Woodford Aerodrome

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A serious problem arose in 1924 when Avro was notified that the current airfield used by the company at Alexandra Park would be closing. After a hurried search to find an alternative location, Avro settled on New Hall Farm at Woodford and completed the move later that year.

Avro managed to acquire two Bessonneau hangars from Alexandra Park and these were swiftly erected at the new site. Together with a small grassed landing area, these hangars would form a makeshift airfield at Woodford until permanent hangars were built.

Woodford Aerodrome gradually expanded over the years. The Flight Sheds complex of hangars were built in stages between 1925 -1943 and the New Assembly building off Chester road was completed in 1939. The runways had been upgraded to concrete by 1940 and were lengthened during the war years.

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Woodford Aerodrome was Avro's main assembly plant and made a massive contribution during the Second World War, completing the assembly of 4,101 Lancaster bombers. It was also at Woodford where the assembly of all the Vulcan nuclear bombers was completed (136 aircraft including two prototypes).

Avro merged with Hawker Siddeley in 1963 and production of the 748 airliner continued at Woodford alongside the Nimrod maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

 

In 1977, British Aerospace took control of Woodford Aerodrome after the nationalisation of the British aviation industry. Airliners continued to be assembled at Woodford during the 1980s and 1990s in the form of the BAe ATP, BAe 146, and Avro RJ series.

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In 1999, Woodford became part of BAE Systems as a result of the merging of British Aerospace with Marconi Electronic Systems. Plans to build the Avro RJX airliner at Woodford were shelved in 2001 which left production of the Nimrod MRA4 as the only active project at the site. Woodford Aerodrome finally closed in 2011 when the Nimrod MRA4 project was cancelled, ending almost 80 years of almost continual aircraft manufacture at the site.

© 2020 by Avro Heritage Museum. Registered charity 1150163

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