RAF Hendon

RAF Hendon

Postby aknott68 on Sun 04 Jun 2017, 3:28 pm

Before attending the photo event at RAF Northolt I took the opportunity to visit RAF Hendon, not somewhere I've been in 20 something years - first thing I noticed on walking up from the tube station is the amount of development in this part of London over this period of time, I trust that the Met Police made a substantial profit when selling the land that previously belonged to the training establishment there...

Obviously I know that there's a lot of working going on with this museum to refocus it to celebrate 100th anniversary of the RAF, however I am one who feels that removing the Battle of Britain museum feels wrong, I just hope that the new experience will be worth the change. I hope that once all the work is completed that the main hangar and the Bomber Command hall are laid out more sympathetically than they obviously are now.

I am absolutely stunned that they've done away with the galleries on the top floor, I do hope that they intend to bring these back and show the history of the airforce and not just the aircraft. lets hope that they're not just going in for a TV based presentation of history, that would be a real mistake in my opinion.

My first experience of the Milestones of Flight building, and I have to say I was suitably unimpressed - I don't quite understand how the items that were hear could necessarily be associated with a milestone in flight - how does having a plastic F35 support such a position, and to be honest even planes such as the Tempest and the Mustang as impressive as they were I wouldn't call them milestones, I Think the only one I'd probably put in that category was the Harrier to be fair.

I was impressed with the Grahame White hangar, that is very impressive and the RAF museum deserves full congratulations for this exhibition.

Some images below - comments and criticism welcome

Imagebeaufort by andy knott, on Flickr

Imageside on beaufort by andy knott, on Flickr

Imagecauldron iii by andy knott, on Flickr

Imagemilelstones mustang by andy knott, on Flickr

Imagemilestones buccaneer by andy knott, on Flickr

Imagebf110 by andy knott, on Flickr

Imagebulldog by andy knott, on Flickr

Imagebeaufighter and 6 pound gun by andy knott, on Flickr
aknott68

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby Ryan. on Mon 05 Jun 2017, 1:40 pm

The Milestones of Flight exhibit isn't particularly great. It does need as you rightly say more, milestones. I feel with Hendon it has one great exhibit, the World War One exhibition and the rest are either poorly done, like Milestones of Flight or feel very, very stale. Sad because they do have a really great collection of aeroplanes just not all displayed to their best.
Ryan.

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby aknott68 on Mon 05 Jun 2017, 5:20 pm

Ryan. wrote:The Milestones of Flight exhibit isn't particularly great. It does need as you rightly say more, milestones. I feel with Hendon it has one great exhibit, the World War One exhibition and the rest are either poorly done, like Milestones of Flight or feel very, very stale. Sad because they do have a really great collection of aeroplanes just not all displayed to their best.


Thanks Ryan, you're right Hendon has got some real gems - not least the Lancaster - which makes me wonder, has BBMF Lancaster ever worn the colours of S for sugar -I know there is a policy of display schemes of the centurion Lancs and this aircraft obviously meets this criteria and some?
aknott68

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby tuska2 on Tue 06 Jun 2017, 8:46 am

aknott68, I gather your overall impression is one of disappointment, which I share. Such a fantastic collection of aircraft and artifacts connecting us to huge events and achievements by so many as individuals and units, now sadly being often presented in many inappropriate and unsympathetic ways, presumably to
"jazz" or "Yoof" it up. Interesting that the British Museum, V@A, and the Natural History Museum have steered a more traditional path, because I believe the
guiding lights in those organisations have a little more knowledge and respect for their subject matter perhaps. It can't be about footfall as entrance to the main areas of these places enjoys that London centric Free admission. So I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling let down! Nice Pics by the way.
Last edited by tuska2 on Tue 06 Jun 2017, 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
tuska2

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby aknott68 on Tue 06 Jun 2017, 10:12 am

Thanks Tuska2. Yes it does worry me that people focus on the "digital" presentation only, I understand that an interactive approach such as this is supportive of telling the story however it would be really disappointing in the RAF museum didn't value the actual physical artefacts that they've collected/have been left to them and display them sympathetically - I remember going through the top floor and enjoying the diaromas the uniforms etc and the models.

