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

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  • Meddle
    Rank Bajin.
    • Sep 2014
    • 1626

    #61
    Originally posted by hampden98 View Post
    It's dusty, dark, tired and worn.
    You could say that about most of Hendon. I thought the BoB hall was one of the better elements. The bomber hall is a cramped, illogically laid out and badly lit mess of harsh spotlights and huge shadows. It is an impressive collection of aircraft, so the weekday pensioner crowd who simply want to see the same aircraft every few months in perpetuity get their fill (most of this forum, apparently). As an actual museum I thought it fell rather flat. Anywhere else a Lancaster or Vulcan would be the pinnacle of an indoor collection, but in Hendon they are relatively difficult to make out in either the gloom or the beam of the occasional spotlight, dazzling you as you look up. The Vulcan especially becomes little more than a large canopy that turns areas of the floor underneath into complete darkness.

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    • mmitch
      Member
      • Mar 2003
      • 1750

      #62
      The centre of the BofB hall is the memorial with the names of the participants surround the wreck of a Hurricane in which one died.
      I just hope that it doesn't end up in storage because someone thinks it is 'just junk.'
      mmitch.

      Comment

      • HP111
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • May 2012
        • 663

        #63
        It seems futile to criticise a redevlopment of part of the museum without knowing what is going on. What interests me more is the situation of the museum as a "tourist attraction". For some years now, attractions in central London have been steadily smartened up and public transport has also been improved. Has Hendon been missing out on this? Is it getting to be rather out on a limb? Does public transport to the museum need to be improved? Surely these are more important questions than the precise nature of the exhibitions?

        Comment

        • Mike meteor
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Sep 2014
          • 195

          #64
          Another two cents worth.
          I remember visiting the Battle of Britain Museum ( it was a 'Museum' then, not a 'Hall'), shortly after it opened. My first visit to Hendon. I was pretty disappointed. Dark, rather dull and, I thought, not a great advertisement for the RAFM as a whole. Subsequent visits reinforced this view and I tended to spend little if any, time on the place. The rest of the site, especially the galleries of artifacts and displays I found much more interesting.
          Cosford, which I visit much more regularly than Hendon, lacks the latter. (Cold War building? A vast echoey chamber with far too much background noise and a truly dopey location for the shop, but anywhere that manages to squeeze a Belfast indoors has to get my approval!).
          I'm not averse to changes at Hendon, on which I have always had a bit of a downer; when they were casting around for a location the choice of a place near London where there was no prospect of flying struck me as rather dimwitted - especially in the light of all those former bases that were closing down and had runways and all the infrastructure required to operate aircraft. (Does this dream location sound familiar?). Of course, I was a tad biased, living as I did at Syerston which at the time was utterly unused and had all those lovely Expansion Plan buildings etc with which to tell the story of the RAF. Naturally, I wanted the museum on my doorstep!
          Of course, it was a National museum so proximity to London was a consideration but the vast majority of the RAF has spent it's life in pretty rural locations and I have always wondered if those setting up the RAFM site were more concerned with the idea of the fleshpots close by with which to make a lively weekend out of the rather prosaic museum business which should have been the prime concern. (Disclaimer: purely a cynical personal opinion - it's an age thing).
          Change is inevitable I fear, and not always for the better. Like many I have strong views on the subject of RAFM decisions and policies which would,no doubt, stir up lively debate if aired but, while I feel very strongly that the BoB should be properly recognized as the pivotal event it was, I am not sorry to see the back of the Hall; time will tell, only please- don't overdo the computer graphics and interactives! ( Another age thing!).

          Comment

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

            #65
            Originally posted by mmitch View Post
            The centre of the BofB hall is the memorial with the names of the participants surround the wreck of a Hurricane in which one died.
            I just hope that it doesn't end up in storage because someone thinks it is 'just junk.'
            mmitch.
            Agreed, that is one of the most contemplative museum exhibits ever (though I miss the Home Guard mannequin) . If I had my way the Do17 would be similarly positioned on the opposite side of the hall with a list of the German dead.

