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Hayes Way
Patchway, BS34

Aerospace Bristol is a new industrial heritage museum and learning centre being developed at Filton, to the north of Bristol. It will tell the story of the region's world-class aerospace industry - past, present and future. The Aerospace Bristol project is being run by the Bristol Aero Collection Trust.

Old News

Burges Salmon appointed as official legal services partner

Nick Livingstone

Burges Salmon have been appointed as the official legal services partner to the Bristol Aero Collection Trust. Their press release reads as follows:

Burges Salmon flying high as legal services partner for the new Concorde museum

7th May 2014

Burges Salmon has been appointed as the "Official Legal Services Partner" to the organisation behind the proposed new home for Concorde in Bristol.

Under the agreement, Burges Salmon will provide legal services to the Bristol Aero Collection Trust (BACT) on a pro-bono basis (without charge) during the development of the new museum. As part of Burges Salmon's commitment to cultural activities in the community, the firm will also offer volunteers to the Bristol Aerospace Centre to assist the Trust in archiving its collections.

The Bristol Aerospace Centre will give the Bristol region a new heritage museum and learning centre in Filton, north Bristol, which aims to inspire, educate and entertain today's and future generations. It will tell the story of the region's world-class aerospace industry – past, present and future and in particular the story of Concorde 216 (the last full aeroplane to be built at Filton). The Centre plans to open its doors to the public in the early part of 2017.

Burges Salmon is a leading adviser in the important Aerospace and Defence sector, so working with BACT is a natural extension of its work in this area. Burges Salmon will advise the Aerospace Centre in connection with the proposed development of a new museum to house the Bristol Aero Collection and Concorde. The legal work will be led by Real Estate Development partner Ross Polkinghorne.

The work that the firm will carry out will initially include advising on the long-term lease of the land on which the new Centre will be built, securing planning consent for the proposed development, and assisting with contractual agreements between building and design contractors.

The aim of the Bristol Aerospace Centre is to:

  • showcase and celebrate the region's continued world-class achievements in aerospace
  • promote learning, training and skills particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and inspire the next generation of designers, innovators and engineers
  • conserve the region's rich aviation heritage, including Concorde, and help people learn about and participate in this heritage.

As the project gathers momentum, Burges Salmon joins a list of other organisations (such as Bridgehouse Capital, Airbus, Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems) in providing support to the project. The project is also backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is supported by South Gloucestershire Council and Bristol City Council.

Burges Salmon's managing partner, Peter Morris , said: “We are delighted to act as legal advisors to this exciting project. The Aerospace Centre will contribute significantly not only to the educational and cultural life of Bristol but will also attract national and international interest, given Concorde’s iconic status and global appeal".

Lloyd Burnell, project director of the Bristol Aero Collection Trust said: "With Burges Salmon now working alongside us to help with the legal aspects of the Aerospace Centre project we can start on the planning consent phase of the project, which is required before construction can begin. We are extremely grateful for Burges Salmon's support".

Million-pound boost for Bristol Aerospace Centre

Nick Livingstone

South Gloucestershire Council
South Gloucestershire Council

Our plans for a new centre celebrating Filton’s aerospace heritage, and providing a permanent home for Concorde 216, have received a million-pound boost from South Gloucestershire councillors. Council members have pledged £1.1m to the Bristol Aero Collection Trust to help develop the aerospace museum and learning centre on the site of Filton’s former airfield. When complete, the centre will be a key part of Filton’s new Enterprise Area, a 120-acre employment location focused on the aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors and offering unique investment and job creation potential.

The £1.1m contribution was approved as part of the council’s Capital Programme for 2014/15 to 2016/17. It is anticipated that the majority of the council’s support will be funded from increased business rates generated by the development of the Filton site, using funding arrangements set out in the recent City Region Deal.

In a joint statement, South Gloucestershire Council leaders Cllrs John Calway, Ruth Davis and Andy Perkins said: "We have long supported plans for a dedicated centre to celebrate Filton’s aerospace heritage and provide a permanent home for the much-loved Concorde 216. The area is the birthplace of the UK’s aerospace industry and remains an internationally-renowned centre of aviation excellence, hosting giants such as Rolls-Royce, Airbus and GKN. The centre will help to safeguard this distinguished heritage for generations to come while also acting as a focus for exciting new developments, such as the Enterprise Area, which will help to secure Filton’s continued success into the future. We are delighted to have been able to approve this significant contribution, and especially pleased that it can be funded by reinvesting business rates generated in the new Filton Enterprise Area."

