RAF Biggin Hill is close to the hearts of many an old boy from Cray Valley and although the station closed in 1992 St George’s Chapel with its famous replicas of the Spitfire and Hurricane remain a landmark and lasting tribute to The Few. The gates to the chapel and gardens of remembrance are currently chained nut!

Read more about the ‘distressing plans’ for the chapel inflicted by the London Borough of Bromley and perhaps sign the petition by clicking HERE.

 

John Willis Comments

These are the comments from John Willis a lifelong user of Biggin Hill who is currently abroad and has asked me to post this as he is unable to do so at present for technical reasons:

 

A lot of people are up in arms at the design of the Heritage Museum to be located at the
Chapel. But unfortunately a lot of these same people are the ones who wasted 10 years and countless
millions of pounds arguing the toss over where the museum should be and who should run it…

I agree it is not the best design (in fact I think it looks crap!) but – it has got the funding secured for the
build and the future of the actual chapel is secured long term as a result. The only part that is being
demolished is the more recently added vestry alongside the chapel.

I believe that Biggin Hill needs this museum, and always has. It would have had one years ago if the
different factions had come together and agreed a common route to the end product goal. As it was –
in-squabbling and politics saw loads of money raised being wasted whilst they all fought to be “in charge” of the future project.

The charity formed to protect the future of the chapel have raised the funding and got council and lottery funding secured and the council’s support for the design (which the council accepted) and the build is about to start. So, this way Biggin Hill WILL get a museum, which it deserves of course!

The current battle by a few stalwarts who don’t agree with the design, is typical of what has happened
before – and all that it will achieve is to prevent the museum ever happening. The secured funding would
be withdrawn, and the end result of opposition will be to see the whole project shelved yet again while
everyone fights for their own ideas – the net result is Biggin Hill gets nothing!!

And – if the museum is stopped, and the funding lost, then I believe the very future of the beautiful St
George’s Chapel will be placed at risk.

So – what I am saying is – I agree it is a crap design – but at the end of the day – Biggin Hill WILL get its
museum and the future of the chapel will be secured for the long term. After all is said and done – isn’t that what we all want?  The design is somewhat irrelevant, if we get what has always been wanted for Biggin Hill – something, is surely better than nothing – isn’t it?


The Closing of RAF Biggin Hill

 

In a previous life I was proud to be commissioned (by the LBB) to create a film on the closure of RAF Biggin Hill. This now rests in the archives of the Imperial War Museum and for those who have not already seen it before (November 2016) it can be viewed below. (Unfortunately the final part is missing along with the credits).

 

 

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7 responses »

  1. David Baker says:

    A worthy cause I have signed the petition and passed it on
    David Baker

    Like

  2. Peter Jenkins says:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I hope many others sign the petition and force a review of this unbelievable lack of empathy by LBB, all in the name of “improvements” and profits. In Spain, works like this usually happen so that councillors and their relatives can cream off a nice bonus for themselves, deposited offshore somewhere, all in the name of the community. I’m sure that this is not the case here and somebody misguidedly thought that this really was a good idea to trample all over our history.

    Like

  3. Neil Gent says:

    Petition signed, with real feeling.

    Like

  4. Adrian Moore. says:

    I had signed the petition earlier today but thanks for raising further awareness of it. I have emailed all my pilot friends to get them to sign as well. Hopefully the LBB will take note and act in an appropriate way.

    Like

  5. PAUL MEDDEMMEN says:

    Discussion on this subject on the Key Aviation forum here, https://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?142907-BIGGIN-HILL-MUSEUM&highlight=BIGGIN+HILL+SAVE
    my views are in post #20.
    There is now only one E pen left and a wooden watch hut that is said to date from 1940, I also understand that there may be several Pickett-Hamilton forts. There are, of course, air raid shelters, remember that one was hit in a raid causing serious loss of life. There have been moves for years trying to get these artifacts preserved with no result and this plan does not even mention them.
    It would appear that the multi-million pound spend is on a new building, some call it hideous, which will contain displays relating to people who served at BH. In my view this would be far better served with a website which can be accessed from all over the world, leave the church alone as a place of remembrance and spend just a little money on preserving and making accessible the E pen, watch hut, AR shelter and a PH fort. If the PH fort was put back into operating condition people would come to see that working.
    This seems to be another case of serious money being spent on designer buildings which have no relevance to aviation or the site.

    Like

  6. Colin Cadle says:

    I am posting this on behalf of John Willis who is abroad at present and for technical reasons cannot post it himself:

    “A lot of people are up in arms at the design of the Heritage Museum to be located at the
    Chapel. But unfortunately a lot of these same people are the ones who wasted 10 years and countless
    millions of pounds arguing the toss over where the museum should be and who should run it…

    I agree it is not the best design (in fact I think it looks crap!) but – it has got the funding secured for the
    build and the future of the actual chapel is secured long term as a result. The only part that is being
    demolished is the more recently added vestry alongside the chapel.

    I believe that Biggin Hill needs this museum, and always has. It would have had one years ago if the
    different factions had come together and agreed a common route to the end product goal. As it was –
    in-squabbling and politics saw loads of money raised being wasted whilst they all fought to be “in charge”
    of the future project.

    The charity formed to protect the future of the chapel have raised the funding and got council and lottery
    funding secured and the council’s support for the design (which the council accepted) and the build is
    about to start. So, this way Biggin Hill WILL get a museum, which it deserves of course!

    The current battle by a few stalwarts who don’t agree with the design, is typical of what has happened
    before – and all that it will achieve is to prevent the museum ever happening. The secured funding would
    be withdrawn, and the end result of opposition will be to see the whole project shelved yet again while
    everyone fights for their own ideas – the net result is Biggin Hill gets nothing!!

    And – if the museum is stopped, and the funding lost, then I believe the very future of the beautiful St
    George’s Chapel will be placed at risk.

    So – what I am saying is – I agree it is a crap design – but at the end of the day – Biggin Hill WILL get its
    museum and the future of the chapel will be secured for the long term. After all is said and done – isn’t that
    what we all want? The design is somewhat irrelevant, if we get what has always been wanted for Biggin
    Hill – something, is surely better than nothing – isn’t it?”

    Like

    • Barry Jackson says:

      Well said Colin, my dad was ex RAF, like a lot of Kent service men his first posting was to North Yorkshire, Catterick in his case. This was to ensure it wasn’t going to be easy to slip off home at night, similarly Geordies were sent to enjoy the delights at Faversham. My dad fought his way home via East and North Africa then Italy with one goal, to be victorious. My mother’s eldest brother fought in the Queen’s regiment. I have a lot of feeling for the men of the RAF and remember family trips to the air displays at Biggin Hill including one memorable day when all the V-bombers were present ie Vulcan, Valiant and Victor. I think like my dad the one victory has been to secure a museum, and although some battles have been lost in the process the result serves the memory of all those who fought so heroically, so that we could have these debates, the best.

      Like

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