View Full Version : Southampton/Eastleigh 1950's & 60's
12th Aug 2011, 09:16
Hi, new to the site and involved in a historical project which involves Southampton/eastleigh aerodrome....looking for good quality images of the aerodrome/airport from around this time..can anyone help ? Tried the airport but no one could help me !
Propliner magazine did an extensive multi-part series on Southampton airport in the 1960s, almost one article per year. Started in issue 95 which came out in summer 2003 and wrapped up in issue 110, which is spring 2007. They seem to have put them in alternate issues.
A well known aviation hobby shop in West Drayton stocks many of the back issues if you want them. There are, of course, many photos that illustrate the articles.
This is assuming you are not the author who wrote these in the first place :)
12th Aug 2011, 13:02
Try Southampton City Council at the following
If they cannot help they can probably put you on the correct track. Saw some excellent quality movie footage from the Council's archives showing BEA DC3s, which must be during the 50s & 60s.
Best of luck.
12th Aug 2011, 15:46
Check this siite and author.
SOUTHAMPTON/EASTLEIGH Airport (http://daveg4otu.tripod.com/airfields/eap.html)
12th Aug 2011, 17:49
I'm not sure how much Southampton Council might be able to help as Southampton / Eastleigh Airport is 100% in Eastleigh Council's area and outside Southampton's. :)
We do have loads of local aviation archives (including Eastleigh Airport) at Solent Sky Musuem in Southampton, simply phone up on a weekday and have a chat with an archivist.
There are also a number of books written by local historians about Eastleigh Airport. I have a 80 page or so paperback full of photos somewhere....I'll dig it out and post the ISBN if I can find it.
Edit: Found it: Southampton/Eastleigh Airport by David Hatchard. Published 1990. ISBN 0 946184 45 3. 56 pages and many pics.
13th Aug 2011, 10:51
It's a bit of a long shot, but have you tried Nat Somers' family in Jersey? I bet they've got a lot of archive material from his days as owner.
25th Aug 2011, 07:59
Can I ask who you contacted at the airport??
25th Aug 2011, 08:12
Did one of Southamptons original hangars "morf" into a terminal area before the redevelopment of the site as we know it today.
25th Aug 2011, 10:30
Yes it did, until the BAA redevelopment the Terminal Facilities were housed in a 1917 hanger. Certainly when I was learing to fly there in the early 80's there were very basic facilities. Think tea from an urn. A couple of near normal check in desks, a small Aurigny desk with scales to weigh passengers, a small shop, a grotty (as I remember) cafe. Upstairs were the airport offices and flight school offices.
In the Peter de Savary (late 1980's) days there was much talk of a redevelopment, but the terminal stayed in the old hanger (on the site of the current multi-storey short stay car park) until the existing terminal was built.
There were also at this time 2 WWII type hangers (that were part of the Supermarine works) one to the north hosting aircraft maintenance, and one to the south giving (I think) inside storage. Gone long ago.
I do remember in the days when private flying was permitted (and welcomed) at Southampton the security to move from landside flight school office in the terminal to aircraft involved an unlocked door marked 'authorised only' to the left of the Aurigny check in desk......and that was it. A small strolll then across the commercial tarmac passing Islanders and Heralds and Viscounts, sometimes waiting for them to taxi by, before crossing to the grass parking to my AA5A.
I learnt to fly there and flew from there many times. The radar operators were usually pleased to practice giving vectors to approach if it was a quiet day.
And the usual code of 'keep your speed up' on long final over the New Forest if something much bigger and faster was behind you.
Fond memories, and learning at Southampton as a simple humble PPL I was never scared to visit commercial airfields such as Bristol, Exeter or Plymouth.
Phil Lo Bao is a substantial aviation author on airlines of the period, such as his history of BEA. I seem to recall he mentions in his books and magazine articles that his father was one of the management at Southampton during this period, and many of his published recollections, and possibly photo collection, go back to that time. You may be able to make contact.
Regarding that terminal building, was it opened in 1967 when the adjacent railway station was opened ? I used to look from the train which stopped there and think that it must have been the closest station platform-to-terminal distance anywhere.
25th Aug 2011, 15:08
Goodness me that pic of the passenger terminal was a blast from the past!
I was based there, in the early 70s, as a F/O on the HPR7 Herald with BIA.
Approximately 20 years later I was extremely chuffed to be able to fly Spitfire PV202, in front of HRH Prince Andrew, at the opening of the new passenger terminal. A very cold clear day in November 1994, as I recall.
In fact it was nigh on dusk, ISTR, and blue flames from the Merlin's exhausts danced around in front of me whilst hauling the aeroplane around a rapidly darkening sky.
Very cold weather, and no wind, is awesome for aeros!
25th Aug 2011, 15:31
You are now getting me all emoshunul Corsairoz!!