Iain Gray, Chair of Bristol Aero Collection Trust welcomed the news, saying, "I am delighted that South Gloucestershire Council has made this substantial contribution to the Bristol Aerospace Centre as it will make a huge difference to the project’s momentum. I am also grateful for the Council’s firm and determined support over the years, which has been fundamental to our continued progress. Like us, the Council recognises the great importance of celebrating this region’s world-class aerospace industry, preserving Concorde for public display, and investing in learning and skills development, especially in science, engineering and technology. Many organisations already share our vision and we look forward to others joining the funding of this immensely valuable project."

Filton’s aerospace cluster is one of the largest employers in South Gloucestershire and a major contributor to the regional and national economy. The council’s recently-adopted Core Strategy sets out its ambition to work with its partners to ensure that the aerospace industry in Filton and Cribbs/Patchway continues to be a leading industrial sector and major employer within the region.

Britannia prototype transferred to BACT

Nick Livingstone

Roger Hargreaves of the Britannia Aircraft Preservation Trust (left) and Oliver Dearden of the Bristol Aero Collection Trust (right) during the hand-over at Filton, with Britannia 'RX behind.

Roger Hargreaves of the Britannia Aircraft Preservation Trust (left) and Oliver Dearden of the Bristol Aero Collection Trust (right) during the hand-over at Filton, with Britannia 'RX behind.

On 23rd December 2013, ownership of the surviving forward fuselage section of the second prototype Bristol Britannia was transferred to the Bristol Aero Collection Trust, exactly 60 years after its first flight from Filtons runway. The Britannia has been in the Collection since 1995, and had been on loan from the Britannia Aircraft Preservation Trust. In recent years the forward fuselage has been restored, both internally and externally, in a joint operation between BAPT and BACT. Its future is now secure in the proposed Bristol Aerospace Centre at Filton.

G-ALRX was the second Britannia to fly, and made its first flight from Filton on 23rd December 1953, joining the first prototype in an extensive programme of tests of the new airframe and its powerplant, the  Bristol Proteus turboprop engine. Just over a month later, on 4th February 1954, 'RX took off from Filton for a test flight over Wales, carrying representatives from a potential customer as well as flight engineers,  Bristol's chief airframe designer, Archibald Russell, and their chief engine designer, Stanley Hooker. Disaster struck on its return to Filton when one engine exploded following a failure in the reduction gear. Unable to reach Filton airfield, chief test pilot Bill Pegg skillfully managed to belly-land the airliner on the Severn mudflats, and the mud extinguished the ensuing fire and preserved the engine for later analysis. Of the thirteen people on board, no-one was hurt apart from one minor head injury. The airframe was declared a write off, not because of any damage received during the landing, but because of salt water damage. The forward fuselage lived on as an instructional aid at Filton, Brize Norton and at Boscombe Down.

G-ALRX shortly after its forced landing on the Severn mudflats, showing its track as it slid along the mud before veering right into the Estuary.

Bristol Aerospace Centre takes off with Heritage Lottery Fund support

Nick Livingstone

The Bristol Aero Collection Trust is very pleased to announce that it has received a first round pass for a £4.4m bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Bristol Aerospace Centre project. The Bristol Aerospace Centre will be located on a site on Filton Airfield including two World War One listed hangars which will be fully refurbished to provide a first class heritage museum, learning suites, archives and workshops. On the same site a major new building will create a permanent home for Concorde along with a technology learning centre.

The project will bring together the Bristol Aero Collection with a number of other important collections of artefacts and archives which tell the stories of the aerospace industry, its people and achievements since 1910 when Bristol entrepreneur Sir George White established the British and Colonial (later, Bristol) Aeroplane Company.

A first round pass means that the projects meets HLF criteria for
funding and HLF believes the project has the potential to delivery high
quality benefits and value for Lottery money. Development funding of £243,600 has been awarded to help Bristol Aero Collection Trust progress its plans.

The project will include extensive opportunities for people to get involved as volunteers and to learn new skills such as the restoration of artefacts, historical research, tour guiding and customer services.

As well as encouraging people to learn more about the heritage, a major aim of the project is to inspire the next generation of engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs. The Bristol Aerospace Centre will be working in partnership with local schools, colleges and universities to provide a programme of learning, ranging from science and engineering to geography and local history.

