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RAF Museum Hendon - Closure / Dispersion of Battle of Britain Hall

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  • Rocketeer
    trying harder
    • Jan 2005
    • 5244

    RAF Museum Hendon - Closure / Dispersion of Battle of Britain Hall

    I visited the dismantled aircraft in the BoB Hall. All very interesting, but, I am dumbstruck by the fact this wonderful hall is being closed and its items dispersed.

    The signage gives a false impression that they are just checking the condition of the aircraft. There is no mention that the hall will close, the bombers will go in the bomber hall and the fighters in next to the cafe in the main hall. It does not mention that the Me110 and Ju88 are off to cosford with the defiant, nor that the jungmann will be disposed of. It doesn't say what will happen to the art, the relics, the replica Uxbridge ops room, searchlight mannequins, art, medals and Churchill. All aircraft are effected except the Sunderland. Information is out there in the web, but not that readily available.

    The hall gives context to the Battle of Britain, it is a national curriculum subject and also covered Evacuees as well as events leading to the war. The film was a big favourite of my non aviation enthusiastic family. One could readily see which were the main aircraft of both sides and the film made it easy to understand for all ages. I don't care that the ju88, 87 and 110 and 111 were later models, they were examples. Besides joe public did not care. How can the BoB be told with the aircraft dispersed?

    I asked a few visitors what the thought of the hall going. All were surprised. I left a comments slip but it sounds like no one will read it or care.

    I feel aggrieved that whilst the RAF history is more than the Battle, it was the Finest Hour not only for the RAF but also this country. It was a huge turning point in those very very dark days.

    Whilst a museum needs to be fresh and appealing to the public (not just enthusiasts), forgetting the Battle is not the way to do it. I would have expected the Battle to be a big part of the RAF 100th anniversary, not hidden away. It would be like the RN forgetting Trafalgar, Tarranto, Jutland etc or the Army forgetting Waterloo etc.

    When I was a student in the 80s, I spent many days walking around that Hall and reflecting. In the years to today, I would spend at least two days a year there. it is a tragedy that this will no longer be possible

    Sorry, but the RAF Museum have upset me with this. I cannot believe the wider RAF would be happy.

    If I am wide of the mark or wrong please correct me. I will post some pictures of what we will be losing.

    Please keep this discussion on track and not descend to discussion on lighting!
    Tony Dyer
    https://www.facebook.com/TheAirDefen...homepage_panel
  • hawker1966
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Nov 2010
    • 698

    #2
    Just reading this makes my blood boil, i for one visit Hendon on a regular basis mainly because of the "Battle of Britain Hall" and the aircraft and stories films within it. (is it me or is this very disrespectful) surely if one hall should remain then its got to be the memory to the Few.Like you say Rocketeer wouldn't you of thought the Battle of Britain would of been a big part of the Raf 100th anniversary (strange decision to say the least)

    When you consider that many schools and the very young Generation visit Hendon on a daily basis,then surely this remarkable and courageous story will be lost.. as how else will the story of one of the biggest battles in our history be told.

    (This is when im very thankful to the smaller Museums around the country in keeping this Story alive)

    This will be a big loss to the Museum, lets just hope its a temporary decision.
    Last edited by hawker1966; 31st May 2016, 21:54.

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    • hawker1966
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Nov 2010
      • 698

      #3
      Wasn't the Dornier eventually coming to the Battle of Britain hall Hendon?

      Comment

      • Creaking Door
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Sep 2006
        • 9863

        #4
        Whilst I agree that it is a great shame that this unique collection of aircraft is being dispersed I think most would agree that the Battle-of-Britain Hall is well overdue for a serious refurbishment.

        Collection aircraft seem to move around a lot more between the RAF Museum (and other) sites these days, and the sub-collection in question has been all but static for forty years, so we can only hope that the these aircraft will be reunited in the not too distant future (in a new purpose-built building, perhaps on a Battle-of-Britain airfield, that reflects both the historical value and the unique nature of these aircraft)?
        WA$.

        Comment

        • Consul
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Aug 2004
          • 1768

          #5
          The changes could be a response to this strategic plan described in the following report. See in particular page 12 - the BoB was not designated as an individual "chapter":

          http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/document...14_to_2019.pdf
          "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."(Mary Baker Eddy)

          Comment

          • Creaking Door
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Sep 2006
            • 9863

            #6
            Originally posted by Consul View Post
            The changes could be a response to this strategic plan described in the following report:

            http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/document...14_to_2019.pdf
            The RAF Museum Colindale.....where the **** is Colindale? Oh, they mean RAF Hendon!
            WA$.

