Croydon may now be one of London’s most up-and-coming boroughs thanks to developments ranging from the trendy BOXPARK to the upcoming new Westfield shopping centre, but the town also has a glorious history on which it can reflect – not least in aviation.
As much as it may stun the younger generations to learn, Croydon was home to Britain’s main airport during the interwar years – a time of many daring aviation pioneers such as Alan Cobham and Amy Johnson, who made the most of the airport’s amenities to achieve incredible feats.
Now, residents of houses, apartments and Penthouses In Croydon like those within the sleek 20-storey ISLAND development have been reminded once again of that astounding past, as a major piece of historic artwork has been put on display at Airport House – the airport’s former terminal.
What makes the artwork so special?
The History of Aviation by William Kempster A.R.C.A. (1914-1976) measures some 8.4 metres long and shows the critical role the former London Croydon Airport played in the development of early 20th-century British aviation. It was commissioned for the opening of Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 1 and first unveiled by the Queen and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1969.
The gigantic mural comprises three large panels detailing the early days of international air travel in the wake of World War I, including the era’s legendary pilots and the airport, with its iconic air traffic control tower that inspired the design of many other such towers around the world.
Ian Walker, Chair of Historic Croydon Airport Trust, commented: “This is a rare opportunity to view an artwork of both breathtaking proportion and huge local significance.
“We are honoured to house Kempster’s famous mural on the site of London’s former airport for the benefit of the thousands of visitors we welcome every year.”
How can you see the mural for yourself?
The artwork is on loan to the Historic Croydon Airport Trust by the Maas Gallery in London until the end of 2018, and can be seen in the former Booking Hall in Airport House on the Purley Way.
It can be viewed when the Croydon Airport Visitor Centre Museum is open to the public, between 11am and 4pm on the first Sunday of every month. The Museum is free to enter, with last entry at 3:15pm, and free parking is also available.
Why not make the Museum and this stellar mural your first stop after becoming the proud owner or tenant of one of the penthouses in Croydon that make up the ISLAND development? There are still a few residences available in this sought-after skyscraper, but we would urge you to express your interest sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.
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