As for the photos, thanks very much - very challenging to get decent images out of Hendon given the lighting conditions, the compressed nature of the aircraft and the fact that they've obviously compressed it further by adding the restaurant in the main hangar which has been relocated from the old BoB hall.

I look forward to visiting Hendon again once all the work is completed and hope that it still does focus on the most important aspects of the celebration of the history of the airforce
aknott68

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby MineRover on Tue 06 Jun 2017, 12:31 pm

Good photos in a difficult to photograph location.

I am saddened by how things are going at museums these days with such emphasis on 'interaction' this is fine but surely not at the expense of the actual exhibits! My experience of children visiting 'interactive' museums is that they seem to rush around pushing all the buttons just to see what happens and not actually looking at what is on display at all.

Some museums these days pack all the actual exhibits off to store and then show you a digital photo of the item! :dizzy:

I agree that removing the BoB hall seems like a shame and the upstairs gallery was always interesting to look around and I am never really sure of the current craze of hanging the aircraft from the ceiling :sad:
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MineRover

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby wv383 on Tue 06 Jun 2017, 1:28 pm

MineRover wrote:Good photos in a difficult to photograph location.

I am saddened by how things are going at museums these days with such emphasis on 'interaction' this is fine but surely not at the expense of the actual exhibits! My experience of children visiting 'interactive' museums is that they seem to rush around pushing all the buttons just to see what happens and not actually looking at what is on display at all.

Some museums these days pack all the actual exhibits off to store and then show you a digital photo of the item! :dizzy:

I agree that removing the BoB hall seems like a shame and the upstairs gallery was always interesting to look around and I am never really sure of the current craze of hanging the aircraft from the ceiling :sad:


I totally agree with you. One of my favourite museums was, emphasis on 'was', the Tank Museum at Bovington. It was that is says on the tin, a TANK museum. Now however, they too have gone the 'interactive experience' route. It started when the film Warhorse was in vogue. At that time there was a 'between the wars' hall where tanks of that era were on show. That hall was cleared to make way for two or three tanks and lifesize models of horses. Next they moved out a load of post WW2 tanks, including all those captured during the first Gulf conflict and replaced it with 'The Tank Factory' telling the story of, you guessed it, a tank factory with just three or four actual tanks and a load of screens and boards. Now they have cleared another hall to tell the Tiger story with various examples of the different types. Yes, a whole hall for five tanks! Where have all the exhibits gone that they have removed from the museum itself? Into store of course. They call it The Conservation Centre but it is only open a few times a year and nor normal opening days, and the vehicles are crammed in, in the virtual dark, with no detail boards. In there are some real rarities and completely unique examples of the type. The Tank Museum was a place that I would usually trek the two hundred mile round trip at least once a year plus visiting Tankfest each June. No more! Tankfest has become advance ticket only and is so crowded that it is well nigh impossible to get a place to see the arena display and with the museum being as it is now, I have better things to do than travel those miles to push some buttons on a screen.
wv383

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby aknott68 on Tue 06 Jun 2017, 3:41 pm

MineRover, I agree with you - and as for hanging the aircraft for the ceiling, in my view that's only appropriate in kids bedrooms but I understand why they do it to cram more and more assets into constrained space.
aknott68

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby aknott68 on Tue 06 Jun 2017, 3:42 pm

wv383 disappointing news about the tank museum as we're planning on going down to Poole later in the year and having never been this is somewhere I was planning on going - perhaps from your comments I should spend the time visiting somewhere else down there...
aknott68

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby tuska2 on Tue 06 Jun 2017, 4:17 pm

