Bristol's aviation history is to be packed away in storage
MORE than 100 years of Bristol's aviation history will be dismantled and put into storage at the end of next month.
The Bristol Aero Collection has been based in a hangar at Kemble airfield, near Tetbury, for the past 15 years while waiting for a permanent museum in the Filton area.
A dedicated group of enthusiasts has been responsible for the upkeep of the displays and has welcomed countless visitors to see them at Kemble.
But the lease on the section of the hangar it occupies is about to expire and the display has to close at the end of May. It means anyone who wants to view the history of one of the Bristol area's most important industries has just weeks left to see the collection, as it could be some time before it is reassembled.
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Discussions are still continuing over the eventual development of a museum in the Filton area to house not only Bristol's Concorde 216 but also the aero collection.
South Gloucestershire Council wants the "long term legacy" of aviation to be secured on the redeveloped Filton airfield once owner BAE Systems closes it at the end of December.
BAE Systems is in talks with the Concorde Trust and Bristol Aero Collection about their futures but the immediate task for the collection is to find a suitable storage site.
Spokesman Oliver Dearden, pictured, said: "We are very hopeful of finding suitable storage local to Filton but there is nothing specific yet. We are also hopeful that, with the Concorde Trust, an appropriate facility will come to Filton in due course.
"We don't want our exhibits to be in storage for too long but it may be for a couple of years."
Mr Dearden said while at Kemble the collection had acquired a growing reputation for its artefacts and archives from 100 years of aviation and associated industries originating from the Bristol Aeroplane Company.
He said: "We have been fortunate to receive the support of a number of companies, organisations and local authorities, in particular from Airbus and BAE Systems, without whose generosity Kemble would not have survived.
"The day-to-day operation of Kemble has been undertaken by a very loyal and dedicated group of members and volunteers."
The collection features aircraft, engines, missiles and a mock-up of the Giotto space vehicle, along with other Bristol products such as the Alpha Dinghy, Bristol buses and lorries.
Visitors can see the collection from Good Friday through to Easter Monday from 10am to 4pm and then every Sunday and Monday until May 28. The hangar will then be closed to the public so the exhibits and archives can be dismantled and prepared for transport.
Admission is £5 for adults, £4 with concessions and £2.50 for children. A family ticket costs £12.