Croydon Airport
Overview
 
Croydon Airport was an airport in South London
South London
South London is the southern part of London, England, United Kingdom.According to the 2011 official Boundary Commission for England definition, South London includes the London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Southwark, Sutton and...

 which straddled the boundary between what are now the London borough
London borough
The administrative area of Greater London contains thirty-two London boroughs. Inner London comprises twelve of these boroughs plus the City of London. Outer London comprises the twenty remaining boroughs of Greater London.-Functions:...

s of Croydon
London Borough of Croydon
The London Borough of Croydon is a London borough in South London, England and is part of Outer London. It covers an area of and is the largest London borough by population. It is the southernmost borough of London. At its centre is the historic town of Croydon from which the borough takes its name...

 and Sutton
London Borough of Sutton
The London Borough of Sutton is a London borough in South London, England and forms part of Outer London. It covers an area of and is the 80th largest local authority in England by population. It is one of the southernmost boroughs of London...

. It was the main airport for London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 before it was replaced by Northolt Aerodrome
RAF Northolt
RAF Northolt is a Royal Air Force station situated in South Ruislip, east by northeast of Uxbridge in the London Borough of Hillingdon, West London. Approximately north of London Heathrow Airport, the station also handles a large number of private civil flights...

, London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

 and London Gatwick Airport
London Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport is located 3.1 miles north of the centre of Crawley, West Sussex, and south of Central London. Previously known as London Gatwick,In 2010, the name changed from London Gatwick Airport to Gatwick Airport...

. The terminal building and entrance lodge are Grade II listed buildings.
  • About May 1915: Beddington
    Beddington
    Beddington is a settlement between the London Boroughs of Sutton and Croydon. The BedZED low energy housing scheme is located here. In Beddington was a static inverter plant of HVDC Kingsnorth....

     Aerodrome opened, one of a number of small airfields around London, which had been created for protection against the Zeppelin
    Zeppelin
    A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship pioneered by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. It was based on designs he had outlined in 1874 and detailed in 1893. His plans were reviewed by committee in 1894 and patented in the United States on 14 March 1899...

     raids in World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

  • 1918: Waddon
    Waddon
    Waddon is a place in the London Borough of Croydon, to the south west of central Croydon on the borders of the London Borough of Sutton. Waddon has an older area with 19th century properties, some even older, close to central Croydon. Further south is a large estate of Council-owned homes and a...

     Aerodrome opened, a test-flight aerodrome adjoining National Aircraft Factory No 1.
    • These two airfields were one on each side of Plough Lane (the lane running north from Russell Hill near Purley
      Purley, London
      Purley is a place in the London Borough of Croydon, England. It is a suburban development situated 11.7 miles south of Charing Cross.The name derives from "pirlea", which means 'Peartree lea'. Purley has a population of about 72,000....

      , in the accompanying old map).
  • End of World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

    : These two airfields were combined into London's official airport as Croydon Aerodrome as the gateway for all international flights to and from the capital.
Encyclopedia
Croydon Airport was an airport in South London
South London
South London is the southern part of London, England, United Kingdom.According to the 2011 official Boundary Commission for England definition, South London includes the London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Southwark, Sutton and...

 which straddled the boundary between what are now the London borough
London borough
The administrative area of Greater London contains thirty-two London boroughs. Inner London comprises twelve of these boroughs plus the City of London. Outer London comprises the twenty remaining boroughs of Greater London.-Functions:...

s of Croydon
London Borough of Croydon
The London Borough of Croydon is a London borough in South London, England and is part of Outer London. It covers an area of and is the largest London borough by population. It is the southernmost borough of London. At its centre is the historic town of Croydon from which the borough takes its name...

 and Sutton
London Borough of Sutton
The London Borough of Sutton is a London borough in South London, England and forms part of Outer London. It covers an area of and is the 80th largest local authority in England by population. It is one of the southernmost boroughs of London...

. It was the main airport for London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 before it was replaced by Northolt Aerodrome
RAF Northolt
RAF Northolt is a Royal Air Force station situated in South Ruislip, east by northeast of Uxbridge in the London Borough of Hillingdon, West London. Approximately north of London Heathrow Airport, the station also handles a large number of private civil flights...

