Come fly with Croydon Airport as it celebrates £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant

By - Tuesday 24th March, 2015

Croydon Airport Society has a Heritage Lottery Fund grant – the first funding it’s ever received – to Deborah Challis’s delight

Airport building with plane in front

Croydon Airport in the 1930s. Photo by Croydon Airport Society, used with permission.

Croydon Airport Society has been awarded £10,000 as part of an exciting new project, ‘Revealing the Hidden Heritage of Croydon Airport’. Our project aims to recruit and train volunteers to meet growing demand at its Visitor Centre, help keep it open and research the society’s extensive archives, making them more accessible through new displays and an online platform.

The airport was Britain’s first major international airport and during the early twentieth century was a hotbed for record-breaking flights and technical innovation, laying the foundations of today’s worldwide air transport network. Its Grade II listed airport terminal, built in 1928, was a global first and features the world’s oldest air traffic control tower.

Croydon Airport Visitor Centre (CAVC) is volunteer-run by CAS and opens on the first Sunday of every month; it is Croydon’s most popular visitor attraction as reviewed on Trip Advisor. Now CAS is looking for more volunteers to fulfill growing demand, keep the CAVC open and help local schoolchildren learn about the airport’s history and the significant historic figures associated with it such as Amy Johnson and Charles Lindbergh.

We’re looking for volunteers and also for memories

In addition, CAS has a large paper and photographic archive and a collection of items relating to the history of Croydon Airport. Much of this material is in storage and needs digitising and interpretation so that a wider number of people can explore the Society’s rich archive.

Croydon Airport Control Room

Croydon Airport Control Room (C) Photo by Croydon Airport Society, used with permission.

The Society is looking for volunteers to join the CAVC team and make the collection more accessible. There are a range of opportunities, full training will be provided and details of the volunteer roles and further information will be publicised in the next two weeks. If you haven’t quite got the time to get directly involved but would still like to contribute, the society would also like to hear your stories and memories of Croydon Airport and its impact on the local area, so please get in touch.

In the words of CAS Chair Ian Walker: “We are delighted to have been selected by the Heritage Lottery Fund to receive funding under their Sharing Heritage programme. This is a really exciting project and it’s the first time that the Croydon Airport Visitor Centre has received any form of funding. It’s a great initiative, giving the local community a unique opportunity to get involved with a fantastic part of our national heritage. We are seeing more and more people visit every year and this HLF Sharing Heritage funding will give us the opportunity to exhibit unseen works and meet growing public demand”.

Sue Bowers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, added that “Croydon Airport holds a wealth of information relating to our nation’s aviation heritage. This project will not only improve the conservation and accessibility of the archives, but also offers some fantastic opportunities for volunteers, the local community and visitors. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we’re pleased to play a funding role”.

Croydon Airport Visitor Centre will next be open on Easter Sunday (5th April) 11:00am-16:00pm, with last admission at 15:30pm.

Please contact the project co-ordinator if you wish to be kept updated about volunteering at this extraordinary heritage site that’s right on all our doorsteps.

Deborah Challis

Deborah Challis

Debbie Challis is project co-ordinator for Croydon Airport Society's Heritage Lottery Funded 'Revealing the Hidden Heritage of Croydon Airport'. She has volunteered with Stanley Peoples' Initiative to re-open Stanley Halls in South Norwood . She also works part-time as Public Programmer at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL. She can be contacted on

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  • Andrew Dickinson

    great news.well going to the right projects