The project will also provide an important focal point for the local community with facilities such as meeting places, outdoor play areas and event spaces.

The total estimated cost of the project is £13.5 million.

The project will conserve a part of Filton Airfield, along with the two listed hangars which date back to World War One and have been described by English Heritage as ‘the most complete of any in existence’ and as ‘a rare surviving example’.

The collections, many of which will be made accessible to the public for the first time, include thousands of important objects and nationally-significant archives which trace over 100 years of aviations history and the massive contribution made by the aerospace industry.

Lloyd Burnell, Project Director of the Trust said: "We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. The Bristol Aerospace Centre at Filton will provide enormous opportunities for people to learn about our industrial aviation heritage and social history, as well as encouraging people to get involved through volunteering and the development of new skills. It is great to know that we are a major step closer towards meeting our ambitions."

Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: "Bristol has a unique aviation history and this is the perfect opportunity to reconnect the community and wider public with the important story of the aircraft that were developed here and the people that created them. The Heritage Lottery Fund is pleased to be able to offer its initial support for this project and will be working closely with Bristol Aero Collection Trust as they develop their plans further."

The HLF support comes hot on the heels of recent pledges of significant financial support from a number of major aerospace companies, including BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce pledge £1 million toward Bristol Aerospace Centre

Nick Livingstone

The Bristol Aero Collection Trust is another step closer to building a permanent home for Bristol’s Concorde, thanks to a £1 million pledge from Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce join BAE Systems and Airbus in pledging financial support towards the Bristol Aerospace Centre, the planned heritage and learning centre on the former airfield at Filton. The Bristol Aero Collection Trust, which is managing the project, expects to hear the response to its £4.5 million Heritage Lottery Fund bid by the end of May 2013.

The support from Rolls-Royce also includes technical help, and a number of historic aero-engines supplied by the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust. Added to those that were previously on display in the Bristol Aero Collection’s hangar at Kemble, this will create the finest collection of Bristol-built aero-engines to go on public display anywhere.

Lloyd Burnell, the project director for the group, said: "We are very grateful to Rolls-Royce for pledging its support for the Bristol Aerospace Centre. We are really pleased with the donation.
"If all the funding goes ahead we will be looking at a shortfall of less than £4 million, which we need to raise from the private sector, but this would be a very big step in the right direction.

"We are feeling very optimistic – but we have been in this position before.

"The Bristol Aerospace Centre will bring together Bristol's important aviation heritage, which is currently in various collections, many inaccessible to the public.

"As well as celebrating over one hundred years of Bristol's exceptional aviation heritage, this project will be an inspiration to the next generation of scientists, designers, innovators and engineers.

"One of the key aims of the new centre is the use of exhibits and interactive displays to promote the Science Technology Engineering and Manufacturing (STEM) educational agenda to younger visitors who we wish to inspire to become the aerospace pioneers of the future. We look forward to working with the team at Rolls-Royce to develop an exciting programme of skills and learning activities with our local schools, colleges and universities to cement Bristol's position as a global centre of excellence in the aerospace industry."

Give us your opinion...

Nick Livingstone

Following the recent announcement about the planned heritage centre at Filton, we would like to get your thoughts on what you think the museum should look like. As part of a wide consultation process the organisation behind the plans, Bristol Aero Collection Trust, would welcome your views on what you would like to see in the museum, so please spare just a few minutes to fill in this on-line survey.

Click here to take part in the survey.

BAE Systems commits £2.4M and land

Nick Livingstone

 BAE Systems have issued the following press release on 5th December 2012:

"BAE Systems is delighted to announce their support to the Bristol Aero Collection Trust in creating the new Bristol Aerospace Centre. The Company is working with the Centre to ensure the long-term conservation and display of an extensive collection of aerospace artefacts and archives. The Centre will exhibit the region’s rich aviation heritage, telling the stories of the Bristol’s great technological advances and the role of the community and workforce.

BAE Systems has pledged to donate 2 million pounds to the project, as well as 400,000 pounds worth of design, construction consultancy and project management support. This is a key component of the Bristol Aero Collection Trust application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to support the creation of the Centre. The Trust is also in discussions with several major corporate stakeholders with regards to their support for the project.

The Centre will be located on the northern edge of Filton Airfield, on a site which has been pledged by the landowners, BAE Systems. The site includes two World War One, Grade Two listed hangars, which will be fully refurbished to provide a first class aviation heritage museum, a learning centre and an archive. A new building could potentially house Concorde 216 and related exhibitions. The site is situated on the northern fringe of Bristol in South Gloucestershire, with central Bristol approximately a 20 minute drive away.

