View Full Version : Science Museum, Wroughton - Events

Saab Dastard
23rd Jul 2003, 05:20
I have recently seen references to the Science Museum storage facility at Wroughton and, given that I've been to a fair number of aircraft museums around the UK and never even heard of the place, I thought I'd check up on accessability.

The following link is to the events section and gives details of when the collection is open.


Hope this is useful.


Cornish Jack
23rd Jul 2003, 17:44
Very well worth a visit.
The selection of aircraft is astonishing and the transport side has some quite remarkable exhibits as well.

24th Jul 2003, 03:43
Go while you still can!

The science museum have got plans to dig up the runways and put in trees and lakes for some enviromental project.:mad: :mad:

I have tried to post a link to the thing but it doesn't seam to work for me.

Anybody who is interested and less of a technophobe could try typing enviromental project for wroughton into google. When I do that the screen goes blank after about a second so I can't read what it says.

I hate to think what will happen to the collection once this has been done.:mad:

24th Jul 2003, 04:17
You can arrange visits outside the Open days, which are relatively few and far between. I spent a good few hours there with a mate and the curator who gave us the guided and highly informative tour. Fascinating collection, well worth a visit

Shaggy Sheep Driver
24th Jul 2003, 05:16
The science museum have got plans to dig up the runways and put in trees and lakes for some enviromental project

Grrrrrr!! They could put bl**dy trees and lakes anywhere. It's an airfield with an on-site museum. Why can't the Science Museum preserve it as an active field instead of destroying it? Think what it would cost to build from scratch?

What planet do these people live on??


25th Jul 2003, 01:24
This is the brochure for the "creative planet" project.


When you read it sounds lovely and fluffy but they fail to mention the distruction of one of the most complete world war two airfields still in existance. It would not be so bad but the area is surrounded by trees and agriculture.

Grr bloody tree huggers.

26th Jul 2003, 16:13
The 'Dog in the manger' attitude of the Science Museum people at Wroughton is simply appalling.

Some years ago, a chum had his Sea Fury based there. The idiots used every possible excuse to stop him flying it, including alleging that he was flying 'unauthorised aerobatics' in 'their airspace'.....

It really is time something was done about such tree-hugging fools; they have no right to be in control of what could be an excellent aerodrome for both light GA and business GA aircraft.
If you wish to contact these people, try:


I have!!

29th Jul 2003, 17:26
I have now received a reply from the Science Museum. Would you believe that:

"In October 2001 the Museum's environmental management consultants prepared a health and safety compliance audit report for the site, including runways and roadways. Their assessment was that wear of the runway tarmac was such as to cause vehicles to become unstable particularly if driven at high speeds. This left us with no alternative but to re-assess the risks involved in any motorised or flying activity on the site. The developing idea of removing the runways is therefore not as a result of
an agenda to prevent flying, but to make the best uses of the museum's resources. A review of long-term options for the site, endorsed by the Board of Trustees of the Science Museum on 22 November 2001 indicated that future events were subject to health and safety considerations. Accordingly, no further events are now permitted."

So - it would seem that their own consultants decided the fate of the runways. How very convenient for them to hide behind the wretched Health and Safety excuse - and how very convenient for their future plans for their 'consultants' to have made such findings.......

If there was any justice, the local MP should intervene and call for any plans for the removal of the runways to be stopped pending an independent assessment of their condition and the contribution which a revived aerodrome would provide to the local community.

But no. Doubtless no-one will bother and these blasted tree-huggers will get their way............

3rd Aug 2003, 17:23
I do hope you were all at Wroughton last weekend for one of their very few events.......read part of their own description of the event........

....At 600 feet above sea level Wroughton was one of the highest World War II airfields - as a consequence we know a thing or two about wind!...

The Science Museum is sitting on a wealth of aviation history that should be on view to the public at reasonable times, say, March to October.....I know, who'll pay for staffing, security, etc..(Nat Lot)

On a private visit to the UK with an American (aviation nut) colleague some years ago to an aviation friend near Swindon, I thought I'd show him Wroughton - after all, we'd been everywhere else worth mentioning that trip.....we drove in, lots of people were busy erecting things, looked like landscape gardeners or similar. We were viewed like aliens! I found someone involved in the museum, who flatly refused to allow us a quick trip through, in spite of our aviation connections. I really don't know why I accepted his flat refusal with such politeness. What a w$%ker! Of course I understand his reasons...bla bla

How the PFA ever got their ok to stage a rally there gawd only knows. I expect all those flying things ruined the tarmac for ever.

