ACA Woking News by Bill Bawden, PRO

21 August 2007

Heathrow - From the Iron Age to the Jet Age

Mick Pollard
Mick Pollard

The members and guests attending the recent meeting of the AirCrew Association at Fairoaks Aerodrome were treated to an absorbing account of the life and times of Heathrow Airport by local historian and guest speaker, Mick Pollard.

Mick traced the history of the site from the earliest settlements, some uncovered during excavations to build the present airport, through its sometimes dubious reputation as part of Hounslow Heath, to its first use as an aerodrome by Fairey Aviation in the 1930s.

With the aid of a series of fascinating photographs and plans, Mick then related the growth of Heathrow from the appropriation of the land for a Transport Command airfield in 1944 and its opening as the civil London Airport two years later, to its expansion over the last sixty years to become the world's busiest international airport. The tented facilities and converted bomber aircraft of 1946 made a remarkable comparison with the soon-to-open Terminal 5 and jet airliners serving today's Heathrow - although the reappearance of tents in 2007 may have given some recent passengers cause to doubt that the primitive conditions endured by their predecessors had been entirely eliminated.

The discussion following the talk included contributions from ACA members who had operated from Heathrow from the earliest post-war days to the era of the Boeing 747 and Concorde.

1946 Heathrow tented checkin
Patrick Yarnold

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