RAeS Heathrow Branch Reports the Conclusion of HeathrowFirst Exhibition

The Royal Aeronautical Society Heathrow Branch reports the successful conclusion of its HeathrowFirst Exhibition on the 25th June 2016! In celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), RAeS Heathrow Branch organised this special Open Exhibition in the Spelthorne Museum at the Staines Library from 22nd April until 25th June.

IMG_7326_lresThe retrospective exhibition offered an unique opportunity for the public to see fascinating photographs of some ‘innovative firsts’ in aviation at Heathrow Airport from its early years, when it was known as the Great West Aerodrome, until now.

The images selected from the National Aerospace Library archives include aerial views of Heathrow Airport at different stages of construction, posters commemorating the RAeS Garden Parties celebrated at Heathrow Airport in the late 1930s and aeroplanes at Heathrow throughout the years.

IMG_4301_lresThe Exhibition was opened by Mr Kwazi Kwarteng, MP of Spelthorne who was charmed by the incredible transformation of Heathrow airport and it included the presence Air Cdre Bill Tyack (CBE FRAeS RAF) Past‐President of the Society and an expert in the Origins and History of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and Jonathon Counsell, the Head of Sustainability of the International Airlines Group.

At the opening of the Exhibition, Graeme Catnach, the Chairman of RAeS Heathrow Branch said “Heathrow First! is a milestone in so many ways”

  • 1st we celebrate nothing less than the sesquicentennial of the Royal Aeronautical Society. The Society was formed in 1866, so 2016 brings its 150th anniversary. We are celebrating the formation of the Society by looking back 150 years and forward up to 50 years with a theme of ‘innovative firsts’ in aerospace. 
  • 2nd we are also celebrating that 31st May 2016 will mark the official date of Heathrow’s birthday – 70 years since the then newly named London Airport officially opened for civilian aviation.
  • 3rd another important anniversary for us. The RAeS Heathrow Branch was formed in 1956, so this year we are celebrating our 60th anniversary.

IMG_4258_lresThis Exhibition was originally designed by a former member of the Heathrow Branch who regretfully passed away recently. Albert Barnes who was a founding member of the Heathrow Branch, frequently loved to retell stories about his 80 years in aviation, which started with seeing the Zeppelin at age 6 in Brighton. Following his legacy, we have continued the work he started with the aim to involve local people, especially young people in our extensive and varied programme of activities to celebrate our local aerospace history at Heathrow and stimulate ideas for future achievement. Through this exhibition we want to share with the people of the Spelthorne Borough the excitement that we all experience from involvement in this fascinating profession.”

The legacy of HeathrowFirst Exhibition will be re-present in our upcoming branch events throughout 2016, including in our the annual Cool Aeronautics event for inspiring the future generation. The Branch has also created an online space for permanently storing the success of this Exhibition!

About the Society
The Royal Aeronautical Society is the world’s only professional body dedicated to the entire aerospace community. It is a multidisciplinary organisation and a place for anyone working, or interested, in the aeronautical, aviation and aerospace sectors. The Society’s membership profile is drawn from a diverse range of organisations and fields of expertise including engineering, design, and aircrew and air traffic control, along with professions that serve the aerospace, aviation and space industries, such as law, finance, marketing and recruitment.

Dr Ana M Pedraz, William Li
27 June 2016


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