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Northfield Filton Airfield Bristol

Gill, Jonathan Northfield Filton Airfield Bristol. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Filton in Bristol is an area of considerable significance in the history and
development of aviation in England. This significance particularly stems from Sir
George White's pioneering British and Colonial Aircraft Company (later renamed the
Bristol Aeroplane Company or BAC) which was established in Filton in 1910 and the
associated airfield which was laid out in the following year. The BAC expanded
greatly during the First World War and in the 1920s a new RAF station was
established as part of the existing aerodrome at Filton. In the later 1930s the RAF
underwent a period of great expansion in response to the threat posed by Nazi
Germany and the continuing national importance of Filton at this time is underlined
by the fact that by 1936 nearly a third of the world’s aero engines were made at the
BAC factories.
The relationship between Filton and the aircraft industry continued in the post-war
era, perhaps the most high-profile expression of which was through Concorde which
was tested in Filton and also prototypes manufactured here.
Although the airfield as a whole continued to thrive into the 21st century as Filton
Airport the 1920s RAF station had closed in the late 1950s and this area, together
with a large adjacent area to the north which had been used by the Americans in the
Second World War, saw only limited use in the last decades of the 20th century. By the
1990s this large area, collectively now known as Northfield, was largely disused and it
was rapidly becoming heavily overgrown. At this time many of the buildings from the
former RAF Station were demolished and options for the redevelopment of this
redundant part of the airfield began to be considered.
Permission for a large redevelopment of the Northfield site were finally passed in
March 2008 with the condition that a programme of building recording be undertaken
prior to the demolition of the existing structures at the site. The buildings recorded
included structures from the 1920s RAF base such as the Operations Block, the Main
Stores and the substation which had escaped demolition in the 1990s. Date stones
showed that each of these buildings had been constructed in 1927 and they conformed
closely to the standardised architectural form of airfield buildings of this period. The
recording also included a number of buildings added in the later 1930s or during the
Second World War, particularly shelters and structures such as pillboxes relating to
airfield defence. The existence of several of these was less well known prior to the
current work than the 1920s buildings. The current study has also covered a number
of buildings or features from the later 20th century which related to the testing and
development of missile systems.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > South Gloucestershire
Period > UK Periods > Modern 1901 - present
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Buildings
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2020 16:53
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2020 16:53
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/5825

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