Construction of Gloucestershire’s new Jet Age Museum has finally taken off after several generous donations from museum members.
Despite being turned down by the Heritage Lottery Fund three times, construction is now progressing nicely with completion scheduled for later this year.
When complete the museum will showcase Gloucester’s proud aviation history which spans almost a century. Exhibitions are to include a Gloster Javelin, Meteors and a replica Gloster E28/39 amongst others.
The majority of the items have been in storage since 2000 and this new facility located at Gloucestershire Airport in Staverton will allow for the public to enjoy some exhibitions for the first time.
Speaking to Premier Construction about the development, Museum Chairman John Lewer said:
“I think it is incredibly important to put the rich aviation history of Gloucester on the record, this museum is not only a showcase of the aeroplanes it is also about the people who built them. We hope to move all the aircraft over to the new facility in the next few months and open unofficially to the public at the beginning of August.
“The museum will be free entry and we particularly encourage school groups to visit as it is very educational.”
When asked about the collections visitors can expect to see, John added: “As a museum our collection policy is to acquire anything relating to aviation in Gloucestershire. That ranges from aircraft built by the Gloucester Aircraft Company to a number of other items such as a 1920 Unibus Scooter- one of only three to exist in the world.
“We do have a wish list of aircraft that we would love to have. We thought when we first embarked on the museum it would be impossible to get most of them, but we have achieved a lot. For example we never thought we would get a Gloster Gladiator, in fact we were eventually given permission by the Norwegian government to recover a wreck from the Arctic Circle!”
John’s enthusiasm for aviation history was apparent throughout our discussion; he was previously a navigator for the RAF for 17 years and was also a commercial pilot. Speaking about how he came to be involved with the museum he said: “One of my neighbours was the grandson of A.W Martin who actually founded the Gloucester Aircraft Company and he approached me to join the committee due to my aviation background.
“It has taken 20 years to get as far as we have and we’re now nearly there!”