Yeadon Above the Rest - An Illustrated History of Leeds Bradford Airport by Kenneth B Cothliff
Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Croft Publications (2011)
Reviewed by David Lee in AR133
On Monday 17 October 2011, passengers passing through Leeds Bradford airport experienced significant unusual activity. In addition to flypasts by military aircraft from the UK and overseas, the second floor restaurant area was decorated by display panels and featured a book launch. On that day Leeds Bradford International Airport was celebrating its 80th birthday and Ken Cothliff’s history of those eight decades was on sale for the first time.
I am a long time (not old) friend of Ken and in reviewing his book; I have tried to be fair but also critical when necessary. First, as an ARG member, he does have a good idea of what will appeal to members and I believe has done much to fulfil that need. Although it is a history of what is now Britain’s highest active airfield “Above the Rest”, there is also much military aviation history, especially during the war years together with the military products of the Avro and Bristol shadow factories.
For a book of over 240 pages, it is very well illustrated by more than 300 photographs, many of which are of buildings and excellent aerial views showing the development of the airfield. They have come from a wide variety of sources and presumably most have not been seen in print before. What it is not is a spotters list of visiting aircraft and airlines. Those facets are more than adequately covered but also it reads well and includes many personal stories, some of which are very amusing. Inevitably Ken’s business Air Supply, which he shut down on retirement following the death of his wife Doreen, features on a number of occasions - fully justified as it is a part of Yeadon’s history and was founded in 1988 by two of Yeadon’s air traffic controllers.
Generally it is in chronological order starting with an initial look at early Yorkshire aviation but specific chapters cover the history of the Yorkshire Aeroplane Club, air displays, accidents (sympathetically covered) and the four appendices feature aerial photographs, survivors of Yeadon-built aircraft, Halifaxes of the Lancashire Aircraft Corporation and a list of impressed Club aircraft.
Sadly there is no index. One was planned an immoveable deadline met an unexpected overseas family bereavement; hopefully the second edition will correct this omission. Generally good proof reading has eliminated most errors but a few have crept in: Bessonneau is miss-spelt throughout; on page 82 G-BELT is a Cessna 159 but the caption to its photograph on page 80 refers to a Cessna 150J; on page 100, the text and photograph captions are at odds concerning the date; In appendix 2 the York G-ANTK is recorded as being in the ‘Superhangar’ at Duxford. Although that was the term we used after the building was completed in the mid-80s, it soon became Hangar One but was totally rebuilt as AirSpace in 2007. The chosen font, although very legible does give rise to an unusual location for numbers in that they appear in lower case and partially ‘below the line’.
In conclusion, despite the above minor criticisms, I can unreservedly recommend “Yeadon Above The Rest” as a worthy addition to any ARG member’s bookshelf.
Last edited by tigger; 01-11-2012 at 18:22.
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