Monday, 24 August 2020

Footage shows 'forgotten' aerodrome from before WW2

Vintage aircraft footage of 'forgotten' pre-war aerodrome

Here we have another interesting article both in and of itself and also as a further example of modern technology being put to good use in boosting knowledge of the past.

As with the recent story about "Facts Discs" for classic cars the technology is again the ever-present QR code, which allows smartphone users to access information digitally from a website or online database.  In this case, however, the information takes the form of historic and previously lost footage of one of Wales' first aerodromes.

source - B.B.C. News

When Llandrindod Wells had more flights than Cardiff

Only rediscovered three years ago this remarkable piece of film - shot by a local chemist and amateur photographer and donated by his daughter - is the surprising proof that the small mid-Wales town of Llandrindod Wells was at the forefront of British aviation in the years between the wars, with its own airfield based in the town's Rock Park.  As the article explains, the expansion of civil aviation in Britain just before and immediately after the First World War meant that towns and cities up and down the country were queuing up to get municipal airports built in their vicinities, off the back of aerial tours such as Sir Alan Cobham's Flying Circus (coincidentally I recently just finished reading the autobiography of journalist and filmmaker William Courtney (entitled Airman Friday) who served as organiser and press officer for Cobham (as well as for Amy Johnson and Jim Mollison) and who wrote at length about his and Cobham's efforts to encourage local authorities to invest in airports in the '20s and '30s).  Clearly Llandrindod Wells was no exception, thanks to its forward-thinking and air-minded councillors who foresaw the benefits of having an aerial link from an otherwise remote part of the country.  That link quickly blossomed to include daily flights to such national hubs as London, Birmingham and Cardiff, not to mention the provision of local joy-rides and regular air displays.  It must have been a truly exciting and inspiring sight for the people of this little Welsh town to see aeroplanes taking off regularly from their local park to destinations around the country.  The optimism of the idea is almost palpable and who knows where it would have led had not the Second World War intervened?  But intervene it did and, along with advances in aircraft design, it signalled the death knell for many grass strip airports like Rock Park. 

source - B.B.C. News

Now thanks to the fine work of local history site History Points the people of Llandrindod Wells and visitors to Rock Park can learn about this fascinating aspect of the town's history when they take a trip there by scanning QR codes placed at the site of the airstrip, which will allow them to view this incredible footage of a pioneering airport that - if only for a short time during the Golden Age of aerial travel - put this little corner of Wales on the map.  Once again this is a welcome use of "smart" tech to help teach future generations about local history in a relevant, engaging way and is something I hope we continue to see more of.

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