The Bristol Aero Collection Trust has been awarded a £2 million grant from the LIBOR fund to support the creation of the Bristol Aerospace Centre, an aerospace industrial museum and learning centre on Filton's historic airfield site, one of the birthplaces of British aviation.
Lloyd Burnell, Project Director of the Trust said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Chancellor has announced in today’s budget the award of £2million of LIBOR funding for the Bristol Aerospace Centre and are extremely grateful to Jack Lopresti, MP for Bradley Stoke and Filton for his tireless campaigning on our behalf”
“This exciting new £18.5 million project, which will also provide a fitting home for Concorde, is already supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, industry partners BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Airbus, and South Gloucestershire Council”.
The Chancellor, George Osborne said: “In every Budget we have used LIBOR fines paid by those who have demonstrated the worst in values, to support those who represent the very best of British values. Jack Lopresti brought to my attention the proposal for a new museum to commemorate the UK flying heritage at Filton in Bristol. At the Budget I was pleased to announce £2 million for the Bristol Aerospace Centre to help fund this important project to preserve our aviation history.”
As a part of the exhibitions, Bristol's long-standing contribution to the UK's military efforts will be recognised and celebrated at the new Centre: from the Bristol Fighter of World War One through to today's Airbus A400M Atlas, the first of which was named 'City of Bristol' by the RAF. During World War Two, Bristol built over 100,000 aero-engines (37% of the UK’s total output) and, today, engines developed in partnership with Rolls-Royce power the Tornado and Lightning II.
The project’s 9.5 acres Airfield site includes two Grade II listed hangars built by the Royal Flying Corp during World War One and have been described by English Heritage as, ‘a rare surviving example of the earliest standard type of hangar’ and ‘the most complete of any of these types of sites in existence’. They were later home to 501 Squadron which won seven honours in WWII, and was one of the most heavily engaged units in RAF Fighter Command. In particular, the Squadron saw extensive action during the Battle of France and Battle of Britain.
Filton is a birthplace of the UK's aerospace industry and the only one with over a century of continuous design and production. Today, it is central to one of Europe's largest aerospace clusters. The region's advanced engineering and aerospace industries provides some 23,400 jobs and generates £1.1 billion in sales. The new Bristol Aerospace Centre will tell the important stories of the people whose technical innovation, business vision and engineering brilliance have contributed to this achievement over the decades.
To inspire current and future generations, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) learning and skills will be at the heart of the Bristol Aerospace Centre, with activities and programmes attracting tens of thousands of school children so vital to address the UK’s forecast shortfall in STEM graduates and apprentices.
Construction work on the Bristol Aerospace Centre is due to start later this year with public opening scheduled in the first half of 2017.