            Comment

            • TallyHo!
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Oct 2014
              • 153

              #7
              I agree that the hall could have done with some updating but I am greatly disappointed/upset to find it is closing. I too was under the impression when I visited earlier this year that the aircraft were only undergoing inspection. It feels they have been a little disingenious if this is the case. Especially when they have posted the likes of this on YouTube https://youtu.be/nq0era2R_zk

              Comment

              • aeronut 2008
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Jan 2008
                • 1566

                #8
                I gave up trying to read that corporate bollox document, my blood pressure was suffering.
                The list of stake holders missed the biggest player - the tax paying public!
                Don't give me a digital culture, all that means is even more 'out of order' signs hanging off computer screens on pedestals and dumbed down data on the remaining working screens.
                Also, if the RAF's Finest hour isn't one of the Core objectives I don't what is.
                The BoB hall was fine as it was before the film show ruined it and that out of scale statue appeared.

                Comment

                • Creaking Door
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Sep 2006
                  • 9863

                  #9
                  Originally posted by aeronut 2008 View Post
                  The list of stake holders missed the biggest player - the tax paying public!
                  Maybe not in the list of stakeholders but later in the document it describes the 'audience' of the museum(s):

                  "The Museum's core audiences are local. In London, this means great diversification of backgrounds, origins and ethnicities. For both sites, there is a passing of the militarised generations of wartime and national service to a public with little experience of the RAF. The Museum needs to help them to understand the RAF."
                  It is an interesting statement that the museum's 'core' audience is local. Surely that is a statement of failure on the part of the museum; the visitors to any museum should come because of what the museum is and not just because the museum is conveniently located? And free.
                  Last edited by Creaking Door; 31st May 2016, 23:39.
                  WA$.

                  Comment

                  • Lysanderlover
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • May 2015
                    • 82

                    #10
                    It really seems the RAFM has lost it's way. I know they were offered the donation of an immaculate P-40 to replace the dogs breakfast they have on exhibit now. They had no interest at all.

                    I think after the Copping affair they just wanted to duck and cover and were unwilling to have potential comparison if a new P-40 was to arrive for exhibit.

                    Comment

                    • Pen Pusher
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Mar 2005
                      • 2657

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Rocketeer View Post
                      I visited the dismantled aircraft in the BoB Hall. All very interesting, but, I am dumbstruck by the fact this wonderful hall is being closed and its items dispersed.
                      How has this come as a surprise when we were posting photos of the aircraft in the BoB Hall being dismantled

                      http://forum.keypublishing.com/showt...endon+bob+hall

                      and posted various links at the time to what was going on at Hendon.

                      http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/w...8-million-for/

                      Brian
                      The Future Of Photography Is Mirrorless

                      DUXFORDfotoGALLERY
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                      Comment

                      • Fournier Boy
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Mar 2007
                        • 1044

                        #12
                        Having spoken at length recently with a member of staff at the museum, the comments historically on here back up exactly what they said. The vast majority of Aviation enthusiasts that visit the museum are gentleman in the 40+ age range who visit in small numbers during the week. Some school visits occur during weekdays as part of their curriculum studies.

                        In far far greater numbers are the visitors at the weekend, and consist almost entirely of families who spend 2-3 hours at the museum and move on. These are mostly Londoners and surrounding areas, with tourists and visitors to the country. In contrast are the visitor stats to Cosford, who do not benefit with the same level of transport accessibility as Hendon does.
                        The current RAFM management are much more in touch now with the majority of its visitors, whereas historically they only saw what occurred at the museum during the weekdays, the new management see and know what their weekend visitors bring to the site.

                        At the end of the day it is a "Museum of the RAF", most of the range of exhibits I say personally fit better in an "Imperial War Museum" environment. I quite agree that a post war Jungmann has no place in the "museum of the RAF". Equally, much as I love the artefacts in the BoB hall, I do believe that the RAF museum should tell the whole story of the RAF, not just a few campaigns.

                        Their aim is to tell this story to little Jimmy who has a maximum attention span of 3 hours, so to go into finite detail of everything will be lost on them, and your previously excited child gets bored. What is the most popular exhibit there? It's not the Lanc, or the super rare machines, it's the knackered old JP fuselage that Jimmy and his friends can sit in and wiggle the controls!
                        As previously said, not everything in the BoB hall is of that period, being more representative of the types used. By spreading the aeroplanes around I believe they are right in raising visitor numbers to Cosford, and a change of airframes in an otherwise fairly stagnant display should be refreshing. The success of the WW1 in the air is set to continue with similar displays representative all periods of the RAF history, including past present and future, including more interactive activities to keep the attention of the young. The museum is not there as a recruiting tool for the military, however the vast majority of the funding does come from the RAF and it's subsidiaries. To look at this thread with fresh eyes makes me think that a few individuals that visit time and time again midweek would rather see the same exhibits they have done for 20+ years than new and fresh material to inspire the young?

