RESTORATION OF STOW MARIES WW1 AERODROME.
Historical and Wildlife Centre
Situated within the Parish of Purleigh, near Maldon in Essex, stand the remains of buildings that once made up a front line Home Defence Aerodrome. Built by the RAF towards the end of the First World War the aerodrome was abandoned in 1919 and has remained within the ownership of the same farming family ever since. The majority of the original buildings remain but have been adapted to a small extent over the years for farming use. This has not however changed the essential feel of the place and visitors are always amazed at how atmospheric the site remains.
The aerodrome was the home of 37 (Home Defence) Squadron, Royal Flying Corps and then after the 1st April 1918 37 Squadron Royal Air Force. It has many local connections that may also be visited.
The site has now been purchased by Mr Steve Wilson and Mr Russell Savory of RSPerformance. Mr Wilson and Mr Savory are bespoke vehicle builders who plan to move their business to the site. Their company manufacture in the region of just eight vehicles per year for specific clients.
The new owners are also aviation and history enthusiasts who plan to restore this unique site to as near its original state as possible. They emphasise that this is not a development project for short term gain but a sympathetic restoration for visitors from home and abroad to enjoy for the long term future.
It is estimated that the restoration will take two years to complete and when finished will provide an authentic taste of the atmosphere it originally held during its operational existence from 1916 to 1919. The site itself is believed to be fairly unique in that few, if any WW1 dated sites exist in their original form. Others have either disappeared or have been developed since the end of the Great War and bear little resemblance to their original appearance.
Upon the sites completion it is planned to provide a Museum plus guided tours and lectures on the sites history. Mr Savory also has a keen interest in wildlife so in addition to the historical facilities it is planned to have a visitors centre for the study of local nature and wildlife.
The site is currently being cleared. A website is being launched on or about the 19th February 2009 to keep interested parties up to speed with the project. A webcam will be available to view the work on site. A history and any project updates will also appear.
This is an exciting project for historians, aviation and wildlife enthusiasts alike. It will provide a unique facility within not only Essex but the Country as a whole and it is hoped that it will plug a gap in the architectural history of the nation. It is also hoped that such a unique site will draw visitors from near and far, benefitting the local community as a whole.
Please visit the website for more news as and when it becomes available. WWW.stowmaries.com
Ivor Dallinger . Stow Maries Aerodrome Consultant and Museum Curator