            Comment

            • CeBro
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Sep 2009
              • 2148

              #66
              So then the hunt will be on to find an Italian wreck to list the fallen Italians.
              Cees

              Comment

              • SADSACK
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Jan 2000
                • 3482

                #67
                The Italian was lucky... he survived and so did the 42
                pb::

                Comment

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

                  #68
                  HP111

                  There is a bus stop virtually outside the main gate and the tube is a five minute walk away.

                  When I left an hour ago, it was quite busy mainly with kids running around.

                  Slightly off topic, I'm at the Tower of London and first time I've seen a 21 gun salute. For the Queens birthday I was told.

                  Brian
                  The Future Of Photography Is Mirrorless

                  DUXFORDfotoGALLERY
                  DfG on Facebook

                  Comment

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

                    #69
                    Originally posted by CeBro View Post
                    So then the hunt will be on to find an Italian wreck to list the fallen Italians.
                    Cees
                    Why not, there must be something in the water around Malta or in the North African desert that would fit the bill.

                    Comment

                    • CeBro
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Sep 2009
                      • 2148

                      #70
                      I'm all for it to give a balanced vision of what happend then.
                      Has any Italian aircraft investigation ever taken place in the UK?
                      Cees

                      Comment

                      • HP111
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • May 2012
                        • 663

                        #71
                        Originally posted by Pen Pusher View Post
                        HP111
                        ..... the tube is a five minute walk away......
                        Brian
                        Just to be pedantic on that point, it was more like twelve minutes last time I timed it - so 15 minutes for a lot of people.
                        It hasn't always been obvious what route to take from the tube station.
                        I am just trying to understand the parameters relating to access to the museum.
                        I am tending to feel that Hendon is an unavoidably limited site and is best regarded as an outpost of Cosford.

                        Comment

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

                          #72
                          Originally posted by CeBro View Post
                          I'm all for it to give a balanced vision of what happend then.
                          Has any Italian aircraft investigation ever taken place in the UK?
                          Cees
                          The RAE conducted engineering assessments of the following (or parts of) Italian aircraft at Farnborough.
                          Caproni Campini
                          BR20
                          CR42
                          Fiat G55
                          MC 202
                          Piaggio P108
                          SM S82

                          The BR20 and CR42 were BoB casualties with the RAFMs CR42 being the sole survivor.

                          Comment

                          • Meddle
                            Rank Bajin.
                            • Sep 2014
                            • 1626

                            #73
                            Originally posted by HP111 View Post
                            Just to be pedantic on that point, it was more like twelve minutes last time I timed it - so 15 minutes for a lot of people.
                            It hasn't always been obvious what route to take from the tube station.
                            I am just trying to understand the parameters relating to access to the museum.
                            I did it in about twelve minutes, from memory, from Colindale. This station is right on the edge of zone three, whereas Hendon Central is in zone two. My Oyster pass was only set up for the first two zones.

                            I did the route beforehand using Google street view, to get a feel for the buildings. Without that I would have been following the banners on the lampposts.

                            Comment

                            • Beermat
                              1 Registered Rank Loser
                              • Oct 2009
                              • 3643

                              #74
                              The whole thing needs a radical policy re-think at the top level. The fundamental problem is that the generation that could be excited and/or inspired by a static artefact coupled with their own imagination, enough to travel to suburban North London, are becoming grandparents now. Things need to at least move. Bemoaning it won't help, though it's not a great state of affairs.

                              One idea that would work is a working museum, combining the BoBMF with the static content of the RAFM. Rather like Duxford, in fact. One facility for two operations, and double the draw. Just need a venue.
                              www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
                              It's all good. Probably.

                              Comment

                              • Stratosphere
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Feb 2014
                                • 86

                                #75
                                Wether we like it or not the the road most larger museums in the uk are going down is to cater for those who spend the most money, ie familys.
                                Children now have very short attention spans and expect instant entertainment via electronic means, phones, ipads etc so museums start putting in entertainment consoles,
                                sorry interactive displays. Looking at static dust gatherers will not do. Then its off to the Cafe to refuel followed by some goodys from the shop.
                                A small fortune spent and compare that to those who bring flasks and sandwiches, moan about parking fees and spend nought then whine about how the museum is going down hill.
                                And lets not forget the corporate and private functions that bring in cash.
                                Thanks to them a middle aged anorak like myself will be able to have a museum to visit in the future
                                With the public spending squeeze income generation is the buzzword and lets not forget corporate functions.

