Sky Heroes return to Kenley Airfield
RAF Kenley Airfield – the most intact fighter airfield from World War II - will be returned to its former glory for a free and spectacular ‘Sky Heroes’ event on Sunday 10 September (12.00-17.00), showcasing the site’s important Battle of Britain history and centenary as part of the Kenley Revival Project.
The Project, which is a partnership between the City of London Corporation, Kenley Airfield Friends Group, Historic England and made possible thanks to support from National Lottery players, aims to preserve and protect the heritage of the airfield, which played a unique and important role in defending Britain from the German Luftwaffe. As the UK’s most complete surviving Battle of Britain fighter airfield, it gives a direct and tangible link to the UK’s aviation past.
During the Second World War, RAF Kenley was one of the three main fighter stations (Kenley, Croydon and Biggin Hill) responsible for the air defence of London. During the Battle of Britain, these three RAF stations became prominent because of their role in defending London against Nazi German fighter planes.
Sky Heroes is free to attend and will bring Kenley’s Battle of Britain history to life with guided tours, museum and archaeology stands and pilot re-enactors including replica Spitfire and Hurricane fighter planes where visitors can sit in the cockpit and have their photo taken.
For those who want to connect with science and nature or become the next Howard Carter, the world-famous British archaeologist, there will be fun activities around the archaeology of the area. And for Winston Churchill fans, it’s an opportunity to explore the airfield where he learnt to fly.
The day also includes fascinating Battle of Britain memorabilia housed in the historic Portcullis Club, the meeting place for the Kenley & Caterham branch of the Royal Air Forces Association.
There will be two land trains operating a hop on and hop off service around the airfield to help explore the site.
Limited free grass parking is available on site and a free shuttle bus service will be operating from nearby train stations.
Philip Woodhouse, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Commons Committee, said:
“We are re-connecting people with RAF Kenley’s important history and linking the generations to record the story of RAF Kenley so that the memories are preserved forever.
“This is going to be a spectacular event celebrating Kenley Airfield’s rich aviation heritage and undeniable contribution towards the victory for the British armed forces during World War II.”
Alan Morgan, Chairman of the Kenley Airfield Friends Group, said:
“Kenley is by far the most complete surviving Battle of Britain fighter station. Sky Heroes will commemorate and celebrate the vital role it played in winning the Battle of Britain and saving this island from invasion.
“With plenty of varied attractions and things to do – including the chance to sit in a Spitfire and a Hurricane - there’ll be lots for all the family to enjoy.”
Jane Sidell, Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Historic England said:
“Historic England is incredibly pleased to have been a part of this important project, conserving RAF Kenley Airfield for local people and visitors to enjoy. England is rich in history but it’s only recently that we've begun to fully appreciate the importance of these kinds of military sites in our national story.
“The site is a physical reminder of the dramatic and tragic events of the war years. By conserving the site, we help to commemorate the lives lost in the defence of the country.”
Stuart Hobley, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund London, said:
“As the best surviving example of a Second World War airfield, Kenley represents a fantastic link to the history of the Royal Air Force, and its vital role in protecting the UK during the war.
“We are delighted that National Lottery players are able to help support its preservation, and we look forward to marking the Centenary at this latest event”.
The City of London Corporation and its partners in the Kenley Revival Project have secured £880,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Together with money raised by Kenley Airfield Friends Group and others, the total funding amounts to over £1.1m.
The City of London Corporation manages the adjoining Kenley Common, and over 11,000 acres of green space in London and south east England. It aims to fulfil its historic role as the steward of the unique heritage of the Square Mile and beyond, recognising the importance of heritage to the UK’s national life and identity. Its green spaces, which include Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest are run at little or no cost to the communities that they serve. They are funded by over £29million a year from the City of London Corporation, together with donations, sponsorship, grants and income generated on site.
For more details about the Kenley Revival Project and to stay updated on future news and events, sign up to the newsletter at www.kenleyrevival.org.
Carl Locsin, Media Officer, City of London Corporation
T 020 7332 3654 / M 0738 862 229
Notes to editors
About the City of London Corporation
The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:
- We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, makes grants of around £20 million annually to tackle disadvantage across London.
- We also help look after key London heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, the Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important commons in London.
- We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies, all reflecting a long-term approach.
See www.cityoflondon.gov.uk for more details.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.