In 2015 the Volunteers of the Lytham St Annes Spitfire Ground Display Team took over the lease of a delapidated former WW2 RAF Hangar, saving it from certain demolition.
The Hangar had been used for storage for many years and sadly its maintenance neglected. The team was given the opportunity to take over the Management of this rare Bellman Hangar by the Blackpool Airport Operators, on the understanding that the repairs and maintenace were the responsibility of the Volunteers. To date we have managed to raise over £72,000 from a combination of public fundraising events, sponsorship and public support.
Sadly, the Coastal climate is now taking its toll on the exterior of the Hangar, which was constructed from a Steel framework and steel corrugated sheets. This is now our focus for future restoration and upgrades, along with the removal of the orginal asbestos roofing sheets to the side ancialliary briefing rooms and workshops.
During the years 1939 to 1945, Blackpool became the busiest RAF training area in England. RAF Squires Gate, now Blackpool Airport supported both Ground and Aircrew training as well as Aircraft manufacturing, with almost half of all Vickers Wellington Bombers being built on the site. Vital night fighter Squadrons were stationed at Squires Gate with Polish Aircrew forming a large percentage of the Aircrews flying night cover for Preston and Liverpool. 68 RAF personnel lost their lives whilst serving at Squires Gate during WW2.
Blackpool Airport is a busy General Aviation AIrfield which has now been recognised as an Enterprise Zone, with all the orginal WW2 Hangars now being earmarked for demolition between 2023 and 2025. Hangar 42, if restored will fall outside of this redevelopment footprint and will, alongside the orginal WW2 Air Traffic Control Tower become the last remaining original WW2 RAF Hangar at Squires Gate, Blackpool.
Your gift support is vital in our plans to develop the fabric of the building further, making it weather proof quickly, to prevent further deterioration to the original hangar doors and the fabric of this original building. Plans are currently being developed for a new purpose built, modern extension to act as our Education Centre, with meeting rooms and facilities for visitors. The 2023 estamted cost is £900,000. Further improviements to our Operations and Briefing rooms and display exhibits, will also benefit from your kind donation.
The current estimate for the urgent repairs to HANGAR 42 area s follows:
1. Lower lying lean-to roof above side rooms £ 31,000
2. Side cladding above lean-to to roof to Western elevation. £ 23,800
3. Main Hangar roof, insulated cladding. £ 106,500
4. Restore Hangar doors and Gable end insulated cladding £ 145,700
5. Eastern Elevation Side insulated cladding.& guttering £ 25,000
6. Contingency costs for isolated framework Steelwork repairs £ 15,000
TOTOAL COST EXCL VAT £347,000
Once we have managed to reach an acceptable level of maintenance then we can start to develop our opening hours from 2023. Through 2023 We will be open every Saturday between April and October, inclusive. With Sunday openings taking place May-August inclusive from 10am until 4 pm for pre-booked Primary School Visits. (Please email us via our website).
Our plan is to expand our opening hours and to focus on attracting school visits and encouraging the use of the Spitfire Visitor Centre as a Community Hub and skills centre. Outside of the management of the Hangar itself we are currently undertaking a wide range of RAF Aircraft, Military vehicle and ground support equipment restoration and conservation projects on site.
We are keen to attract ex Forces volunteers and members of the Public who feel that they would benefit from the programmes we undertake and the Commaradrie that the Hangar 42 Team has at its core. The Lytham St Annes Spitfire Ground Display Team and now its Hangar 42 Museum facility is keen to develop various methods of raising its funding, and is commited to putting in the time and effort to meet this need - but the Public's financial support to secure the memory of the sacrifices made by RAF Groundcrews and Aircrews during World War Two is vital. Your support will help us secure this memory for future generations.
Supporters committing to a monthly £5 subscription will enjoy free access to the Hangar 42 facility on advertised Public Open Days, along with one guest on production of the Text message showing the gift at the time of entry into the Spitfire Visitor Centre, Hangar 42, Blackpool Airport, FY42QY.