, London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

 and London Gatwick Airport
London Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport is located 3.1 miles north of the centre of Crawley, West Sussex, and south of Central London. Previously known as London Gatwick,In 2010, the name changed from London Gatwick Airport to Gatwick Airport...

. The terminal building and entrance lodge are Grade II listed buildings.

History

  • About May 1915: Beddington
    Beddington
    Beddington is a settlement between the London Boroughs of Sutton and Croydon. The BedZED low energy housing scheme is located here. In Beddington was a static inverter plant of HVDC Kingsnorth....

     Aerodrome opened, one of a number of small airfields around London, which had been created for protection against the Zeppelin
    Zeppelin
    A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship pioneered by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. It was based on designs he had outlined in 1874 and detailed in 1893. His plans were reviewed by committee in 1894 and patented in the United States on 14 March 1899...

     raids in World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

  • 1918: Waddon
    Waddon
    Waddon is a place in the London Borough of Croydon, to the south west of central Croydon on the borders of the London Borough of Sutton. Waddon has an older area with 19th century properties, some even older, close to central Croydon. Further south is a large estate of Council-owned homes and a...

     Aerodrome opened, a test-flight aerodrome adjoining National Aircraft Factory No 1.
    • These two airfields were one on each side of Plough Lane (the lane running north from Russell Hill near Purley
      Purley, London
      Purley is a place in the London Borough of Croydon, England. It is a suburban development situated 11.7 miles south of Charing Cross.The name derives from "pirlea", which means 'Peartree lea'. Purley has a population of about 72,000....

      , in the accompanying old map).
  • End of World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

    : These two airfields were combined into London's official airport as Croydon Aerodrome as the gateway for all international flights to and from the capital. Plough Lane remained a public road across it, and road traffic on it was halted when necessary, at first by a man with a red flag, and later by a gate.
  • 29 March 1920: Croydon Aerodrome opened. Penshurst Airfield
    Penshurst Airfield
    Penshurst Airfield was an airfield in operation between 1916–36 and 1940–46. Initially a military airfield, after the First World War it was used as an alternate destination to Croydon Airport, with some civil flying taking place...

     was an alternative destination for airliners when Croydon was closed due to fog. One such diversion was on 24 September 1921, when a de Havilland DH.18 aircraft diverted to Penshurst. This situation lasted until Penshurst closed on 28 July 1936. It stimulated a growth in regular scheduled flights carrying passengers, mail and freight, the first destinations being Paris, Amsterdam
    Amsterdam
    Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

     and Rotterdam
    Rotterdam
    Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

    . Two flights daily from Paris were scheduled for ease of communication with London during the Paris Peace Conference
    Paris Peace Conference
    Paris Peace Conference may refer to:* Paris Peace Conference, 1919, negotiated the treaties ending World War I* Paris Peace Conference, 1946 July 29 to October 15, 1946See also...

  • 1921: Croydon was the first airport in the world to introduce air traffic control
    Air traffic control
    Air traffic control is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. The primary purpose of ATC systems worldwide is to separate aircraft to prevent collisions, to organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and to provide information and other...

    .
  • 1923: Tempelhof International Airport
    Tempelhof International Airport
    Berlin Tempelhof Airport was an airport in Berlin, Germany, situated in the south-central borough of Tempelhof-Schöneberg. The airport ceased operating in 2008 in the process of establishing Schönefeld as the sole commercial airport for Berlin....

     (Berlin) flights were added. It was the operating base for Imperial Airways
    Imperial Airways
    Imperial Airways was the early British commercial long range air transport company, operating from 1924 to 1939 and serving parts of Europe but especially the Empire routes to South Africa, India and the Far East...

    , remembered in the road name Imperial Way on the site today.
  • December 1924: 1924 Imperial Airways de Havilland DH.34 crash
    1924 Imperial Airways de Havilland DH.34 crash
    The 1924 Imperial Airways de Havilland DH.34 crash occurred on 24 December 1924 when de Havilland DH.34 G-EBBX of Imperial Airways crashed at Purley, Surrey, United Kingdom killing all eight people on board. The aircraft was operating a scheduled international flight from Croydon, Surrey, to Paris,...