I certainly agree with Minerover, kids including my grandkids do just that, charge about bashing buttons! now I can see the fun in that, but its value is just a pamper to modern fashion, often these days to the detriment of the ambiance and impact of what the museum should exist for! Shame also to hear about the Tank Museum, I haven' been in 15 years, intending to re-visit some time this year, so another rant on its way!
tuska2

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby aknott68 on Tue 06 Jun 2017, 4:54 pm

TO be honest my favourite rants are all these organisations who make a big thing about joining social media like twitter and post lots of PR messages, but don't reply to any inbound messages asking the to justify their decisions and their approach ;0)
aknott68

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby Wes_Howes on Wed 07 Jun 2017, 7:38 am

I think you're perhaps judging Hendon a little unfairly at this time. Due to the revamping of the old BoB hall, space has needed to be found for some of the airframes that were contained in there. Some were shipped to Cosford but the rest have remained and been squeezed in where possible. Perhaps reserving judgement until the work has been completed would be best and be thankful that the museum is still open and free :smile:
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Wes_Howes

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby aknott68 on Wed 07 Jun 2017, 8:02 am

Wes_Howes wrote:I think you're perhaps judging Hendon a little unfairly at this time. Due to the revamping of the old BoB hall, space has needed to be found for some of the airframes that were contained in there. Some were shipped to Cosford but the rest have remained and been squeezed in where possible. Perhaps reserving judgement until the work has been completed would be best and be thankful that the museum is still open and free :smile:

Morning Wes

In my original post I did state that I understood that things were somewhat in a transition state so no I don't think I judged it to harshly.
I've seen a number of the aircraft that have moved up to Cosford, and indeed been able to photograph a couple of them so I know that's the case.
I also said I'd look to go back once the refurbishment is complete to see what it looks like.
However I don't believe that the space on the ground floor has impacted the removal of the gallery artefacts on the first floor - and nor do I suspect that this has impacted the scale of the Milestones exhibition -which as well as not really containing that many milestones was much smaller than I had anticipated.
However I do indeed agree with your last point that I am glad Hendon still exists, as mentioned earlier in this trail its obviously got an important historic element to the RAF and it would be a travesty if it was ever to close - and I would hate to see this fine collection of aircraft being dispersed.
aknott68

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby Ouragan on Wed 07 Jun 2017, 11:37 am

I always like to get the other half's layperson impressions of my favourite aviation haunts. She gave a one word evaluation of Hendon the first time she visited: sterile.

And it is. RAFM Hendon is largely a collection of disparate aircraft sitting collecting dust in a big building. There is rarely an opportunity to move or exchange them due to the collection being dispersed across two display sites and one storage site, and for the most part the same aircraft are sitting in the same positions as the first time I visited almost thirty years ago. The info boards are the same, and the longstanding closure of the upper galleries robs the visitor of the opportunity to put the aircraft into any kind of context, be it military, political, technological or social.

Of course, as all the down-with-the-kids museum curators try to make their collections 'relevant, innit' you can go too far the other way. IWM South Lambeth, anyone? "Now let's get rid of that nuclear missile. Bomber offensive? Colonial policing? Much too shocking for contemporary audiences." And so on.

Surely there must be a middle way? I went to Bletchley Park recently, and you are handed a small multi-media device with a screen and headphones that gives you so much more info as you walk around the site without having to read reams of text from information boards. You come away from the place marveling at the work that was done there. Perhaps RAFM could put in a lottery bid for something like this. Done properly it can give you the information you want about the exhibits, perhaps with interviews of aircrew or clips of the aircraft in action, and as an alternative a 'lite' version for youngsters. Or how about using subtle audio-visual aids; the sounds of a Lancaster being bombed up when standing underneath S-Sugar, for example, or giving some power to one of the jets in a darker corner and switching the nav lights and strobe on. And for heaven's sake, don't put EVERYTHING behind a zealously policed barrier. Yes, with the rarer examples, but perhaps you can let people actually (whisper it) touch the Hunter or Canberra and stick their head up the tailpipe or the undercarriage bays rather than treating them as sacred objects.

