RAF Hendon
Today, the Grahame Park housing estate covers the majority of the site, but the RAF Museum keeps alive the spirit of those early days of Hendon Aerodrome. In 1910, as owner of the Aerodrome, Grahame - White established the first London Flying Club on 207 acres of North London pasture, thus beginning the long history of aviation at Hendon. However, in 1916 the War Office took over the civilian schools on the Aerodrome to form the Royal Flying Corps Civilian School of Instruction and this effectively marked the end of civilian training at Hendon. Thus, later references to the 'London Flying Club' probably mean Stag Lane Airfield.
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Here follows an outline study of the area, with key dates...

Rather less well known is the smaller airfield and factories from which the De Havilland aircraft were built and from which the flying pioneers of the 1930s were trained...

Claude Grahame-White (1879-1959)

  • In 1909, he became the first Englishman to gain an aviator's certificate.
  • He was also the first British pilot to fly at night.
  • In 1910, as owner of the Aerodrome, he established the first London Flying Club on 207 acres of North London pasture, thus beginning the long history of aviation at Hendon.
  • In September 1911 the Grahame - White company operated an experimental air mail service for two weeks between Hendon and Windsor. As well commemorating the coronation of King George V, and raising money for charity, the event publicised the possibilities of the aeroplane as a means of transport.
  • In 1925 Grahame - White's London Flying Club closed to become part of the 400,000 sq ft of property which was leased (short term) to Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd.
  • Eventually Hendon was sold to the Air Ministry.
  • Aerodrome Road, separated some driving school garages from the disused Hendon Aerodrome. For a while the old runways were used by the driving school for students to practice their road skills.
  • During the 1970s, Grahame Park - a mixture of flats, town houses and terraced housing was built on the site. Was ordered as a result of international competitive tendering.
RAF Hendon

  • In 1914 the field was taken over by the Admiralty and became a Royal Naval Air Station.
  • On 1st April 1918 The Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service amalgamated to form the Royal Air Force.
  • In 1927 the site became an operational RAF station.
  • On 17th March 1930, 604 Squadron was established:
    • F/L F.J. Fogarty as adjutant and flying instructor.
    • A Warrant Officer.
    • 19 Airmen
  • Hendon remained a major airfield throughout both World Wars, and afterwards it acquired an international reputation as a centre of aviation, through the staging of spectacular aerial pageants.
  • On 4th November 1957 the airport ceased operations and entered a gradual decline. Eventually, the airfield was swallowed up by the concrete jungle of modern housing, with the Grahame Park Estate covering the majority of the site.
  • On 15th November 1972, the RAF Museum on Grahame Park Way was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
    • The Museum occupies two of the original WWI Royal Naval Air Service hangars.
    • In 1974, Graham - White's London Flying Club's buildings were finally torn down to make way for expansion of The Hendon Police College.
    • The extensive collection on display includes everything from the basic stick and fabric planes to sophisticated jets.
    • In 1978, The Battle of Britain Hall was opened, followed by the Bomber Command Hall in 1984.
    • The Queen Mother was present at a ceremony to mark the official closure of the Hendon Aerodrome on 1st April 1987.
Hendon Aerodrome by David Oliver
Hendon Aerodrome by David Oliver (Airlife publishers) 1994 (168 pages): Traces the history from Grahame - White's factory to the present site of the RAF Museum.
RAF Museum Hendon
RAF Museum London

History of Grahame-White Factory

RAF Red Arrows

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