    . In the subsequent public inquiry
    Public inquiry
    A Tribunal of Inquiry is an official review of events or actions ordered by a government body in Common Law countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland or Canada. Such a public inquiry differs from a Royal Commission in that a public inquiry accepts evidence and conducts its hearings in a more...

     into the accident conditions at Croydon were criticized.
  • 1920s: Resulting expansion. In this expansion Plough Lane was closed permanently to let heavier airliners land and depart safely. A new complex of buildings was built adjoining Purley Way
    Purley Way
    Purley Way is a section of the A23 trunk road in the London Borough of Croydon, in the areas of Purley, Waddon and West Croydon, and has given its name to the out-of-town shopping area alongside it with a catchment area covering most of South London. It was designed as a bypass for Croydon and was...

    , including the first purpose-designed air terminal in the UK, the Aerodrome Hotel and extensive hangar
    Hangar
    A hangar is a closed structure to hold aircraft or spacecraft in protective storage. Most hangars are built of metal, but other materials such as wood and concrete are also sometimes used...

    s, at a cost of £267,000 (£ in today's prices).
  • 20 January 1928: First day of operation using the new buildings and layout.
  • 2 May 1928: Official opening of the new buildings and layout.
  • Morning of 11 July 1936: Major Hugh Pollard
    Hugh Pollard (Major)
    Major Hugh Bertie Campbell Pollard was an author, firearms expert, and a British SOE officer. He is chiefly known for his intelligence work during the Irish War of Independence and for the events of July 1936, when he and his SOE colleague Cecil Bebb flew General Francisco Franco from the Canary...

    , and fellow Special Operations Executive
    Special Operations Executive
    The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

     officer Cecil Bebb
    Cecil Bebb
    Captain Cecil Bebb was a British MI6 officer and freelance pilot who flew General Francisco Franco from the Canary Islands to Spanish Morocco in 1936, a journey which was to trigger the onset of the Spanish Civil War.-Events of July 1936:...

     left Croydon Airport for the Canary Islands
    Canary Islands
    The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

     in a de Havilland Dragon Rapide
    De Havilland Dragon Rapide
    The de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide was a British short-haul passenger airliner of the 1930s.-Design and development:Designed by the de Havilland company in late 1933 as a faster and more comfortable successor to the DH.84 Dragon, it was in effect a twin-engined, scaled-down version of the...

     aircraft, where they picked up General Francisco Franco, taking him to Spanish
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

     Morocco
    Morocco
    Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

     and thereby helping to trigger the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War
    Spanish Civil War
    The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

    .
    • The major aircraft used by Imperial Airways
      Imperial Airways
      Imperial Airways was the early British commercial long range air transport company, operating from 1924 to 1939 and serving parts of Europe but especially the Empire routes to South Africa, India and the Far East...

       were the Handley Page HP42/HP45
      Handley Page H.P.42
      The Handley Page H.P.42 and H.P.45 were British four-engine long-range biplane airliners designed to a 1928 Imperial Airways specification by Handley Page of Radlett in Hertfordshire....

       four-engined biplanes. The first monoplane airliners used by Imperial Airways were the Armstrong Whitworth Atlantas, intended for use on the African routes.
  • March 1937: British Airways Ltd operated from Croydon.
  • May 1938: British Airways Ltd moved to Heston Aerodrome
    Heston Aerodrome
    Heston Aerodrome was a 1930s airfield located to the west of London, UK, operational between 1929 and 1947. It was situated on the border of the Heston and Cranford areas of Hounslow, Middlesex...

    .
  • 1938: Larger four-engined monoplanes, Armstrong Whitworth Ensign
    Armstrong Whitworth Ensign
    |-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Bridgman, Leonard. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II. New York: Crescent Books, 1988. ISBN 0-517-67964-7.-External links:* *...

     series (G-ADSR) came into service.
  • September 1938: Correction of popular error: Prime Minister
    Prime minister
    A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

     Neville Chamberlain
    Neville Chamberlain
    Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

    , flew from Heston Aerodrome
    Heston Aerodrome
    Heston Aerodrome was a 1930s airfield located to the west of London, UK, operational between 1929 and 1947. It was situated on the border of the Heston and Cranford areas of Hounslow, Middlesex...

    and returned there (not Croydon), with his famous "piece of paper" at the time of the Munich crisis. He made his "Peace for our time" speech not at either aerodrome, but a short while later on his return to Downing Street
    Downing Street
    Downing Street in London, England has for over two hundred years housed the official residences of two of the most senior British cabinet ministers: the First Lord of the Treasury, an office now synonymous with that of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the Second Lord of the Treasury, an...