Science Museum and trees...? Wrong subject, Carruthers!

Reminded me of a visit to the Railway Museum at Leeds, there was a TV quiz programme being aired, and several locos had been sent to the shed round the back (for want of a better description). We went r t b and asked the foreman if we could view them and he too said, no, what for, they're all the same, just a load of bl$$dy iron. I could've creased his cranium with a coupling!


call you back for vespers

Windy Militant
4th Aug 2003, 16:14
The reason that the PFA got the rally in there was that the outstation manger at the time was a fellow aviator. I think he owned or had a share in an Auster at the time. At that time Wroughton was not high on the priorities of head office so this guy slid it under the wire whilst they were looking the other way.

The staff on site are really keen on opening up the collection but sadly Kensington seem to have a different agenda.

An acquaintance of mine is a member of the Swindon Lions a charity group, they used to help out with marshaling and other stuff at open days there.
He told me that one of the reasons that they have so few open days is that they have to have a certain number of Museum staff on duty. However despite being offered double time from 17:00 Friday to 08:00 Monday and being allocated accomadation they couldn't get enough staff from Kensington to attend. This wasn't helped by the fact that unless the staff were of a certain grade they weren't allowed to handle money or deal with the public so the Lion's had to do that whilst the staff just hung around and watched. So usually what happened is that said staff would get bored to the eye teeth and not go back.

30th Mar 2004, 13:57

Friends of mine are interested in operating an airfeild in the South West UK. I suggested Wroughton.

Is it for sale or is it as these posts suggest already being developed for environmental projects?

If it is available, what do you all think - would people be interested in flying in?

With thanks.

Windy Militant
30th Mar 2004, 18:48
I recently used the feedback feature to express my concern about the fate of the collection at Wroughton with regards to the Creative Planet initiative. The reply I got seems to indicate that they are backing away somewhat from the original plan.
Also it was stated that as a
non-departmental public body under the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and we are not in a position to sell or buy land wherever we like.

However on a brighter note they are apparently going to invest a significant amount in restoration of buildings, infrastructure and services onsite including improving accessability to the site.

I for one will be watching developments with great interest.

Maybe your friends would consider Lynham I hear thats going to be on the Market Soon!;) ;)

30th Mar 2004, 19:36
What a bizarre approach?! :uhoh:

Er, my main thingy needs maintainance, I haven't done any , so I'll stop using it... Er what?

Where did I read about 'maintainance'? Oh, I didn't; they 'forgot' to mention that bit. Poor.

Wonder where the application of public pressure would have an effect? It's an oportunity for PPruners to make a difference.

Lynham is going to be 'avaliable'. But Bicester is avaliable now. What's the noisiest thing we could fly in? Should cause a few shockwaves among the NIMBYs.

The Science Museum, with a great collction (and I have a lot of time for Andrew Nahum) clearly need a public boot up the proverbial, if this is the sort of plan they come up with.

Disgusted of Oxon.

PS: Don't put anything behind a statement to 'improve access'. It's a very v current (read 'fasionable')requirement of HM Govt for disability. Even town halls and community centres are getting dosh for ramps.

Windy Militant
30th Mar 2004, 21:01
I would't upset the natives at Bicester too much. Apparently the MOD are being fractious so the Cherwell Windrushers (http://www.cherwellgc.btinternet.co.uk/index.htm) are looking for support. The more members that they can get will help to keep gliding on the site.

30th Mar 2004, 23:01
Hi Windy,

Fair 'nuff. I should say that I'm one of them thar natives, as I'm on the Bicester tugging circuit and also under the Weston on the Green jumping out of fepectlyy serbicble airplanes one too. Gets a bit oddly crowded with unpowered aviation round here!


30th Mar 2004, 23:06
There was an article in one of the local freebie papers last week suggesting that an 'old flying machine company' (but definitely not the OFMC) (I forget the name and recycled the paper yesterday, of course) might be heading for Bicester - complete with Spit, P-47 and a couple of other types.

Believe it when I see it, but if true.....

Windy Militant
31st Mar 2004, 07:42
I'm not a hundred percent sure about this but I think that the skies over your head will soon be bereft of our unpowered friends. If I've got the right end of the stick (usually I get the unfragrant end) The RAF Gliding chaps are upping sticks and moving to Halton. Which is why the Windrushers are trying to get established before the Nimby's put a crimp in their style.

Orange Arm Waver
31st Mar 2004, 09:07
There was talk a while back that Robs Lamplough (spelling?) or one of his buisiness interests were looking at the site.
I know that in the last couple of years at least a Spitfire and a Mustang have flown in for a visit... I missed both :mad: - out and about doing something someone else deemed important!!!

31st Mar 2004, 10:43
It makes you wonder if theres a bit of inter-museum politics going on here. Some thing along the lines of 'The IWM have an out-station at Duxford and we can't possibly be seen to be copying them.'

But as Duxford is such a success I would have though that a valid reason for the Sciene Museum to follow their lead, learn from the IWMs experience etc.

It all comes down to cost and a failure to be imaginative.

1st Apr 2004, 23:32
I realize that I'm arriving without getting the numbers from the ATIS....

Has consideration been given to use of unpaid volunteer guides? This seemed to work well for the Smithsonian's Restoration Facility for many years, and is in progress for the new site at IAD. The prospective guides attend about 20 class sessions, and another 20 tours following experienced guides, before they are let loose to run a tour on their own.


One or two tours were given each day and advanced reservations were generally required. The size of tour groups was limited. No fees were collected.

No doubt this scheme would have to be modified to fit Wroughton.

==== Added 2 April ====

All the above assumes that the airstrip to pask / holiday camp people don't get their way.

Windy Militant
2nd Apr 2004, 08:51
Have a look at this Creative Planet (http://www.nmsi.ac.uk/creativeplanet/pdfs/creativeplanet.pdf)

The link has been posted earlier in the thread. The Science Museum annouced last year that they were going to tear up all the runways and plant trees all over the site.

The local cynics have pointed out that the guy in charge of this used to work for Centre Parcs so this may be the first stage in turning the place into a holiday camp! ;)

4th Apr 2004, 13:37
Here's my 10 pennorthworth:

I have read your brochure for the Creative Planet with interest. The concept of Knowledge Farms is sound but should it be the preserve of a Museum? As one of the very few largely unaltered examples of a WW2 airfield shouldn't the prervation of the site in it's present state be of greater import? Knowledge Farms can be created anywhere, preferably on an inner city brown field site where there will be greater ease of access. The Imperial War Museum happily co-exists with commercial concerns at Duxford, the Science Museum could, after some maintenance work to the sadly neglected runway, do the same. This could make the airfield a tribute to the flyers who died in service to their country as well as an asset to the local community. Before the runways are removed, shouldn't an independant survey be done to reassure the tax paying public that their money is being used in their best interest? There are Government guidleines on the removal of aviation assets and I for one would like to see independant assurance that these are being observed.

C'mon Ppruners, get stuck in.

4th Apr 2004, 15:04
Have you noticed how, once people other than flyers get hold of sites like this, they always fix it so that the site can never be restored as an airfield.
Brooklands:- cut the runway in half with a public road.
Cranfield:- (only one runway I know) Put a bluddy great building on the threshold. I'm sure space could have been found 100 yards off to one side.
Greenham common:- dig the runways up. Must have cost more than the spoil was worth and it looks, from the air as though there are still runways there. Some poor lost soul will eventually write off his aeroplane doing a forced landing on it.
Wroughton:- there wre plans to build a new facility there. I don't know if it has happened. Guess where! on the end of the short runway.
There are many more.
Don't people realise that airfields are valuable assets in their own right. They are very easy to close and impossible to build from scratch.

Mike W

Wroughton was never an 'operational' airfield. ( I stand to be corrected) As far as I know, it was always a maintenance unit where aircraft were received from the factory or repair shop and fitted out prior to delivery to the operational units. Windy Militant probably knows more about this. He was more involved than I was when we opened it up for the PFA Rally for those two or three years.


6th Apr 2004, 05:04
skylark I avoided saying it was an 'operational' WW2 airfield as I wasn't sure that it had been one. :cool:

With the constant increase in the need for commercial runways in the UK the closing of any runway amazes me.

PS don't forget to make your comments known to the Museum.

Windy Militant
6th Apr 2004, 08:17
Here's the place to let them know what you think about all this!
Tell us what you think (http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/wroughton/creativeplanet.asp)
If you look at the Main Science Museum web site you'll be hard pressed to find any mention of Wroughton.
Here's a potted
History (http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/wroughton/introduction.asp)