                        Times and interests move on, I would personally cut the management slack that they are updating the museum to appeal to the masses and not pandering to the desires of the hardcore enthusiast minority. I know I would rather take any child of mine to a museum that captivates them for the whole trip and interests me than one that captivates me and leaves a child bored never wanting to return.

                        The aircraft you love will still be preserved, you are losing nothing, just think about the next generation for a moment - they don't necessarily want the same as you and they are there in far bigger numbers, often for different reasons.

                        FB

                        Originally posted by Creaking Door View Post
                        Maybe not in the list of stakeholders but later in the document it describes the 'audience' of the museum(s):


                        It is an interesting statement that the museum's 'core' audience is local. Surely that is a statement of failure on the part of the museum; the visitors to any museum should come because of what the museum is and not just because the museum is conveniently located? And free.
                        Last edited by Fournier Boy; 1st June 2016, 07:17. Reason: Missing word

                        Comment

                        • Rocketeer
                          trying harder
                          • Jan 2005
                          • 5244

                          #13
                          Simple Pen Pusher old chap. I don't have time to trawl all the threads as I work and have limited time and the title is not as attention getting to me. The search facility would not help in this instance and obviously I am stupid.
                          Tony Dyer
                          https://www.facebook.com/TheAirDefen...homepage_panel

                          Comment

                          • SADSACK
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Jan 2000
                            • 3482

                            #14
                            The purpose of the entire museum is to exhibit the RAF history... so some over paid idiot decided to rip up the Battle of Britain collection to use the hall for an exhibition about the history of the RAF!
                            pb::

                            Comment

                            • Rocketeer
                              trying harder
                              • Jan 2005
                              • 5244

                              #15
                              I am not a dinosaur FB and know the museum has to appeal to all not just enthusiasts. I am working more and more with education needs and the National Curriculum (NC). The Battle of Britain Hall, in its present form, provides a simple one stop shop for a subject on the NC. It showed where everything fitted what led to it and why it was important. i.e. context. The museum changes will make teaching that part of the NC more difficult.

                              I think revamping the Hall would be a good idea, but removal/dispersion is not.
                              Tony Dyer
                              https://www.facebook.com/TheAirDefen...homepage_panel

                              Comment

                              • Rocketeer
                                trying harder
                                • Jan 2005
                                • 5244

                                #16
                                I should have added that the floor space of the hall was small compared to that of the rest of the museum. So there is plenty of room to display the rest of the history. The Battle of Britain is not only of importance to the RAF, but also to London, the whole of this country and world history. Without it going the way it did, the world would be different today.

                                If there was an equivalent of world heritage sites applied to history shaping events, the BoB would be there.

                                Before you all start, I am aware of other important crossroad events in history - but they are not the subject of this thread!
                                Tony Dyer
                                https://www.facebook.com/TheAirDefen...homepage_panel

                                Comment

                                • Bruce
                                  Independent analyst
                                  • Jan 2000
                                  • 10225

                                  #17
                                  I think its quite difficult to make a judgement without knowing what it is being replaced with. Clearly the Battle of Britain cannot be ignored, so unless you know how they are going to interpret it for the future, you cannot condemn them out of hand. I have to confess, I agree with Fournier Boy to a point - the Battle of Britain is a subject for the Imperial War Museum rather than for a museum which concentrates on the history of the RAF, even if that was a defining moment.

                                  Unless museums like RAFM change, they will die. Hendon has spent a lot of time and effort on adding things of late, without really changing the core offer, which remains exactly as it was when I visited the place as a child. The overhaul is long overdue IMHO.


                                  Bruce

                                  Comment

                                  • stuart gowans
                                    Not a real Spitfire
                                    • Dec 2005
                                    • 2005

                                    #18
                                    So in essence the RAFM Hendon will keep changing to accommodate the changing population of London? basically the museum is in the wrong place.
                                    Why be your own worse critic, that's what the forum is for.

                                    Comment

                                    • mmitch
                                      Member
                                      • Mar 2003
                                      • 1750

                                      #19
                                      My 'Sad RAF Museum' thread stirred up a lot of 'you were wrong' comments but I had that feeling of a museum running down
                                      even to closure. When you see an area being cleared and redecorated like there is a plan then it does at least promise something better. Perhaps they want to build a larger catering area that they can lease it to KFC or somebody.
                                      mmitch.

                                      Comment

                                      • Bob
                                        Bob
                                        Aerophile
                                        • Jan 2000
                                        • 3657

                                        #20
                                        Or sell off what is a prime bit of real estate so yet more houses can be built and disperse the exhibits to other sites/storage...
                                        Under my gruff exterior lies an even gruffer interior...

                                        行雲流水

                                        Warbirdskies Blog

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