    .
  • November 1938: The Chamberlain
    Neville Chamberlain
    Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

     government decided that Imperial Airways
    Imperial Airways
    Imperial Airways was the early British commercial long range air transport company, operating from 1924 to 1939 and serving parts of Europe but especially the Empire routes to South Africa, India and the Far East...

    , which served Empire routes, should be merged with British Airways Ltd, which served European routes. The new company was known as British Overseas Airways Corporation
    British Overseas Airways Corporation
    The British Overseas Airways Corporation was the British state airline from 1939 until 1946 and the long-haul British state airline from 1946 to 1974. The company started life with a merger between Imperial Airways Ltd. and British Airways Ltd...

     (BOAC).
  • September 1939: World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

     was declared. Croydon Airport was closed to civil aviation. It played a vital role as a fighter station during the Battle of Britain
    Battle of Britain
    The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

     and was attacked in the first major raid over the London area. Factories in its immediate vicinity were almost destroyed with the loss of six airmen and over 60 civilians.
  • 1944: Croydon became the base of RAF Transport Command
    RAF Transport Command
    RAF Transport Command was a Royal Air Force command that controlled all transport aircraft of the RAF. It was established on 25 March 1943 by the renaming of the RAF Ferry Command, and was subsequently renamed RAF Air Support Command in 1967.-History:...

    , and in due course civil aircraft operations began again.

Postwar developments and final closure

  • After 1945: It was realized that with technical advances, post-war airliners would be larger and use of airports serving capital cities would intensify. Urban spread of south London, and surrounding villages growing into towns, had by now enclosed Croydon Airport and left it with no room for further expansion, and it would soon be too small to meet evident travel demands. Heathrow was therefore designated as London's airport.
  • February 1946: The airport returned to civilian control.
  • 11 April 1946: A diagram in this day's issue of Flight shows 1250 yards ground run in the 170-350 direction, 1150 yards 060-240 and 1100 yards 120-300. (The numbers are degrees clockwise rotation from north.)
  • 1952: It was decided to close Croydon Airport.
    • Blackbushe Airport
      Blackbushe Airport
      Blackbushe Airport , in the civil parish of Yateley in the north-east corner of the English county of Hampshire, comprises an airfield, much reduced in size since its heyday, a British Car Auctions site, a kart track owned by Camberley Kart Club, and a small business park...

       in Hampshire
      Hampshire
      Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

       and Northolt Aerodrome
      RAF Northolt
      RAF Northolt is a Royal Air Force station situated in South Ruislip, east by northeast of Uxbridge in the London Borough of Hillingdon, West London. Approximately north of London Heathrow Airport, the station also handles a large number of private civil flights...

       in Middlesex
      Middlesex
      Middlesex is one of the historic counties of England and the second smallest by area. The low-lying county contained the wealthy and politically independent City of London on its southern boundary and was dominated by it from a very early time...

       also served airlines operating European scheduled flights during the 1950s.
  • 30 September 1959 at 6.15pm: Croydon's last scheduled flight departed. The last aeroplane to leave the aerodrome was a private flight which took off at 7.45pm on that date. The airfield officially closed at 10.30pm that evening.
  • Sunday 27 September 2009: To mark the 50th anniversary of the closing of the airport, an 11-plane flypast (including 8 biplanes) took place (although it had initially been announced that there would be 12 aeroplanes flying). The aeroplanes involved were from the Tiger Club
    Tiger Club
    The Tiger Club is a flying club formed in 1956 at Croydon Airport, England to race DH82a de Havilland Tiger Moths. The founder was Norman Jones who ran the Club until he handed it over to his son Michael Jones...

