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Aerospace Centre takes off with £4.7 million Heritage Lottery Fund support

This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.

Published: 28/11/2014

The Bristol Aero Collection Trust has been awarded a £4.7million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to create an Aerospace Centre at Filton airfield in South Gloucestershire, one of the birthplaces of the British aviation industry.

The new centre will tell the story of the area’s aerospace industry from 1910 to the present day and into the future, displaying several important heritage collections. It will create a permanent home where people can access Concorde 216, the last British Concorde assembled at the Filton site which led the design, testing and production of the supersonic airliner.

The project will conserve 9.5 acres of Filton Airfield, along with two listed hangars dating back to World War 1 and described by English Heritage as ‘the most complete of any in existence’. The atmospheric spaces will be refurbished to provide a first class aerospace industrial museum with hands-on ‘making and doing’ activities, interactive galleries, learning centre and workshops. The project will also provide an important focal point for the local community with facilities such as meeting places, outdoor play areas and event spaces. In addition a major new building will create a permanent home for Concorde which will be presented in an exciting and dynamic way, along with a ‘futures’ technology exhibition, corporate facilities and lecture theatre.

Bristol entrepreneur Sir George White established the British and Colonial (later, Bristol) Aeroplane Company in 1910. It went on to employ hundreds of thousands of people in the region and across the globe. The centre will, for the first time, chronicle the social history of those who worked at Filton and the impact of the industry on the wider area.

As well as encouraging people to learn more about this remarkable and previous untold history, a major aim of the centre is to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, technicians, innovators and entrepreneurs. The Bristol Aerospace Centre will be working in partnership with schools, colleges and universities to provide a programme of learning, bringing together art and design, science and engineering, and local and world history.

The total cost of the project is £16 million and Bristol Aero Collection Trust has already received significant pledged support from South Gloucestershire Council, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Airbus, as well as a number of local and national charitable trusts and major donors.

In a joint statement, South Gloucestershire Council leaders Cllrs Matthew Riddle, Ruth Davis and Pat Rooney said: “We are delighted to hear that the Heritage Lottery Fund application has been successful and the funding for the Bristol Aerospace Centre has now been approved.

“For many years we have supported plans for a dedicated centre to celebrate Filton’s aerospace heritage and provide a fitting home for Concorde 216. Our local residents have deep connections with Concorde and the aerospace industry, and we are very pleased to be able to support the centre with the council’s £1.1m contribution, which will be funded by reinvesting business rates generated in the new Filton Enterprise Area.

“The area is the birthplace of the UK’s aerospace industry and remains an internationally-renowned centre of aviation excellence, hosting giants such as Rolls-Royce, Airbus and GKN. Filton’s aerospace cluster is one of the largest employers in South Gloucestershire and a major contributor to the regional and national economy.

“The centre will help to protect this distinguished heritage for generations to come while also inspiring a new generation of young people who will become our aerospace engineers of the future.”

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