25th Aug 2011, 15:36
How about these pics then (found on a public forum, not mine):
And an excellent (copyrighted...) shot of the 'before' here:
Photos: - Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/-/-/0216053/L/)
25th Aug 2011, 15:54
You might also try the archives of the local newspaper The Southern Daily Echo and/or try typing " Silver City Airways" or "Hampshire Aeroplane Club" into a search engine. Fond memories of Viv Bellamy 'beating up' the airfield on sundays afternoons in the HAC Spitfire 2 seater G-AIDN....I may have some pics in B & W in my attic of the airfield from the 50/60's but finding them might take a while! Will your research be published in some form?
I agree about trying the `Echo`.....the paper always covered the airport well. Seem to recall some nice pictures of the activity of laying the concrete runway `a few years ago`
25th Aug 2011, 20:24
I believe John (Ian?) Stonehouse (probably Stenhouse) was the aviation correspondent for the Echo, a thankless task towards the end when his column was chopped.
25th Aug 2011, 21:24
As a schoolboy in the late 50s/early 60s I used to commute to school around a dozen times a year via Eastleigh or Gatwick from Jersey, even for the odd long weekend.
The most memorable event at Eastleigh, which was an all grass airfield in those days, was getting stuck in the mud (literally) after a particularly wet spell on a winters evening around 1960/61. After much gunning of engines they were shut down and all male pax were invited to disembark, and having shoveled away the mud plugs in front of the wheels, the engines were started again and with a dozen or so of us pushing on the oleos we managed to get moving again. No tug or vehicle could have handled the mud themselves. We jumped on again somewhat wind-blown and off we went to Jersey. Good job the BEA Pionairs had built-in airstairs.
'Elf and safety would have had a heart attack had they existed in those days but we got the job done and got to our destination as planned.
26th Aug 2011, 01:21
Great Stuff Corsair (thanks)
And thats just as i thought it was, as was the brickwork inside.
I do not seem to recall there was any reference to their part in getting the Spitfire into service and even back then i thought a fuselarge on the wall with the script:- 'Southampton home of the Spitfire' would have been in keeping.
In fact it is amazing that the 'Belfasts' lasted for so long and were put to such good use after an even more amazing escape from being blitzed in 1940.
26th Aug 2011, 07:48
I used to hang around Eastleigh in the early 60s, had a Saturday job at the Aero Club. Had one or two "taxi rides" in G-AIDN, but sadly never a flight. Thought I was going to get lucky one day but it didn't happen!!
Corsair's shots brought back memories. I seem to recall there was a small plaque somewhere in the terminal building commemorating the first flight of the prototype Spitfire from the airfield in March 1936. It was easily missed.
26th Aug 2011, 09:30
In John Issacs book (An Aeroplane Affair) he recounts being allowed to taxi DN down to near the Airport entrance on a regular basis where it was parked for the day to attract joy flight customers.
In fact the book really gives you a feel of that pre and post war period and operating British aircraft with the Hampshire Aero Club.
Cue for someone to post image of this interesting feature of Airport life.
30th Aug 2011, 17:18
StGermain, you may be able to obtain information on Eastleigh Airport's history from Solent Avaition Societies Website www.solent-aviation-society.co.uk (http://www.solent-aviation-society.co.uk), there are several members who can probably help you.
The Solent Aviation Society next social meeting (last Thursday in September) is going to be about Eastleigh Airport and will feature images taken form the 50's and 60's. (pm for details)
20th Sep 2011, 08:47
Thankyou to everyone who gave me useful leads for information on the history of Southampton/Eastleigh Airport. I really appreciate your time and effort.:)
20th Sep 2011, 09:49
I have some old ABC Airways Guides, the earliest from May 1958. Southampton’s schedules at that time are listed as:
Silver City Deauville & Cherbourg Bristol 170 (car ferry)
BEA Jersey (Dakotas)
Jersey Airlines Guernsey & Alderney (Herons)
Cambrian Airways Cardiff-Bristol-Southampton-Paris LBG (Herons and Dakotas)
And an Airviews Manchester-Sandown service with an ‘optional landing’ at SOU (Rapides)
Plus Aquila Airways Short Solents from the Marina to Lisbon, Madeira and Santa Margherita (for Genoa)
By May 1964 BEA, Airviews and Silver City had gone, as had the Alderney service. Jersey/Guernsey were all Jersey Airlines Dakotas, the Cambrian service was still operating and there was a Fairways Dakota service to Rotterdam.
I have a copy of `The Solent Sky` by Peter T New dated 1976. Covers the history of aviation from 1908 to 1946 in the area. May be worth looking out for on various second hand book sites. It does not have a ISBN number........too early
16th Mar 2012, 16:57
My Father was BEA Station Supt at Southampton 1966-1976, recent article in a summer 2011 edition of Propliner recalls history of BEA at SOU and some of his memories and photos too. The Books History of BEA Bealine to Isles also contains entails of BEA SOU. Any further information might be available through pm me
16th Mar 2012, 19:54
Remember your Dad. I was young recently qualified controller at SOU remember doing many SRAs with Beeline 3403 and Beeline3413 (morning and evening flights).
On one memorable foggy morning the preceding flight landed, Beeline 3403 went around, next flight landed, second attempt 3403 went around again, next flight landed. On asking me what had happened to the other flights (which had all landed) a very posh voice came back "I think that someone is cheating", before he diverted.