     (and other locations) and were 5 Stampe
    Stampe
    Stampe et Vertongen was a Belgian aircraft manufacturer formed in 1922 and based at Antwerp. The company specialised in design and construction of primary trainers/tourers and advanced trainers...

     biplanes, 3 de Havilland Tiger Moth
    De Havilland Tiger Moth
    The de Havilland DH 82 Tiger Moth is a 1930s biplane designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and was operated by the Royal Air Force and others as a primary trainer. The Tiger Moth remained in service with the RAF until replaced by the de Havilland Chipmunk in 1952, when many of the surplus aircraft...

     biplanes, a Jodel
    Jodel
    Société Avions Jodel is a French aircraft company started in 1946 by Édouard Joly and his son-in-law Jean Délémontez. Jodel designed a range of light aeroplanes shortly after the Second World War. The popular myth is that the two, with no formal aerodynamics training, set about designing a...

     S150, and two Druine D.31 Turbulent
    Druine Turbulent
    -Bibliography:* A.J.Jackson, British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 2, Putnam & Company, London, 1974, ISBN 370 10010 7-External links:*...

     aircraft. A gold laurel leaf tribute was laid in the control tower
    Control tower
    A control tower, or more specifically an Air Traffic Control Tower , is the name of the airport building from which the air traffic control unit controls the movement of aircraft on and around the airport. Control towers are also used to control the traffic for other forms of transportation such...

     to mark the anniversary.

The area now

Much of the site has been built over, but some of the terminal buildings near Purley Way
Purley Way
Purley Way is a section of the A23 trunk road in the London Borough of Croydon, in the areas of Purley, Waddon and West Croydon, and has given its name to the out-of-town shopping area alongside it with a catchment area covering most of South London. It was designed as a bypass for Croydon and was...

 (the A23
A23 road
The A23 road is a major road in the United Kingdom between London and Brighton, East Sussex. It became an arterial route following the construction of Westminster Bridge in 1750 and the consequent improvement of roads leading to the bridge south of the river by the Turnpike Trusts...

) are still visible, clearly identifiable as to their former purpose. The former terminal building is called Airport House, and the former control tower
Control tower
A control tower, or more specifically an Air Traffic Control Tower , is the name of the airport building from which the air traffic control unit controls the movement of aircraft on and around the airport. Control towers are also used to control the traffic for other forms of transportation such...

 houses a visitor's centre.

A De Havilland Heron
De Havilland Heron
The de Havilland DH.114 Heron was a small, propeller-driven British airliner that first flew on 10 May 1950. It was a development of the twin-engine de Havilland Dove, with a stretched fuselage and two more engines. It was designed as a rugged, conventional low-wing monoplane with tricycle...

 (a small propeller-driven British airliner of the 1950s), is displayed outside Airport House on struts flanking the entry path (as of November 2009). The Heron is painted as G-AOXL of Morton Air Services
Morton Air Services
Morton Air Services was one of the earliest post-World War II private, independentindependent from government-owned corporations British airlines formed in 1945. It mainly operated regional short-haul scheduled services within the British Isles and between the United Kingdom and Continental Europe....

, which was the aircraft that flew the last passenger flight from Croydon on 30 September 1959. A Tiger Moth
Tiger moth
Tiger moths are moths of the family Arctiidae.Tiger moth may also refer to:*de Havilland Tiger Moth, an aircraft; an aerobatic and trainer tailwheel biplane*de Havilland DH.71 Tiger Moth, an earlier monoplane produced by de Havilland...

 in RAF training scheme livery is suspended within the preserved booking hall, which functions as a dining room when required. A memorial to those lost in the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

 stands slightly to the south.

Although Croydon has long ceased operation, the two cut ends of Plough Lane have never been reunited, but the area between has been developed instead into parkland, playing fields, and the Roundshaw residential estate
Roundshaw
Roundshaw is a housing estate and park in south Wallington on the eastern edge of the London Borough of Sutton. Grid Ref . It was built on part of the site of the former Croydon Airport, and occupying roughly the area on which once stood the buildings of the first Croydon Aerodrome which was...

 with its roads aptly named after aviator
Aviator
An aviator is a person who flies an aircraft. The first recorded use of the term was in 1887, as a variation of 'aviation', from the Latin avis , coined in 1863 by G. de la Landelle in Aviation Ou Navigation Aérienne...

s and aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

. All that remains of the runways is a small area of tarmac (in Roundshaw Park just west of Purley Way), which can be viewed using Google Maps, and the area is used primarily by walkers, model aircraft enthusiasts, and locals playing football. The church on the Roundshaw estate has a cross on its outside wall that was made from the cut down propeller of a Spitfire based at Croydon during World War II.

