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Museum dedicated to RAF Hornchurch opens

MP Iain Duncan Smith attended the opening event (Credit: Bellway)

A new museum celebrating the history of the former Hornchurch Aerodrome was opened on Sunday. 

The RAF Hornchurch Heritage Centre, in Suttons Lane, has displays of memorabilia from World War I, World War II and the post-war period. 

It will be used to teach local groups and schools about the history of the base in Hornchurch up until its closure in 1962. 

More than 150 people were invited to the launch of the centre on Sunday, 19 September. 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon GCB CBE cut a ribbon to mark a new beginning at the site. 

A special flypast by a Spitfire and Hurricane from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight also helped mark the opening. 

Sir Michael Graydon cutting the ribbon (Credit: Bellway)

The building, formerly Suttons House and part of the former St George’s Hospital site, was donated to the Hornchurch Aerodrome Historical Trust earlier this year by Bellway Thames Gateway. 

The trust has spent more than 18 months refurbishing the building. 

Tony Philpot, chairman of Hornchurch Aerodrome Historical Trust, said: “The donation from Bellway has gone a long way into ensuring that the important history of RAF Hornchurch can live on, all in one place.

“It was a brilliant day for us and it was an important day for all the guests, who through one way or another, have a significant connection with Hornchurch Aerodrome.”

Among the guests was Sir Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, whose father was a Spitfire pilot and Commanding Officer of 64 Squadron based at RAF Hornchurch. 

“We have been inundated with enquiries from local groups and schools and we are now fully booked up until the end of November,” added Tony. 

“With the Heritage Centre’s close location, focus on the local history and its close alignment with the current syllabus, local schools are keen to take advantage of what the Heritage Centre has to offer.”

Bellway is building a range of homes on the site at St George’s Park. 

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