Royal Air Force Museum London
The Royal Air Force Museum London, also commonly known as the RAF Museum is located on the former Hendon Aerodrome. It includes five buildings and hangars with close to 100 aircraft, showing the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force. It is part of the Royal Air Force Museum, and there is another site at RAF Cosford in Shropshire.
The Museum at Colindale was once part of the RAF Hendon station and before that, one of the first civilian airfields. In 1914, the aerodrome was requisitioned for Home Defence during the First World War. Hendon became a Royal Naval Air Station, training new pilots in the flying schools on site. Operations ceased after the end of the Great War.
From 1927 to 1939 Hendon housed No. 601 Squadron, nicknamed the ‘Millionaires’ Squadron’ due to the wealth and upper social class of its volunteers. In 1939, the outbreak of war saw Hendon once again become an operational RAF station, home to No. 24 Transport and Communications Squadron. RAF Hendon also served briefly as a fighter station during the Battle of Britain. The last flight to Hendon in 1968, before the museums opened in 1972. Soon afterwards, the runways were removed to make way for a housing estate.
Highlights of the Royal Air Force Museum London
- Avro Lancaster S-Sugar, which flew 137 sorties
- Hawker Typhoon
- Westland Sea King helicopter
- Gnat fast jet trainer of the Red Arrows
- F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter
Royal Air Force Museum London
- Museum: Royal Air Force Museum London
- Formerly: RAF Museum London
- City: London
- Country: United Kingdom
- Established: 1972
- Type: Air Force Museum
- Location: Colindale, London, United Kingdom
Visiting the Royal Air Force Museum London
The Royal Air Force Museum London is arranged over six hangars and the following themes:
- Hangar 1 – RAF Stories and First to the Future
- The main point of entry to the Museum.
- Covers the first 100 years 1918-2018 of the RAF and explores the people of the RAF and the changes in technology.
- Hangar 2 – The Grahame-White Factory
- Exhibits on the earliest days of flight on the site of The London Aerodrome, through to the formation of the independent Royal Air Force in 1918.
- Hangars 3 and 4 – The Historic Aircraft Hangars
- Highlights the aircraft of the Second World War and the Cold War. It includes original Battle of Britain fighter aircraft: the Hawker Hurricane, Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Supermarine Spitfire; helicopters, and Cold War jet aircraft.
- Hangar 5 – Bomber Hall
- Highlights of the Battle of Britain with exhibits of the German Junkers Ju 87 Stuka and Heinkel He 111 bombers.
- Hangar 6 – RAF in an Age of Uncertainty
- Highlights the RAF from 1980 to the 21st century.
- The Museum Archives
- Consisting of thousands of paper documents, books and photographs are situated on the top floor of Hangars 3/4/5.
- The Museum has a restaurant built within a 1930s mess store building.
- Children’s Play Area
- A children’s play area has some mini RAF aircraft, vehicles and buildings to explore.
The Hendon Aerodrome was an aerodrome in London, that was an essential centre for aviation from 1908 to 1968. It was situated in Colindale, seven miles (11.3 km) north-west of Charing Cross. It was known as a historic site of the early pioneering initiatives including the first airmail, the first parachute descent from a powered aircraft, the first night flights, and the first aerial defence of a city.
The first flight from Hendon was a balloon called the Mammoth in 1862. The first powered flight from Hendon was in an 88-foot (27 m) long non-rigid airship in 1909. Today, Hendon houses the London branch of the Royal Air Force Museum
- Historic Site: Hendon Aerodrome
- Type: Naval air station, Royal Air Force station
- Owner: Air Ministry (1922-1964), Ministry of Defence
- In use: 1908-1987
- Battles/wars: First World War, Second World War
Explore London’s Museums and Heritage Sites
- The British Museum
- The National Gallery, London
- Tate Britain
- The Wallace Collection
- The Victoria and Albert Museum
- Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace
- Courtauld Gallery
- Tate Modern, London
- Science Museum, London
- National Portrait Gallery, London
- Natural History Museum
- Charles Dickens Museum
- Hampton Court Palace
- Sherlock Holmes Museum
- British Library
- Imperial War Museum
- Churchill War Rooms
- Florence Nightingale Museum
- Foundling Museum
- Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy
- Cutty Sark, Royal Museums Greenwich
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
- Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
- Queen’s House, Greenwich
- Royal Observatory, Greenwich
- Guildhall Art Gallery, London
- HMS Belfast
- Jewel Tower
- Jewish Museum London
- Bank of England Museum
- London Transport Museum
- Museum of London
- Museum of London Docklands
- National Army Museum, London
- Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
- Royal Air Force Museum London
- Sir John Soane’s Museum
“The power of an air force is terrific when there is nothing to oppose it.”
– Winston Churchill
Photo Credit: JOM