Retired Firefighter Builds a Fire Station-Themed Man Cave in His Back Garden—Here’s How it Looks Inside

Retired Firefighter Builds a Fire Station-Themed Man Cave in His Back Garden—Here’s How it Looks Inside
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By SWNS
11/18/2023
Updated:
12/5/2023
0:00

A retired firefighter spent several months and around 3,000 pounds ($3,726) building his own fire station-themed man cave in his back garden in the UK.

51-year-old Kevin Francis’s engine house at his home in Anna Valley, Hampshire, includes a pole, vintage uniforms, a hose, and a fully stocked bar; all rescued from a real fire station that was destined for demolition.

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The bar stocks a selection of home-brewed, fire-themed beers such as a golden ale called Brass Helmet, a ruby ale called Old Steamer, and a stout called Smokey.

Mr. Francis spent 33 years working for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire Service and collected equipment, photographs, and other memorabilia while serving as a fireman, before retiring in May 2023.

The grandad-of-one, who currently works for the ambulance service, said he built the entire project from scratch.

“I had a rough drawing, and from the time I started in January, it was up and built in a few weeks,” he said. “The idea came from me and my dad both being in the fire service for a number of years.”

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The pair had been given a lot of memorabilia and photos over the years that had ended up being stored in their loft.

“My wife said it was taking over the loft and said I needed to get rid of it,” Mr. Francis said. “In the end, I said ‘Why don’t I build something I can store it in?’ I said, ‘If I can make it like a fire station it will fit quite well.’”

Mr. Francis’s mom and dad contributed to the building and helped him model it on the Grayshott Fire Station where Mr. Francis and his dad had both worked.

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Sharing more about the space, Mr. Francis said: “When you first walk in there, there’s fire uniforms from the Victorian times with wool tunics and axes ... up to the kit I used to wear until I retired.”

Additionally, there are model fire engines, hydrant signs, and other small bits that Mr. Francis collected during his time as a firefighter.

To elevate the look of the bar area, Mr. Francis made it seem like it was in a little village.

“I’ve tried to keep it [as] authentic as possible,” Mr. Francis said. “The bar was from Basingstoke Fire Station, which I helped build.”

To Mr. Francis, the bar recalls fond memories of working at the fire station.

The place also has a beer cupboard where Mr. Francis brews his beer. Since the original build, Mr. Francis has also added a tower, a clock, and a hose. However, it’s an ongoing project, and Mr. Francis plans to continue to adding bits and pieces to it.

“Before Covid, it was used as a place for friends and family for parties. Every year we do a charity party in the garden,“ Mr. Francis said. ”And during the pandemic, it was a great place for me and the family to go to the pub. It gave us a space away from the house.”

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Although Mr. Francis admits that he built it for himself, he welcomes any other shed lovers to stop by and enjoy it.

Recently, The Engine House was also crowned the winner of Britain’s Best Pub Shed of the Year.

The annual competition attracted more than 4,800 public votes.

Ashley Turner, from Two Fat Blokes Bar Sign Emporium, said: “The Engine House won the judges over with the fantastic attention to detail and the huge collection of memorabilia and all in a workshop shed.”

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“The judges were really impressed with the way Kevin has pulled the theme of this amazing back garden pub together,” Ms. Turner said.

Mr. Francis—who beat a thousand entries to be awarded first prize—said he was very excited and pleased about his win.

“It was pure elation, and I was really, really happy and gave everyone lots of hugs,” he said. “There was a massive cheer.”

As for what other plans Mr. Francis has for the shed, he revealed that he’s going to be at a fire memorabilia sale next week in Rochdale and is looking forward to adding more features to his iconic backyard den.

(SWNS)
(SWNS)
Epoch Times Staff contributed to this report.
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