View Full Version : Handley Page @Radlet Herts

2nd Apr 2003, 19:25
hi all,
Another general question..... i'm getting into my local aviation heritage now....
ANy memories/pics of Handley page at Radlet in Hertfordshire. Victor bomber/tankers etc.... what else did they build there?

Radlett pics (http://www.controltowers.co.uk/R/Radlett.htm)

Chris :rolleyes:

Shaggy Sheep Driver
2nd Apr 2003, 20:49
Heralds, Dart Heralds, and latterly Jetstreams. Probably loads more.


2nd Apr 2003, 21:23
I always thought that the demise of HP was one of the saddest events in the sad story of the British aviation industry. They refused to join in the nationalisation around Hawker Siddely or BAC and were punished for it.

As far as I can see, they never built a bad aeroplane, every one had its market niche and enjoyed a modicum of success ( although I was told by some RAF pilots that the early Jetstream with its Aztasous? engines left a lot to be desired).

Radlett was always an interesting place to pass in the train during the '60's ; lots of Heralds, Jetstreams and Victors.

One of my colleagues at the time had a relative who worked there and, for some unknown reason, he was machining spares for the Halifax - probably still on the inventory of some RAF stations.

2nd Apr 2003, 21:51
I've heard stories of quite a few flights destined for Radlett ending up landing at Hatfield down the road, completely unannounced and leaving the radlett controllers wondering as to where the aircraft they'd been talking too had gone to, quite a few embarrassed pilots me thinks!!:oh:

John (Gary) Cooper
3rd Apr 2003, 01:27
Try this site for Handley Page Aircraft:



Dan Winterland
3rd Apr 2003, 08:43
The feat of designing and building the Victor was amazing. An aircraft to fly higher faster and heavier than any other in an age where learning curves were steep. A senior USAF general observed the construction of Victors in the aged hangar at Radlett in the mid mid 50s and asked,

"It's a great aircraft but why are you building it in a barn?"

6th Apr 2003, 07:29
The last intact Halifax was broken up at Radlett in 1961, PN323, although her nose survives in IWM Lambeth. May's Aeroplane Monthly has a very comprehensive section on the Halifax, including a picture of PN323 in her final days.

Random UAS Stude
10th Apr 2003, 22:05
Get a train from St Albans to London (or vice versa) during daylight hours and you get a good view of the old airfield site.

10th Apr 2003, 23:03
oh yes... for my sins!! in Cambridge on placement till august then back for the final year! UAS?? Air squadron? looked to join, couldn't commit the time... got my PPL though.


Random UAS Stude
10th Apr 2003, 23:19
Yep, only a month to go!

Got the hours, no PPL though :O

26th Aug 2004, 07:00
Sorry it has taken me a year to find this post.

I took those photos that are linked in the original post as a young teenager. My Dad worked for HP as an aircraft fitter first at Cricklewood in North London and then at Radlett up until it closed in 1969? In the early 70’s one could walk over the runways and the airfield in general via the holes in the fences. Even as a teenager I found it a sad desolate place. I could imagine the life and sounds that were at the airfield only a few years before.

In those days the wind tunnel, which was located next to the tennis courts was still intact although surrounded by long grass. A visit through the broken fence this year revealed that the tunnel had long gone but the tennis courts remained although in a dismal state. (The tennis courts can be seen in the bottom picture).

Most people travelling past on the train now would never know that an airfield existed. A combination of gravel extraction and the M25 cutting the airfield in two has taken its toll although if you know where to look parts of the runways still remain as well as the Park Street Hangars and those tennis courts!

Silas Blattner
26th Aug 2004, 13:24
I think the Gugnunc first flew at Cricklewood - not Radlett - but I'm not sure.

26th Aug 2004, 15:14
According to my book called Handley Page an aircraft album published in 1970 HP bought a large tract of land at Colney Street, near Radlett in June 1929. In February 1930 the old Cricklewood aerodrome was sold to become playing fields and a housing estate. The new final assembly building and aerodrome at Radlett were officially opened on July 7, 1930. The first new prototype machine to fly at Radlett was the Heyford “Express Night Bomber” in June 1930, followed soon afterwards by the HP42 Heracles airliner.

The HP39 Gugnunc was designed to compete in the Guggenhrim Safe Aircraft Competition held in the USA in October, 1929. The requirements included a 10 to 1 glide angle required after engine–cut, a top speed of 110mph, a stalling speed no greater than 35 mph, a rate of climb of 400fpm at 1000ft and take-off and landing runs no greater than 300ft and 100ft respectively. The book contains a photo of the aircraft taking off from Cricklewood

Boss Raptor
26th Aug 2004, 21:57
I recall as a very young child passing by the Park St. entrance in the early 70's as I had a relative in Borehamwood it hasnt changed much over the years - laterly in the early 90's I was an instructor from Leavesden now also sadly gone as is Hatfield

27th Aug 2004, 06:49
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but my memory says that the Victors were retired from their bomber roles and ferried to Radlett for tanker conversion but that HP went bust before the work could be done. They then languished at Radlett for a good few years, deteriorating quite a bit, before being ferried - gear and flaps down with prayers being uttered - to Woodford where HSA finally made them into flying petrol stations.

The word was that dear old Uncle Sidd found that every Victor was hand made and whilst each one worked fine, a bit from any one would not fit any other!

27th Aug 2004, 07:02
Radlett, Leavesden. Hatfield and Bovingdon all Hertfordshire airfields within a stone throw of each other that have bitten the dust. The control towers at Leavesden and Hatfield still remain as does the runways at Bovingdon to remind us all of happier days.

I took a walk around the old perimeter fence at Leavesden last week after a gap of many years. As a youngster I used to watch the aircraft through the fence. In my minds eye I was still expecting a runway and hangars to appear through the gaps in the bushes even though I knew they were long gone but it was still a shock to see familiar sights gone forever only to be replaced by new road layouts, offices and housing.
:{ :{ :{

27th Aug 2004, 12:05
Just like West Malling, and a whole host of airfields all over the UK.

(Although in West Malling, now Kings Hill they are keeping the control tower and expect it to become a restaurant in the near future)