Museums should inspire, inform and entertain. RAFM Hendon isn't doing much of any of that. The free admission does not help, frankly, as it leads to a very half hearted attitude. If RAFM charged an admission they would be forced to up their game, but there is no incentive to do so. And with regard to next year's centenary, I shudder to think about what we will be presented with.
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Ouragan

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby The Baron on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 5:25 am

I went with a friend to Hendon about 18 months ago. He's not particularly interested in aircraft but came away suitably impressed - because I had managed to bring the aircraft to life with stories of them and the crews in action (the Battle and Maastricht bridges for example).
If not for me he'd have got bored quickly and wandered around in half an hour.
Loafer for Mr. Da Vinci.
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The Baron

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby jag636 on Tue 20 Jun 2017, 7:20 am

I agree with all positive and negative views and try to keep an open mind, for me even if the airframes are crammed in the one thing that that will still allow is the fact that they will be undercover. After all thats what museum of this size and nature do I am proud of the fact that there was a collection of thoughts put together by forward thinking people way back in the 60s who set about firstly saving the aircraft and associated items at a central place, Colerne before finally resting on saving Hendon. I myself am a museum member at newark and have been with like minded forward thinking people who have visio, better to put them nose to tail than to rot outside and then suffer the moans of why didnt you do something about saving it. The saying rock and hard place is always on our minds when trying to preserve and show what we have in our collections, yes Hendon can be like a clinic but I know that at least they have made the attempt to show and save. Sadly in this day and age money talks with ideas and yet just putting someone with an aircraft to tell stories and bring it to life is far better in our view than a collection of VR screens that only let you see what you could have once touched.
Yes e need to listen to public needs but also needs to just do what we do best or try to under the constraints of tight budgets and limited space and low man power try to preserve first and then show later.
jag636

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby qwerty on Thu 29 Jun 2017, 8:44 pm

"Museums should inspire, inform and entertain" which is certainly what the museum at Kinloss does ...Morayvia,small but perfect with hands on and guides.
qwerty

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby Dan O'Hagan on Sat 01 Jul 2017, 1:19 pm

The moronification of major museums is troubling. The Science Museum, Cosford and Duxford are guilty of this too. I'm minded of the time I was taken to Cosford as a young boy in the early 80s, and was excitedly looking at the collection of model aeroplanes - to which my dad reminded me the real things were in the hangar next door, and were far more interesting to look at.

I remember being given an activity sheet to fill in, where you had to go and find things out about the aeroplanes. A far better way of engaging than encouraging kids to bash at buttons all day.

If people can't be enthused about the actual exhibits in a museum, that perhaps says more about them and society than the museum itself. Or in the children's case, a failure on the parents part to raise them in a way where they are able to engage in any way other than via computer touch-screens.

This is why I love the smaller collections in the country, Flixton especially. Aeroplanes and artifacts presented in a hangar and a few Nissen huts without CGI or touch-screen nonsense to detract from them.
Dan O'Hagan

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby tuska2 on Sun 02 Jul 2017, 5:46 am

Certainly agree Dan. I guess the the problem facing the smaller " organic " museums is resources, the irony being the Big Guys have the resources in shovel loads
and squander it on that " Moronification ". Although it has been steered away from in, for example, the British Museum, so the right people in the right place...
Sadly, no evidence of that these days at Hendon, Cosford, Duxford, which seem to find Theme Parks an inspiration. Here I go again...
tuska2

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby jag636 on Mon 03 Jul 2017, 9:52 pm

Having been involved in aviation at many levels including being in the air force and now in the museum world we all find something to exercise our thoughts, for my sins as acquisitions officer at newark I have been able to save some many exhibits for not only newark but others as well. How we sell ourselves and the exhibits will vary depending on funding and ability to use what you have in the old grey cells, I have had the pleasure of going to hendon on many occasions and indeed our Tristar sim was donated by them. Anyone who feels that moronic ideas how ever odd they may seem should try to see how you maintain footfall this is sometimes only possible by attractions that appeal to all types of viewer hence the need to dumb down. But please remember the mai reasons as to why we all exist and that is to teach and preserve, both of these keep museums going and please think of the need to be a visionary in a world that changes very much in front of our eyes.
Though we are all entitled to our thoughts and criticism remember without any of these institutions the world would be a very dull place and poorer.
jag636