The area is still known as Croydon Airport for transport purposes and was the location for Croydon Water Palace
Croydon Water Palace
The Croydon Water Palace was an indoor water park complex that opened in 1990 on Purley Way in Waddon in the London Borough of Croydon, opposite Croydon Airport...

.

In recognition of the historical significance of the aerodrome, two local schools (Waddon Infants School and Duppas Junior School) have merged and became The Aerodrome School from September 2010.

In at least one recently-made movie, fictional events set at Croydon Airport were filmed near Manchester at Barton Airport, whose distinctive control tower will show.

The buildings

The Aerodrome Hotel and the terminal building including its grand booking hall were built in the neo-classical geometrical design typical of the early 20th Century. A further item that would have caught the eye of visitor and traveller alike was the time zone
Time zone
A time zone is a region on Earth that has a uniform standard time for legal, commercial, and social purposes. In order for the same clock time to always correspond to the same portion of the day as the Earth rotates , different places on the Earth need to have different clock times...

 tower (now sadly lost) in the booking hall with its dials depicting the times in different parts of the world. Croydon Airport's Aerodrome Hotel is part of Croydon Vision 2020
Croydon Vision 2020
Croydon Vision 2020 is a regeneration programme by the London Borough of Croydon for the centre of Croydon in South London. The original study was carried out in 1999 by EDAW and is being taken forward through the Local Development Framework process...

 regeneration plan.

The Airport Hotel survives as the Forte Posthouse.

Aviators, pioneers and aircraft

The aerodrome was known the world over, its fame being spread by the many aviators and pioneers who touched down at Croydon, such as:
  • Alan Cobham
    Alan Cobham
    Sir Alan John Cobham, KBE, AFC was an English aviation pioneer.A member of the Royal Flying Corps in World War I, Alan Cobham became famous as a pioneer of long distance aviation. After the war he became a test pilot for the de Havilland aircraft company, and was the first pilot for the newly...

    , who flew from Croydon to Cape Town
    Cape Town
    Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

     and back in 1925-6;
  • Charles Lindbergh
    Charles Lindbergh
    Charles Augustus Lindbergh was an American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist.Lindbergh, a 25-year-old U.S...

    , who flew into Croydon in 1927 shortly after completing the first solo trans-Atlantic flight;
  • Bert Hinkler
    Bert Hinkler
    Herbert John Louis Hinkler AFC DSM , better known as Bert Hinkler, was a pioneer Australian aviator and inventor. He designed and built early aircraft before being the first person to fly solo from England to Australia, and the first person to fly solo across the Southern Atlantic Ocean...

    , who made the first flight from Croydon to Darwin
    Darwin, Northern Territory
    Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia. Situated on the Timor Sea, Darwin has a population of 127,500, making it by far the largest and most populated city in the sparsely populated Northern Territory, but the least populous of all Australia's capital cities...

    , Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     in 1928;
  • Charles Kingsford Smith
    Charles Kingsford Smith
    Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith MC, AFC , often called by his nickname Smithy, was an early Australian aviator. In 1928, he earned global fame when he made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia...

    , who beat Hinkler's record;
  • Amy Johnson
    Amy Johnson
    Amy Johnson CBE, was a pioneering English aviator. Flying solo or with her husband, Jim Mollison, Johnson set numerous long-distance records during the 1930s...

    , the first woman to fly from Croydon to Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

    , later to return to Croydon to a jubilant welcome.
  • Winston Churchill
    Winston Churchill
    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

    , who took extensive flying lessons at Croydon and was nearly killed during a crash at take-off in 1919.
  • Tom Campbell Black
    Tom Campbell Black
    Tom Campbell Black, was a famous English aviator.He was the son of Alice Jean McCullough and Hugh Milner Black. He became a world famous aviator when he and C. W. A...

    , who with C. W. A. Scott won the MacRobertson London to Melbourne Air Race http://www.tomcampbellblack.150m.com in 1934;
  • Juan de la Cierva
    Juan de la Cierva
    Juan de la Cierva y Codorníu, 1st Count of De La Cierva was a Spanish civil engineer, pilot and aeronuatical engineer. His most famous accomplishment was the invention in 1920 of the Autogiro, a single-rotor type of aircraft that came to be called autogyro in the English language...

