|by Paul Holden, PRO|
5 April 2001
SOCIAL VISIT TO SOUTHAMPTON
The April Social Outing, by coach from Fairoaks Airport, was to Southampton, where the first visit was the Hall of Aviation. This is dominated by the huge Short Sandringham Class flying boat, luxuriously appointed with spacious seating for 44 passengers in small saloons on two decks, and in which ACA Members were privileged to visit the enormous cockpit and crew quarters.
The Museum also chronicles the extensive history of experimental aircraft development in the area, and houses the Schneider Trophy winner as well as a special R J Mitchell Memorial Section detailing the development of the Spitfire from Prototype right through to the final Mark 24 version. There is also a special section devoted to the Air Training Corps cadet service, and its successor the Combined Cadet Force.
Following lunch, members went on to visit the Maritime Museum, with wonderful models covering the history of Southampton as a major freight and passenger port, and the historic liners and shipping companies which made it their home. The tragic loss of the "unsinkable" Titanic is also featured, with recorded voices of survivors recounting their vivid experiences.
Both Museums were very well laid out, and equipped with excellent information displays, which contributed to an altogether most rewarding and enjoyable day out.