Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 14°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Purleigh: £1.5 million grant secures future of historic Stow Maries Aerodrome

14:11 16 October 2013

Stow Maries Aerodrome

Stow Maries Aerodrome

Archant

The future of an historic First World War aerodrome in north Essex has been secured thanks to a £1.5million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Pilots at Stow Maries during the First World WarPilots at Stow Maries during the First World War

The money has enabled the Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome Trust to buy the Stow Maries site in Purleigh near Maldon and continue with its plans to restore the location to its former glory.

Built in 1916 as a direct response to increased attacks by German Zeppelin airships, Stow Maries is considered unique in terms of its historical importance.

Of the 250 aerodromes built during the First World War, just ten still exist and only Stow Maries has remained untouched since the war ended in 1918. The site is home to 24 Grade-II listed operation buildings including the original officers’ mess, the pilots’ ready room and the aircraft workshop.

The aerodrome, which has been partially restored by volunteers, also holds an important place in aviation folklore – being the place where the last Zeppelin of the Great War was shot down and the first British airfield to accept American squadrons after the USA entered the war in 1918.

But volunteers from the trust had feared much of the site might have been lost had it fallen into the hands of developers, according to the aerodrome manager Russell Savory.

He said: “The land belonged to a private owner who wanted to sell and there was always the chance it could fall into the wrong hands, so it is good to know that it now belongs to the public in perpetuity.

“When most people think of the Great War they think of the trenches but it was also the first war to be fought in the air. The pilots flying from places like Stow Maries were pioneers - people hadn’t had bombs dropped on them before and they were absolutely terrified.

“This was only 12 years after the Wright Brothers made their first flight and there were a lot of crashes in the early days as the pilots learnt by their mistakes.”

Mr Savory was instrumental in setting up the Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome Trust and also played a part in cleaning out some of the outbuildings after they were rediscovered in 2009.

He added: “All other airfields from the First World War have been built on since but apart from a few soldiers and farmers no-one had used the site since the gates were closed in 1919.

“When we came here in 2009, the pilot’s ready room was hidden under a great big bramble bush with only the chimney sticking out and the room we use for the museum today was filthy as it had last been used as a chicken shed.”

The purchase of the site, which was made possible with additional funding from Essex County Council, Maldon District Council and English Heritage, not only secures the long-term future of the aerodrome as it currently exists, but also paves the way towards the phased on-going restoration of the site.

Future plans include housing a working collection of First World War aircraft at the site and developing an apprenticeship scheme aimed at keeping heritage aviation skills alive and the planes in the air.

0 comments

Team manager Alf Ramsey and trainer Harold Sheperdson (standing) watch England's victory over Germany in the 1966 World Cup

On the 50th anniversary of his greatest triumph, we are today celebrating Sir Alf Ramsey, the man who inspired both Ipswich Town and England to extraordinary levels of success and glory.

Police have been called to a collision between a Ford Focus and a Ford Fiesta near to the Suffolk Ski Centre.

Sir Stanley Rous

Sir Alf Ramsey wasn’t the only Suffolk knight to have a key role in the World Cup Final of 1966.

Motorcyclist banned

A handyman has lost his driving licence after police saw him speeding on his motorbike while over the drug-drive limit.

Millions of pounds are lost each year in our region due to people wasting medicines. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Suffolk health chiefs are urging people to buy their own treatments after they spent £3.4 million on “wasted medicines” in the past year.

Old Alderman Blaxill School, currently the Stanway Federation Learning Centre.

A new superschool could be built on the site of a former secondary school in Colchester – potentially also including homes for teachers.

GV - Ipswich Crown Court

An Essex woman who took advantage of her estranged husband being in hospital to steal his cheque book and plunder more than £18,000 from his bank account has been jailed.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24