    , the Spanish inventor of the autogyro
    Autogyro
    An autogyro , also known as gyroplane, gyrocopter, or rotaplane, is a type of rotorcraft which uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and an engine-powered propeller, similar to that of a fixed-wing aircraft, to provide thrust...

    , who died in an aviation accident on 9 December 1936.

Accidents and incidents

  • On 15 March 1923, Farman F.60 Goliath
    Farman F.60 Goliath
    The Farman F.60 Goliath was an airliner produced by the Farman Aviation Works from 1919. It was instrumental in the creation of early airlines and commercial routes in Europe after World War I.-Design and development:...

     F-AEIE of Compagnie des Messageries Aériennes
    Compagnie des Messageries Aériennes
    Compagnie des Messageries Aériennes was a pioneering French airline which was in operation form 1919 - 23, when it was merged with Grands Express Aériens to form Air Union.-History:...

     overran the runway on landing and collided with a building. The aircraft was later repaired and returned to service.
  • On 22 January 1924, Goliath F-GEAO of Air Union
    Air Union
    Air Union was a French airline established 1 January 1923 as the result of a merger between the airlines Compagnie des Messageries Aériennes and Compagnie des Grands Express Aériens...

     was destroyed by fire following an accident when landing.
  • On 24 December 1924 (1924 Imperial Airways de Havilland DH.34 crash
    1924 Imperial Airways de Havilland DH.34 crash
    The 1924 Imperial Airways de Havilland DH.34 crash occurred on 24 December 1924 when de Havilland DH.34 G-EBBX of Imperial Airways crashed at Purley, Surrey, United Kingdom killing all eight people on board. The aircraft was operating a scheduled international flight from Croydon, Surrey, to Paris,...

    ), Imperial Airways
    Imperial Airways
    Imperial Airways was the early British commercial long range air transport company, operating from 1924 to 1939 and serving parts of Europe but especially the Empire routes to South Africa, India and the Far East...

     de Havilland DH.34 G-EBBX crashed and caught fire shortly after take-off from Croydon, killing the pilot and all seven passengers.
  • On 19 May 1934, a Wibault 280
    Wibault 280
    -External links:* photo bottom of pg.866, first two photos pg. 867...

     of Air France
    Air France
    Air France , stylised as AIRFRANCE, is the French flag carrier headquartered in Tremblay-en-France, , and is one of the world's largest airlines. It is a subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group and a founding member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance...

     crash-landed on a cricket pitch
    Cricket pitch
    In the game of cricket, the cricket pitch consists of the central strip of the cricket field between the wickets - 1 chain or 22 yards long and 10 feet wide. The surface is very flat and normally covered with extremely short grass though this grass is soon removed by wear at the ends of the...

     adjacent to Croydon Airport due to running out of fuel. Only one of the ten people on board was injured.
  • On 31 May 1934 an Air France aircraft carrying newspapers to Paris crashed after hitting the mast of an aircraft radio navigation beacon that had been erected off the end of the white-line takeoff path, killing the two crew.
  • On 9 December 1936 (1936 KLM Croydon accident
    1936 KLM Croydon accident
    The 1936 KLM Croydon accident was the crash of a KLM airliner on 9 December 1936, shortly after taking off from the Croydon Air Port on a scheduled flight to Amsterdam, Netherlands...

    ), A KLM Douglas DC-2
    Douglas DC-2
    The Douglas DC-2 was a 14-seat, twin-engine airliner produced by the American company Douglas Aircraft Corporation starting in 1934. It competed with the Boeing 247...

     crashed on take off at Croydon Airport on a flight to Amsterdam
    Amsterdam
    Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

    . The accident killed 15 out of 17 on the DC-2
  • On 25 January 1947 (1947 Croydon Dakota accident
    1947 Croydon Dakota accident
    Bibliography-External links:* Flight 17 July 1947...

    ), a Spencer Airways Douglas Dakota failed to get airborne on a flight to Rhodesia
    Rhodesia
    Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

    . The aircraft struck another parked and empty aircraft, killing 11 passengers and the pilot.

External links

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