building, construction, nuclear, aerospace, water and anyone expected to work in confined spaces.
It is this diversification into specialist training which has ensured the continued success of MRS after the demise of the North East coal industry.
The team has collected a range of photographs and historical material depicting many of the major incidents attended by crews from Houghton at collieries and other major incidents across the region and country.
The business has developed specialist skills, experience and knowledge gained from working in difficult and potentially dangerous environments. The company employs 14 people at Houghton and trains around 3,200 people a year.
For more information on MRS Training and Rescue go to www.mrsl.co.uk