Heritage Manager at BAE Systems and member of the Bristol Aero Collection Trust, Howard Mason said: “We are proud to pledge our support for the Bristol Aero Collection Trust in their objective of creating the Bristol Aerospace Centre. Our vision for the future of Filton Airfield is that it will become a national heritage destination as well as continuing as a global beacon for advanced aerospace design and manufacturing. We hope that our commitment will encourage other companies and the people of Bristol to put their full weight behind this project.”

Project Director of the Bristol Aero Collection Trust, Lloyd Burnell said: “The Bristol Aerospace Centre will bring together Bristol’s important aviation heritage, which is currently in various collections, many inaccessible to the public. Of the British-built Concordes, only one is now located at its birthplace on Filton Airfield and it’s an exciting prospect that the museum could be able to provide a permanent home for Concorde.

The Centre will provide a fitting tribute to Bristol’s world-class aerospace industry, giving people the opportunity to learn about Bristol’s exceptional aviation heritage, and promote learning amongst the next generation of designers, innovators and engineers. We welcome BAE Systems’ generous contribution and are preparing our Heritage Lottery Fund application to be submitted early in the New Year."

Progress Report from Oliver Dearden - June 2012

Nick Livingstone

I am pleased to be able to tell you in the past few months, considerable progress has been made in developing a structure to enable the establishment of an Aviation Heritage Centre at Filton to become a reality.

Firstly, attended by some 60 members at the General Meeting on Friday 11th May 2012, we welcomed the incoming Chairman, Iain Gray, who gave us a visionary introductory address in which he set out, very clearly, his thoughts on the way the creation and operation of an aviation heritage centre at Filton might be achieved.

Secondly, the meeting then discussed the present voting rights of members at General Meetings and the need to amend these to take account of the changed circumstances involved in managing a much enlarged organisation. The Meeting voted overwhelmingly in favour of the revised membership proposals. Current trustees become executive members with voting rights at general meetings. Other members will continue as ordinary members excluding voting rights. Members with specific interests wishing to have an active role in the BAC are encouraged to apply to become executive members.

Thirdly, at a subsequent meeting, the Bristol Aero Collection (BAC) Directors resolved to appoint the current Directors of the Concorde Trust (TCT) together with Howard Mason (BAE Systems) and Iain Gray as directors of BAC as the first stage in establishing a single organisation to manage the Filton project. This was completed on 31 May 2012 when, under the terms of an agreement between TCT and BAC the whole of the assets and undertakings of TCT were transferred to BAC.

I am pleased to report that the consolidated BAC board is continuing positive discussions with the various parties involved in planning the proposed aviation heritage centre at Filton and developing a forward action programme. It is hoped to give further details in the next few months.

Fourthly, the museum display at Kemble closed to the public on 28th May 2012 after a huge increase in visitor numbers during the final opening days. Work is well under way with two containers ready for loading the first batch of the hangar contents for transport to Filton. We are fortunate to have a dedicated and hard working number of members to undertake this daunting task. It requires quite a large pool of volunteers at both Kemble and Filton and the response has been most encouraging. Any help will still be most welcome.

Oliver Dearden

Frank Barnwell plaque unveiled in Alveston

Nick Livingstone

A blue plaque has been unveiled at the former home of Captain Frank Barnwell, designer of many Bristol aircraft from the start of the first world war to just before the start of the second. Barnwell joined the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company at Filton in 1911, and designed the Bristol Scout (1914), Bristol Fighter, Bristol Bulldog and Bristol Blenheim. He was killed in 1938 when flying a prototype plane that he had designed and built himself. His home is now the Alveston House Hotel. Read more here.

BAC talk: "My Journey Through Aviation Medicine"

Nick Livingstone

The next BAC evening talk takes place at BAWA in Filton on Friday 27th April 2012 at 7:15pm. Michael Bagshaw, former RAF fast jet pilot, and retired senior medical officer at the RAF institute of Aviation Medicine, will talk about his career in Aviation Medicine.

Bristol Aero Collection to leave Kemble Home - Last Chance for Public Visits

Nick Livingstone

Due to the expiration of the lease on part of Hangar E2 at Kemble Airfield the Bristol Aero Collection will be leaving its home for the past fifteen years later this year. During its time at  Kemble the BAC has acquired a growing reputation for its collection of artefacts and archives setting out the achievements and history of 100 years of aviation and associated industries originating from the Bristol Aeroplane Company. BAC has been fortunate to receive the support of a number of companies, organizations and local authorities and in particular from Airbus and BAE Systems without whose generosity Kemble would not have survived.