                                Comment

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

                                  #76
                                  Might be worth remembering that a museums primary task is to preserve it's exhibits, everything else is secondary.

                                  The small amount of signage on most exhibits (not just Hendon) is barely equal to that found on an Airfix box, and as for interactive displays (when they are working) kids use them just to get more points than each other, the details such as "which mark of spitfire was manufactured in the highest numbers" are instantly forgotten, as they move on to the next screen, on the other hand if you were to start one up, and I don't think they'd forget that in a hurray.
                                  Why be your own worse critic, that's what the forum is for.

                                  Comment

                                  • scotavia
                                    scotavia
                                    • Nov 2005
                                    • 2823

                                    #77
                                    On my few visits to Hendon I have always been sad to note the abscence of information about the history of many of the airframes shown in front of them. They give no credit to the efforts of the many who saved them and leave most of the public poorly informed about preservation. Yes I know the info is all there on line but thats no use to a casual visitor.

                                    Comment

                                    • Tony C
                                      Rank 5 Registered User
                                      • May 2003
                                      • 384

                                      #78
                                      I'll probably get shot down in flames but personally, I'd like to see the 3 RAF establishments (Hendon, Cosford & Stafford) all relocated to one site and then sell Hendon!

                                      Sure Hendon has transportation links but if there is a need to increase visitor numbers, I don't consider the Museum to be in the ideal location and could be situated more centrally!

                                      Then, the money obtained from a sale could then be used for restoration of existing exhibits, funding new acquisitions and given sufficient space, could also allow for the medals, uniforms, personal stories, paintings plus many of the artefacts stored at Stafford, to be displayed again!

                                      Cosford, if the Museum side could be extended would be ideal and yes, while this is similar to what already exists at Duxford, would be without but any active operators onsite and each Hangar (or Hanger, take your pick) could then be used to tell its own story of the RAF.

                                      Additionally, if the continuation of the air shows could also be allowed, this may allow the possibility of regular income for the RAF Museum!

                                      Wittering may have been an ideal site, prior to its transfer to the Army though are there any of RAF Station due for closure that would fit the bill?

                                      I accept that this is a very simplistic view and that there will be many that feel that Hendon is sacrosanct and that money would also be needed to bring a new site up to standard, but I do feel that all three sites should be together as one and readily available to the public,

                                      Hendon is too small for this to happen and I don't believe that it has any chance of expanding on its current site!

                                      As I say, a very simplistic view and I'm sure that I will be shot down by many plus I also need to get back to work
                                      Tony

                                      ...and pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in Space cos there's bugg*r all down here on Earth!

                                      Comment

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

                                        #79
                                        Originally posted by scotavia View Post
                                        On my few visits to Hendon I have always been sad to note the abscence of information about the history of many of the airframes shown in front of them. They give no credit to the efforts of the many who saved them and leave most of the public poorly informed about preservation. Yes I know the info is all there on line but thats no use to a casual visitor.
                                        Entirely agree. I was not aware that the Ju88 ended up in Allied hands after it was flown to Scotland by two defectors and another not so cooperative crew member, until after my visit.

                                        Comment

                                        • Zidante
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • Feb 2013
                                          • 174

                                          #80
                                          It is interesting to ponder that 50 years on from when the site was chosen at RAF Hendon because it was considered well-situated we now find it being overwhelmed by progress. Go back 60 odd years from that time and the site was chosen for aviation because it was open and semi-rural!

                                          Times change, can't stop that.

                                          Those running the RAF Museum find themselves now with some difficult choices. Certainly I'm sure we'd all like to see the whole collection together and displayed somewhere with an active runway. But the money simply doesn't exist for that at present.

                                          The BoB Hall, excellent as it was, was getting tired. I am happy to hold fire and see what transpires from the plans: those responsible I'm sure are well aware of the significance of that 4/5/6/7 (delete to preference to avoid argument) month period in the 100 years of the RAF and it will remain a notably prominent part of the new displays. I love Mitch and Aeronut's ideas for the rolls of honour, I hope someone reads and takes note.

                                          Space at Hendon is getting more and more squeezed as the service gets older and accumulates more history, more stories and more artifacts. Difficult choices indeed.

                                          Comment

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