Airship museum for Suffolk

AMBITIOUS plans to build the country's first national airship and balloon museum have been unveiled as part of a multi-million pound community project in Kesgrave.

AMBITIOUS plans to build the country's first national airship and balloon museum have been unveiled as part of a multi-million pound community project in Kesgrave.

Details of the proposed museum, a sports centre, a veterinary practice and business units and homes have been unveiled by Kesgrave Covenant Ltd for 5.5 hectares of land on Grange Farm.

A planning application has been submitted to Suffolk Coastal District Council and it is now being sent out to interested parties for consultation.

The Airship Heritage Trust, originally the Friends of Cardington Airship Station formed in 1985, is a registered charity aiming to illustrate the history of international Lighter-than-Air Flight. (LTA)The Trust will not have to pay for the land being provided for the museum off Hartree Way.


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A Trust spokesman said: "The site selected at Kesgrave, close to the church dedicated to the memory of the victims of the R101 disaster and in area that has many associations with airships, is most appropriate.

"When the proposed airship and balloon museum is fully established, the LTA story will be told in a way that will enthral everyone. The display should be optimistic; not dwelling on the disasters but emphasising the successes of airships and balloons and should satisfy a wide range of interests.

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"History, old and new technology, human stories, social vignettes, material, models and memorabilia will be demonstrated and displayed with the aid of modern interactive media technology. Facilities will exist for study and research, particularly by local educational establishments."

The material includes airship artefacts from a small unofficial museum in the original Royal Airship Works at Cardington, gifts, loans and 250 unique photographs entitled Housing the Airship, previously shown in the Science Museum.

The spokesman added: "Significant material, held by other museums and individuals, has been promised to the Trust for display when the museum has been established. Today, the whole collection is one of the premier archives of LTA material in the UK and has been accessed for filming, academic and literary research.

"Conservation work on the larger artefacts has been impossible for some years because the collection has had to be in deep storage. The public has been unable to view any of the collection."

The material is temporarily stored at the Shuttleworth Trust, Old Warden, Bedfordshire.

*The R101was a passenger carrying airship. Built at Cardington, the airship crashed in France in 1930 with the death of 48 people. Among them was Sqdr Ldr Michael Rope who had married Lucy Jolly, of Kesgrave, in 1929. In 1931 St Michael's Church was opened in Kesgrave as a memorial.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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