The day to day operation of Kemble has been undertaken by a very loyal and dedicated group of members and volunteers who will be on hand to welcome visitors when the BAC opens to the public over the whole of the Easter weekend (Good Friday through to Easter Monday) from 10am to 4pm and then every Sunday and Monday until 28th May. The hangar will then be closed to the public to enable the exhibits and archives to be dismantled and prepared for transport to a temporary store.
Discussions are taking place with a view to securing appropriate storage convenient to the heritage site provisionally identified as part of the future of Filton Airfield to which the BAC plans to become a significant contributor.

Access to the hangar is from the A429 north of Malmesbury and admission prices remain unchanged at Adults £5, Concessions £4, Children £2.50, Family Ticket £12.

Airbus pledges one million euros to Filton museum

Nick Livingstone

The planned museum at Filton for Concorde 216 and the Bristol Aero Collection moved a step closer today with the announcement that Airbus has pledged around £840,000 to the project. This is in addition to the substantial sums that Airbus have already spent on the upkeep of G-BOAF since it arrived at Filton in 2003. News about the Heritage Lottery Fund application for £2.9 million will be announced soon.

Filton airfield closure

Nick Livingstone

BAE Systems have announced that the airfield at Filton will close in December 2012. This will not affect the Airbus and GKN factory, although alternative arrangements will be made for the transport of Airbus A400M wings to Spain. The closure is not expected to have any effect on the current Heritage Lottery Fund application and the associated Concorde Trust proposals. A close interest will be kept on any emerging plans for the future use of the site.

BAC 100 events: Wings over Stonehenge - 1910 Autumn Manoeuvres Centenary Walk

Nick Livingstone

Walk in the slipstream of pioneer aviators Captain Bertram Dickson and Robbie Loraine. See where their Bristol Boxkites were based when they flew the first aerial scouting sorties for the Army's Autumn Manoeuvres on Salisbury Plain in 1910. These sorties galvanised the Army into ordering its first aeroplanes and led to the foundation of the Royal Flying Corps and hence the Royal Air Force. These illustrated walks cover how aviation developed on Larkhill and Stonehenge from 1908 to 1918.

These two walks take place on 25th and 26th September 2010 both starting at 11:00am. They are organised by the National Trust, and prices are £3 for NT members, £5 for non-members. For more details, visit the National Trust website.

Children's Activity Day - 21st August 2010

Nick Livingstone

On Saturday 21st August the Bristol Aero Collection is hosting a Children's Activity Day. There will be special hands-on workshops for youngsters 7-16 years old, starting at 10.00am, 12.00 noon and 2.00pm. Activities include: making and flying gliders, kites, rockets, hot-air balloons, radio-controlled flying models and mini-beast hunts. Normal museum entry charges apply - no additional charge for workshop sessions. Adults - £5.00  Concessions - £4.00  Children (5-16) - £2.50 Family (2 + 2) - £12.00.

To reserve workshop places, please email or phone 01761 490653. All participants will receive a free copy of The 2010 Book of Aviation Wonder, celebrating the Bristol Aeroplane Company centenary.

100th anniversary of the Boxkite

Nick Livingstone

July 2010 sees the centenary of the first flight of the Bristol Boxkite, the first successful aeroplane built at Filton. The flight was made at Larkhill near Stonehenge, but a few months later Sir George White, chairman of the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company, brought a Boxkite to Durdham Downs, to show the local population his new contraption.

The Bristol Aero Collection is celebrating the maiden flight but organising an event on the Downs, with the support of the Bristol International Kite Festival. In the absence of an original Boxkite, we have arranged for school pupils from Bristol and South Gloucestershire to launch one hundred box kites, decorated by the pupils themselves. The event starts at 10:30am, and should finish by 12:30pm.

Hangar re-open, and National Families Week

Nick Livingstone

Following the completion of our unplanned essential maintenance, the Bristol Aero Collection at Kemble has re-opened to visitors, from Sunday 23rd May.

As part of National Families Week, our hangar display will be open to the public every day of the week, which starts on Monday 30th May and runs through to Sunday 6th June. We are also open on our usual summer opening days, Sundays and Mondays.