Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players (the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a grant of nearly £2 million) and funding received from several Trusts and Foundations including The Garfield Weston Trust, The Hobson Charity, The Foyle Foundation, Paul Allen Philanthropies, Barclays Bank, plus donations from our many supporters, the “de Havilland Aircraft Museum in the 21st Century Project” can now be built. It is a significant investment in Hertfordshire’s aviation heritage and Community facilities.
Official Permission to start from the HLF was given in August and contractors will arrive on site at the beginning of November, once the Museum closes for the winter from 5th November, until February 2019.
The Project enables the building of a large new hangar at the museum, providing an all-undercover experience for visitors to see a range of historic aircraft designed by the de Havilland Aircraft Company at its Hatfield factory.
Museum chairman Alan Brackley stressed that the museum will be continue to be open to visitors seven days a week during 2019 all the time that building is in progress and emphasised the need to continue to raise funding to ensure that the project can be completed.
“Visitors will not be inconvenienced in any way whatsoever,” said Mr. Brackley. “All of our Museum will be accessible for visitors to get close to and into several of our military aircraft and civil airliners.”
A feature of the volunteer-run museum is that visitors can see also restoration work being carried out on some of the aircraft, such as the DH.98 Mosquito and DH.106 Comet.
Mr Brackley added: “Thanks to the money raised by the National Lottery players and the many other supporters of the museum the new hangar project will not only safely display several important aircraft exhibits inside the new building away from the rigours of the British weather, but it will be able to offer the local community an exciting venue for meetings, conferences, parties, learning and other social events.”
The museum, which attracts several thousands of visitors each year, is the oldest aviation museum in Britain and concentrates on the many types of aircraft and engines built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company at its Hatfield factory in Hertfordshire.
It is based in the grounds of Salisbury Hall, a Tudor mansion, which during the Second World War was used by de Havilland as its secret design centre for its “Wooden Wonder” Mosquito twin-engine multi-role aircraft.
The prototype Mosquito W4050 is one of three examples of the type on display, more than can be seen at any other museum in the world.
Next year the museum will be celebrating its 60th anniversary, having been founded by the then owner of Salisbury Hall, Walter Goldsmith, and opened to the public with one small hangar and one exhibit, the Mosquito Prototype, W4050.
A second, larger hangar was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1984.
“We are a working museum where visitors can watch restoration work being carried out and can get up close to the aircraft. It is run by volunteers, some of whom were among the many thousands of people who worked for de Havilland,” said Mr Brackley.
More information about the museum can be found by visiting www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk