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BOAC at Ringway/Burtonwood 1950s

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BOAC at Ringway/Burtonwood 1950s

Old 26th Mar 2014, 14:16
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BOAC at Ringway/Burtonwood 1950s

On behalf of a friend, I am researching a gentleman who worked at Ringway for BOAC from the mid-late 50s-1962. His name was Peter Rainbird, and he ferried passengers from Ringway to Burtonwood for BOAC's transatlantic flights.

I am looking for any other employees or anyone who might have memories of Ringway/BOAC/Burtonwood at the time.


Many thanks
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Old 1st Apr 2014, 18:17
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fish

I have a book on the history of Burtonwood published in 1986. This concentrates on its military history but does mention BOAC stratocruisers using this airfield in 1955 as Ringway's runway wasn't considered safe for night operations. There were 6 scheduled flights to New York a week. Due to security no facilities were available at Burtonwood so passengers were bussed to and from Ringway.
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Old 4th Apr 2014, 13:07
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As well as the check-in at Ringway, BOAC also operated a check-in at the Patten Arms Hotel, Warrington. This surprising arrangement, described in old BOAC timetables, used the hotel which was (and still is) directly over the road from the entrance to Warrington Bank Quay station, on the main London Euston to Glasgow railway, and in those days just a few minutes drive from Burtonwood.

https://maps.google.co.uk/?ll=53.386...66.12,,0,-4.57

A room was hired on the afternoons that flights were operating, and passengers were checked in, doubtless given a cup of tea, and then coached over to Burtonwood. Given the likely low numbers joining the Stratocruiser there (most would be through from Heathrow) the Ringway coach might well have called in at the Patten Arms to pick people up. An account I have here says that Burtonwood ATC tipped off the BOAC staff at the hotel when the inbound was imminent so passengers didn't spend any time at the non-existent facilities at Burtonwood. It also states that there were eight BOAC staff seconded to Burtonwood at this time. This arrangement started 4 October 1955, and seems to have lasted about two years, due to Ringway's runway being extended (and was presumably operated foreshortened or only on cross-runways while being connected up). It's still in the 1957 BOAC timetable when DC7Cs were operating some of the services, which appear to have been allowed to operate through Ringway eastbound but not westbound. Not quite clear why, as all flights operated through Prestwick as well, and thus were not taking transatlantic fuel.

http://www.timetableimages.com/ttima...57/ba57-03.jpg

Most outbounds left in mid-evening, they all came up from Heathrow, while return flights normally were scheduled through from late morning to early afternoon.

Last edited by WHBM; 4th Apr 2014 at 13:27.
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Old 5th Apr 2014, 13:48
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Great stuff. Many thanks for taking the time and trouble to reply..

Mark
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Old 5th Apr 2014, 14:27
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Book Name?

This is super helpful. Do you have the name of the book? I'd love to get it... Thank you for your help with this...
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Old 5th Apr 2014, 14:31
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Time tables and Burtonwood

This is great! Thank you. I had heard (though have no proof...) that this was also the case when they started flying the 707s too that the runway wasn't long enough. My information is scant and through the press. I'd also love to find any staff working at Ringway for BOAC at the time. Any help would be great...

And I'd also tracked down the Patten Arms and called them for any information but the pub has changed hands so often -- not just landlords but breweries that all seems lost there. Which is sad as the stories of how people checked in then is pretty fascinating stuff.

If you think of more or have any ideas of where to go for more information I'd love it. Likewise as I uncover more I'll post it too.

Thank you!
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Old 5th Apr 2014, 19:15
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According to the 1979 edition of First and Foremost, the official history of Manchester Airport, the Stratocruiser flights initially operated through Manchester but diverted to Burtonwood in bad weather. The diversion quickly became a permanent feature until the runway was extended. When this extension opened flights resumed through Manchester and the Strats were quickly replaced by the new DC7Cs which I can't recall operating through Burtonwood. There is a photo in the book of a Strat landing on 06 at Manchester.

BOAC's attitude to the runway at Manchester may well have been one of over caution given the short hop to Prestwick and the fact that SABENA continually flew DC6s and were first to fly DC 7Cs through Manchester to and from New York calling at Shannon but going direct when the winds allowed.

The same pertained with the B707. BOAC were very hesitant about using the type but SABENA went ahead and eventually flew direct to New York when winds allowed whilst BOAC continued via Prestwick, with DC7Cs and then Britannia's, moving to the 707 when SABENA, which had fifth freedom rights, were beating them hands down on loads but continuing via Prestwick for many years.

Last edited by philbky; 5th Apr 2014 at 19:21. Reason: punctuation
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Old 7th Apr 2014, 19:06
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The linked timetable says that passengers should report to the Patten Arms Hotel, or to the Manchester Air Terminus. This latter was not Ringway airport, but was a BOAC office in the centre of Manchester, at Royal Exchange Arcade, off Deansgate, Manchester 2. That's still there as well, next to the Royal Exchange theatre.

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=m2+...2,70.1,,0,3.84

This was the normal way of working in those days, check-in would be here and then a (free) bus sat outside would take passengers out to the flight at the airport. BOAC had a small fleet of these buses at their city terminals at Manchester and Glasgow (for Prestwick) as well as at overseas points.
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Old 7th Apr 2014, 23:35
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WHBM, having been brought up in Manchester and having been a regular visitor to the city centre as a child and intensely interested in any form of transport, I have absolutely no recollection of any BOAC coach in Manchester. The Manchester Air Terminal was originally on the corner of Lower Mosley St and Oxford St, where Peter House was later built. In the early 1950s it was moved to Royal Exchange Buildings with the buses parking in St Ann's Sq. From here Manchester Corporation Transport provided a non stop service to connect with individual flights at Manchester Airport using one and a half deck coaches based on the BEA coaches that provided a similar service at London Airport.

The Manchester vehicles were painted two shades of blue and silver and carried the city coat of arms. They had two destination blinds, one showing the airline, the other the destination of the flight they served. Thus a Manchester Corporation bus could be seen heading south out of the city bearing destinations as diverse as New York, Brussels and Copenhagen. Even more bizzarely, a number of Parrs Wood depot's red double deck service buses carried the airline names in their via blind displays and the city destinations in their destination blind displays as from time to time they had to substitute for the airport coaches.

Incidentally, MCTD had to pay BEA a fee for each of the airport buses built as BEA made a case that they and Park Royal (which built the BEA vehicles) had had their patents infringed.

Back to BOAC and Burtonwood, whilst neither I, nor my extensive archive of Manchester transport, have any note or photo of any BOAC owned or liveried vehicle operating between the city and Burtonwood, and I have grave doubts about the MCTD vehicles operating there although the Corporation had extensive private hire rights outside the city, I'd be delighted to see any contradictory photo evidence. I strongly suspect that a private coach operator provided the service to Burtonwood, there were plenty to choose from and the timing of the flights would have generated welcome revenue at a quiet time.

You mention the situation at Glasgow and there BOAC did have at least one coach of itsown to connect with Prestwick, well into the 1960s.

Last edited by philbky; 8th Apr 2014 at 00:10. Reason: Additional info
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Old 8th Apr 2014, 14:31
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Originally Posted by philbky View Post
The Manchester vehicles were painted two shades of blue and silver and carried the city coat of arms. They had two destination blinds, one showing the airline, the other the destination of the flight they served. Thus a Manchester Corporation bus could be seen heading south out of the city bearing destinations as diverse as New York, Brussels and Copenhagen.
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Old 10th Apr 2014, 18:38
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Test..........
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Old 11th Apr 2014, 21:02
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Book is Burtonwood by Aldon Ferguson. Published by Airfield Publications in 1986. ISBN 0951 1113 02.
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