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby wv383 on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 11:09 am

jag636 wrote:Having been involved in aviation at many levels including being in the air force and now in the museum world we all find something to exercise our thoughts, for my sins as acquisitions officer at newark I have been able to save some many exhibits for not only newark but others as well. How we sell ourselves and the exhibits will vary depending on funding and ability to use what you have in the old grey cells, I have had the pleasure of going to hendon on many occasions and indeed our Tristar sim was donated by them. Anyone who feels that moronic ideas how ever odd they may seem should try to see how you maintain footfall this is sometimes only possible by attractions that appeal to all types of viewer hence the need to dumb down. But please remember the mai reasons as to why we all exist and that is to teach and preserve, both of these keep museums going and please think of the need to be a visionary in a world that changes very much in front of our eyes.
Though we are all entitled to our thoughts and criticism remember without any of these institutions the world would be a very dull place and poorer.


To an extent I agree but to take a priceless aircraft off display only to put it into storage to make way for a display board or video screen, for me, is not the way to go.
wv383

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby tuska2 on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 5:18 pm

jag636, Newark is delightful museum, which has achieved a great deal whilst having to be concerned about footfall and revenue, nor did it seem to me that there was any evidence, on my last visit, of dumbing down. Hendon and Cosford however, have no anxieties about footfall ( other than corporate box ticking! ) they are free entry, seem to be high on the School Visit list and have easy access to public transport links with proximity to areas of high population and tourism. I certainly would not decry the value and quality of many employees effort in both those organisations, rather its the " Guiding Lights " who seem to drifting ever further from shore! In conversation ,without me prompting, Employees of the RAF museums have put this view to me. Sorry to bang on!
tuska2

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby jag636 on Tue 04 Jul 2017, 5:54 pm

Yes I have to agree with both the above large population areas do benefit from both Hendon and cosfords location, and yes it doesn't make sense to take your crown jewels off display. Perhaps we the great unwashed should ask those in their ivory towers as to where they get their ideas and whats more do they know what airframes or indeed any artifacts are for and what is the direction they are taking. For all that we at NAM do know and have a policy that we follow which guides us on what to save and show, great thread :clap:
jag636

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby SCARECROW 451 on Fri 11 Aug 2017, 11:28 pm

I visited a year ago and for my first visit in over 20 years I was very disappointed, just hope its worth it when its finished.
ATC, BCU & 'A' SQN OPS @ TTTE, IPS & ATC HONINGTON, II(AC) SQN OPS & ATC MARHAM. ATC SHAWBURY.
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SCARECROW 451

Re: RAF Hendon

Postby Fox on Mon 14 Aug 2017, 7:27 am

Dan O'Hagan wrote:
This is why I love the smaller collections in the country, Flixton especially. Aeroplanes and artifacts presented in a hangar and a few Nissen huts without CGI or touch-screen nonsense to detract from them.


One of the best 'days out' I have had for years was visiting Shuttleworth on the 'Engineering Day'. Absolutely brilliant. Very wide yet detailed knowledge on all the aircraft (and cars) - an opportunity to really get up close (ie touch) these priceless aircraft with their panels off - marvel at the complexity of chains and cables - get the full history of the aircraft and their place in the various conflicts - all with comfort of a cup of tea from an urn and a bun. All topped off by a two minute sit in the Spitfire with a quick overview of the controls etc.

All of this added untold value to my next visit to Shuttleworth and subsequent airshows.

It's a real shame that museums such as Hendon, and to some extent other collections, don't hold similar days - a real education.
Fox

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