Friday, 30 September 2011

Great People Everywhere, Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love Grahame Park Estate

Today is the final day of an exhibition at the RAF Museum put together by young people from Grahame Park estate. The exhibition is called the Grahame Park Estate Story. It's housed in the Aeronauts Interactive hall. The space rather dwarfs the exhibition, which is a shame, but the organisers are looking for new venues to host it now that its run at the RAF Museum has come to an end.

For more information, contact / tel. 020 8205 8341.

As you might imagine I am a bit namby-pamby about war (though not an out-and-out pacifist - remind me to tell you some time about the workers' bomb). And I loathe flying. Still, I can't help marvel at the aeronautic inventions and the sheer size of some of the monsters of the skies that human ingenuity has invented (cast aside thoughts that most of those on display were designed for the purpose of killing fellow humans).

Grahame Park estate was built on an old aerodrome. The history of development in this area is very much tied up with the history and development of aviation, both civilian and military. (I live in old RAF married quarters, of all places.)

One of the impressive, fairly new features of the RAF Museum is the complete reconstruction of the pioneering aviation factory established by Claude Grahame-White (which is where Grahame Park gets its name) in the early 20th century (he bought the site for his Grahame-White Aviation Co. in 1911, which makes this year another significant Barnet centenary).

Claude Grahame-White
A set of photos from my visit to the RAF Museum is available here.

I didn't take many photos of planes - certainly not of the most recent warplanes. However, there are a couple of pics of, to my untutored eye, improbable looking flying machines from the Grahame-White factory. Plus a couple of nice old bikes, for Mr Mustard's delectation (after the week he's had)... And a few that relate to the history of the area. Plus, naturally, the pictures I took of the Grahame Park exhibition.

Factory of Grahame-White Aviation Co. reconstructed at RAF Museum
(A curious aside: I've often wondered at the rapid popularity of Belmont Children's Farm - now set to close since the owners lost their retrospective planning application. The Farm seems to have been masters at favourable PR: newspapers love pics of newborn lambs, etc. Someone also seems to have nailed an advert for the Farm to the wall in a corner of the Aeronauts Interactive hall, a prime spot for catching the attention of young visitors. I wonder whether the Museum ever noticed, and how long it will remain there now the Farm is closing?!)

Advert for Belmont Children's Farm nailed to the wall in the RAF Museum


Mrs Angry said...

you have no idea of the hours of tedium I have spent in that place bored to tears when my kids were younger. Looking at the older planes is quite poignant in a way though, especially when you think of the young men who served in them. My kids grandfather flew Lancs (there is one at Hendon)and the chance of survival of aircrew then was only 1 in 9, I think. He did survive,but was traumatised by the experience, especially the guilt of bombing Dresden and other civilian targets.
Oh and one of the planes a ?Sutherland (see what an expert I am)which you can go in, is haunted ...

baarnett said...

Not a 'Sutherland' (or Sunderland Flying Boat - landing on the Welsh Harp?), I think Mrs A.

But one of THIS LIST.

(Although, of course, there are changes to their collection over time.)

Mrs Angry said...

oh dear yes, baarnet,think you're right, see I tried very hard not to pay any attention on my many trips, and it shows: I once enraged readers by referring to a Lancashire bomber, thinking about hotpots probably.
Could do without the list, thank you.