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HENDON AERODROME

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  THE RAF MUSEUM, RAF HENDON
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A former civil airfield and military airfield, now partly a museum. Hendon's long association with aviation began in 1909 when Everett and Edgecombe built an aeroplane in a shed on Colindale Avenue. In 1910-1911 the site was developed as a civillian airfield used by aviation pioneers such as Louis Bleriot and Claude Graham-White. Nothing survives of the original airfield. The latter bought the land and promoted it as London's Aerdrome establishing a Bristol Aeroplane Company Flying School, later assembling Grahame-White Aviation Company aircraft in a factory there. Remains of the Grahame-White's World War One factory, part of a World War One military airfield comprise a former watch office, control tower, former aircraft factory and office built in 1915 (see TQ 29 NW 27). The Royal Air Force Officers' Mess, formerly the "London Aerodrome Hotel" was built in 1917 (see TQ 29 NW 42). By that year the airfield had become a Royal Flying Corps Aircraft Acceptance Park. The majority of buildings from this phase are built of brick. After World War One the government retained the airfield with ownership formally passing to the Royal Air Force in 1925. During World War Two the airfield was mainly used for transport purposes by the allies because of its good road and rail links, although it was also used by the heavily engaged 11 Group Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain. During the war the airfield was repeatedly attacked, including hits by V1 "flying bombs" on the hospital, barracks and Womens Auxilliary Air Force quarters. After the war there was a reduction military acitivity at the site, with part of the site being sold for housing in 1968. The RAF station closed between 1987-1988 but the Royal Air Force Museum (opened 1972) continues to use part of the site: it physically incorporates three early aircraft hangars into its structure (please see TQ 29 SW 44 and TQ 28 NW 27). In 1993 a number of military buildings at the former East Camp were demolished.

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