Proposed Concorde museum secures £4.7m HLF award

Aerospace centre will open in Bristol in 2017
Gary Noakes
The final piece of the £16m funding needed to build a museum at the birthplace of Concorde has been agreed by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The £4.7m grant means the proposed Bristol Aerospace Centre will open by spring 2017 at Filton, where the aircraft first flew in 1969 and where much of its development took place. Concorde 216, the last to fly, has stood on the airfield at Filton since 2003.

The project is led by the Bristol Aero Collection Trust and centres on two listed first world war hangars described by English Heritage as “the most complete of any in existence”.

One will house a collection of aircraft and memorabilia connected to the city’s aviation industry with a shop, café and displays telling the story of the industry’s association with Bristol, which dates to 1910.

The second hangar will include workshops and conservation projects and be partially open to visitors. A new building will house Concorde 216 itself – the last to be assembled at Filton – plus an exhibition on the engineering that enabled it, with another exhibition covering ‘futures’ technology. There will also be a 150-seat lecture theatre and corporate facilities.

Other major backers of the project include BAE Systems, which has pledged £2.35m, South Gloucestershire Council, which is giving £1.1m, and Rolls-Royce and Airbus, which have each given £1m.

BAE has also given the 9.5-acre site on a long-term lease. British Airways will allow Bristol Aero Collection Trust to take over the lease of Concorde 216 from Airbus UK once the museum opens.

It is hoped that the centre will attract around 120,000 visitors a year. Lloyd Burnell, the trust’s project director, said the HLF grant followed an unsuccessful bid in 2011/12 involving a different site nearby.

Since then, the closure of the aerodrome in 2012 meant the hangars and current site became available. The HLF money includes funding for key posts for two years, which will be supplemented by admission charges and corporate events.

“Concorde will be interpreted in such a way that the full space underneath can be a major event space,” said Burnell.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.