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.