Kevin Francis at his Engine House man cave that has been crowned winner of Britain’s best Pub Shed of the Year (Picture: Tony Kershaw / SWNS)
A fire station themed man-cave – complete with pole – has been crowned Britain’s Best Pub Shed.
Retired firefighter Kevin Francis, 51, spent several months and around £3,000 constructing the DIY back garden boozer at his home in Anna Valley, Hampshire.
The Engine House comes complete with its own pole, vintage uniforms, a hose and a fully working bar.
He rescued almost all of the decorations from a real fire station before it was demolished.
The fully working bar also 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.
The Engine House even has a working pole to slide down (Picture: Tony Kershaw / SWNS)
The Engine House comes complete with its own pole, vintage uniforms, a hose and a fully working bar (Picture: Tony Kershaw / SWNS)
There’s room for a full crew at Kevin’s bar (Picture: Tony Kershaw / SWNS)
Kevin spent years collecting equipment, photographs and memorabilia during more than three decades working for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire Service.
But when his wife told him to clear out all the firefighting memorabilia in the loft he set to work on creating a replica of the station where he worked with his dad.
More than a thousand entries were made to Britain’s best Pub Shed 2023 but dad-of-two Kevin poured cold water on them all with his red-hot build.
Kevin’s wife Kim spurred him on to build the shed in 2017 as their loft was full to the brim with firefighting memorabilia.
Kevin even came up with a number of fire-themed drinks to serve up to guests (Picture: Tony Kershaw / SWNS)
There are vintage helmets, fire hose nozzles, badges, and a plethora of other firefighting memorabilia (Picture: Tony Kershaw / SWNS)
He spent 33 years in the fire service before retiring this May and had collected anything related to his time serving as a fireman.
The grandad-of-one reckons he’s forked out close to £3,000 on the build, but considers his labour of love a bargain compared to what some cost.
Kevin, who now works for the ambulance service, added: ‘I built it all from scratch.
‘I had a rough drawing and from the time I started in January it was up and built in a few weeks.
Upstairs there is a bunk room with beds for those ‘on duty’ at the Engine House (Picture: Tony Kershaw / SWNS)
Kevin spent years collecting equipment, photographs and memorabilia during more than three decades working for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire Service (Picture:Tony Kershaw / SWNS)
‘The idea came from me and my dad both being in the fire service for a number of years.
‘We had both been given a lot of memorabilia, photos etc and it ended up in the loft.
‘My wife said it was taking over the loft and said I needed to get rid of it.
‘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.
All of the equipment and collectibles had been filling up Kevin’s loft space (Picture: Tony Kershaw / SWNS)
‘But I don’t know if I meant for it to be as big as it is.’
Kevin’s mum and dad, Mervyn and Linda, helped him build the now award-winning shed and helped him model it on the Grayshott station where they worked.
Kevin added: ‘When you first walk in there there’s fire uniforms from the Victorian times with wool tunics and axes all the way up to the kit I used to wear until I retired.
‘There’s model fire engines and hydrant signs, just bits I had collected.
When Kevin’s wife told him to clear out the loft of all the firefighting memorabilia he set to work on the replica of the station where he worked with his dad (Picture: Tony Kershaw / SWNS)
‘In the bar area I tried to make it like it was in a little village somewhere.
‘I’ve tried to keep it authentic as possible. The bar was from Basingstoke fire station, which I helped build. I asked if I could have it.
‘It still holds fond memories from work for me.
‘I have a beer cupboard where I brew and make my own beer.
The Engine House takes up the entirety of the back of Kevin’s garden (Picture: Tony Kershaw / SWNS)
‘Since it was built originally I’ve added a tower to it. It has a clock in it. We have a hose in it. We’re still adding bits to it now.
‘Before Covid it was used as a place for friends and family for parties, every year we do a charity party in the garden.
‘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.
‘Although I built it for myself, I obviously built it for other people to enjoy too and any fellow shed-lovers are welcome to take a look.’
Dad-of-two Kevin beat more than a thousand entries to be named the owner of Britain’s best Pub Shed 2023 (Picture: Tony Kershaw / SWNS)
The Engine House beat off an Only Fools and Horses tribute called the Nags Shed and an Irish-themed pub called The Irish Pirate.
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.
“The judges were really impressed with the way Kevin has pulled the theme of this amazing back garden pub together.”
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The fire-station themed ‘pub shed’comes complete with smoky beers and a pole.