£1.9million lottery boost to de Havilland Aircraft Museum's new hangar project
PUBLISHED: 08:02 29 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:27 29 April 2018
An aircraft museum dedicated to preserving Hatfield's aviation heritage has been awarded nearly £2million.
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a grant of nearly £1.9million to the ‘de Havilland Aircraft Museum in the 21st Century Project’, a significant investment in Hertfordshire’s aviation heritage.
The museum at Salisbury Hall, London Colney, applied for the grant three years ago to enable it to build a large new hangar to provide covered space for its exhibits and a range of community and education facilities.
After learning of the National Lottery funding decision, museum chairman Alan Brackley said: “The trustees of the museum are delighted that the HLF has awarded them £1.9million to build the new hangar.
“Thanks to the money raised by the National Lottery players, the project will not only safely display several important aircraft exhibits inside the new building away from the rigours of the British weather, including the DH Comet 1a, the world’s first passenger jet airliner, and DH Sea Vixen, but it will be able to offer the local community an exciting venue for meetings, conferences, parties, learning and other social events.”
The National Lottery funding will enable the Herts museum to move on to the next phase of its development programme.
Construction work on the new hangar is expected to begin in July and completed in 2019.
“The museum needs to fundraise a further £250,000, before we get the National Lottery’s permission to start the building works,” added Mr Brackley, “so all support is very welcome and donations made through our website or at the museum.”
Planning permission for the project was granted by Hertsmere Council in 2016.
The museum is the oldest aviation museum in Britain and concentrates on the many types of aircraft and engines built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company at its Hatfield factory.
It is based in the grounds of Salisbury Hall, a Tudor mansion, which during the Second World War was used by de Havilland as its secret design centre for its pioneering ‘Wooden Wonder’ Mosquito twin-engine multi-role aircraft.
The prototype Mosquito is one of three examples of the type on display, more than can be seen at any other museum in the world.
In fact, the Prototype is the only surviving WW2 twin-engine prototype aircraft to be displayed on the site where it was designed and constructed.
Since the museum was formed by the then owner of historic Salisbury Hall, Walter Goldsmith, and its small hangar opened to the public in 1959, it has acquired more than 20 iconic de Havilland aircraft.
This led to the construction of a second, larger hangar, which was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1984.
Acquisitions and donations of further aircraft were soon to make more covered display and restoration space a priority.
Mr Brackley said: “We are a working museum where visitors can watch restoration work being carried out and can get up close to the aircraft.
“It is run by volunteers, some of whom were among the many thousands of people who worked for de Havilland.”
• More information about the museum can be found by visiting www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk
• You can make a donation to the hangar fund at www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk/product/new-hangar-donation/