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Kingston Aviation Heritage Trust - updated on 28Aug2014
Registered Charity No.  1068247

2. Bronze Memorial Plaques

The production of a series of semi-rectangular bronze memorial plaques, measuring approximately 2ft x 3 ft, for erection in places of prominence associated with the achievements of the Kingston-inspired aviation heritage. The design, approved by the Trustees, shows in bas-relief the four “founding fathers” of the Sopwith/Hawker enterprise and six representative types of the famous aircraft produced with wording as follows:

1912 – 1992

From the earliest Sopwith aircraft of 1912 to the Harriers and Hawks flying a century later, over 47,000 aircraft bear witness to the aeronautical prowess of the thousands of local men and women who have helped produce aeroplanes for Sopwith, Hawkers and British Aerospace at Kingston upon Thames and their supporting factories and sub-contractors.

The location of the first plaque, which is already agreed, would be on the entrance wall of the YMCA Hawker Centre which was part of the Richmond Road site. Other possible locations for additional copies of the plaque include:

Claremont House, Esher – venue of Experimental D.O. during WWII.

Brooklands – Sopwith and Hawker final assembly and flight test.

Canbury Gardens beside Thames – Sopwith floatplane taxi trials.

Dunsfold Airfield – Final assembly and flight October 1952-2000

Also, possibly, at the Canbury Park Road site of the initial assembly of the prototype Hurricane, prior to its first flight from Brooklands in 1935. This is held in abeyance, pending an alternative agreement on a Heritage Brown Plaque jointly sponsored by our Trust and the Royal Borough of Kingston Heritage Directorate.

Status: A maquette of the Plaque has been completed and approved and the final design has been agreed by Ambrose Barber with a bronze art foundry for initial castings later in 2011.

3. Sopwith Centenary Celebration Project

Sir Tom founded Sopwith Aviation in 1912 and members of our Planning Group are on a Steering Committee, which includes Brooklands Museum, actively involved in plans to commemorate this in central Kingston, in June 2012, coincident with other possible activities envisaged by the Kingston First business partnership. This is seen by the Trustees as a major opportunity to re-awaken and raise awareness of Kingston’s aviation heritage amongst the locality’s public, both young and old. This will further the Trust’s educational charitable objectives utilising Kingston’s Market Hall and Market Place as the focal point for publicity and lectures open to the public.

Status: the Trustees have considered it essential to reserve this venue for this event by standing surety for a possible working commitment of up to £2000.

Trustee Notes: the Trustees strongly support the above Centenary Celebration Project. In order to avoid any confusion of identity between this Project and the Trust we have now changed our title from KAHP to KAHT.

4. Educational Aviation History Presentation

A looped presentation of aeronautical slides was prepared for the opening of the Sir Sydney Camm Centre at Kingston University in 2010. The Trustees will support work to enhance this silent presentation with additional Sopwith/Hawker material and a soundtrack, as a future aid to raising public awareness. It will then be suitable for use by the Trust itself for its educational aims and also to accompany aero-heritage displays at both Kingston and Brooklands museums.

Status: the sum of £400 has been pledged in principle for this work.

5. Heritage Trail and Facilities at Brooklands

Trustees have previously promoted the concept of an aviation heritage trail at Kingston and Brooklands consistent with our charitable status for educating public awareness. Discussions with appropriate providers are in hand, and we have an existing understanding with the Museum at Brooklands, scene of so much historic Sopwith/Hawker test flying from 1910 to WWII. The Trustees would like to be able to contribute to the provision of a Sopwith/Hawker exhibition room and to provide more adequate facilities for the safe storage and retrieval of Sopwith/Hawker archive documents at Brooklands Museum.

Status: Exploratory discussion has taken place with Brooklands Museum Director, Allan Winn, and while it is recognised that these worthy contributions would be limited by both space and funding considerations at present, they remain “on the table”.

6. Early Sopwith Replica

Construction is envisaged of a static replica of the Sopwith Tabloid floatplane which won the 1914 Schneider Trophy. This ambitious project would provide an attention-getting example of Sopwith’s early prowess and promise. A small aircraft of some 25ft wingspan, it would be equally suitable for exhibiting in Kingston or at the Brooklands Museum.

Status: Under active discussion with potential builders to establish cost, timescales and the scope for craft skills training for suitable members of the public.

7. Lottery Application

Various initiatives, including Items 3,4 and 5 above, may be candidates for consideration for funding in a Lottery Application, given the potential for public involvement and education.

Status: This is being explored with other bodies represented on the Sopwith Centenary Steering Committee and the Trust, in combination with the Hawker Association, intends to be active in providing speakers.

8. Statues

Many towns have statues commemorating their local heroes. The two towering figures from Kingston’s industrial past must be Sir Tom Sopwith and Sir Sydney Camm.

The Trustees would like to see statues of one or both of these men on permanent display in a place of public prominence and this is felt to be a very appropriate objective. While at the moment full size statues are, of necessity, on the Trust’s ‘wish list’, it is established that full size bronze busts of both men already exist – Camm at the R.A.F. Club in London, and Sopwith at the Brooklands Museum.

Status: The Trust has been able to obtain a copy of the Camm bronze (at cost price) and has also established that a copy of the Sopwith bronze could be purchased from existing funds.

Kingston Aviation Heritage Trust- Update

1. The full scale replica Tabloid is fast approaching completion. Components already built will be displayed in the Marquee during the Festival.

2. Busts of T.O.M. Sopwith and Sir Sydney Camm will be exhibited in The Kingston Market House during the Festival. Later in the year they will be on permanent display in Kingston Library.

3. Our bronze wall plaques are well advanced and The Hawker Centre YMCA have agreed to mount the commemorative story at the Club entrance.

4. Mike Frain has at last won his fight to have the BAe commissioned bronze “Icarus” removed from the Cattle Market car park. In due course it will be relocated to the planned Heritage site in the Parish Church grounds.

Latest News Updated 7Jul12

The Trust are please to announce that our TABLOID Replica will be on display at the Dunsfold Wings and Wheels festival to be held on 26th and 27th August 2012.

Situation Report   (Issue 1 - September 2011)

The Trust was formed some years ago, and is a Registered Charity with educational aims to raise public recognition and commemoration of the aeronautical prowess of the thousands of local men and women who helped to design and produce aeroplanes for Sopwiths, Hawkers and British Aerospace at Kingston and its supporting factories, and sub-contractors, thereby contributing to the Nation’s defence and economy during the 20th century.

Current Initiatives

1. Permanent Display at the Hawker Centre

In the main lounge of the YMCA Hawker Centre, formerly the Hawker/BAe Sports and Social Club, a set of mounted aircraft photographs depicting the Camel, Fury Biplane, Hurricane, Typhoon, Sea Fury, Sea Hawk, Hunter, Harrier and Hawk.

These surround a large photograph of the adjacent Richmond Road factory, together with its’ outline history.

Status: Already mounted and on display in the Hawker Centre by agreement with the YMCA.