Digging for treasure at Kenley Airfield
The Kenley Revival Project’s Festival of Archaeology took place this weekend at Kenley Airfield (Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 July 2017).
Visitors learnt about the history of the site, took guided tours, and met trained archaeology volunteers whilst children played in a sandpit for young aspiring archaeologists.
The Kenley Revival Project aims to preserve and protect the heritage of the UK’s most intact fighter airfield from World War II. The airfield, which is owned by the Ministry of Defence, plays a unique and important role in Britain’s history. As the UK’s most complete surviving Battle of Britain fighter airfield, it gives a direct and tangible link to Britain’s aviation past. As an active airfield today, it builds on that heritage, whilst the surrounding environs provide us with a site of nature conservation and a protected public open space.
The Festival of Archaeology followed a week of excavation work carried out by 25 Revival Project volunteers who were looking for sites related to Kenley Airfield which had become overgrown or concealed.
Discoveries included a “dispersal hut”, where pilots would spend time before flying, and two hard standings which would have been used to fighter planes prior to a scramble.
The uncovering of the features and the attempt to find the associated parachute and cable system show the unique defensive architecture which characterised RAF Kenley during World War II. The features reveal the hive of activity on the airfield and the lives of those who lived and served at RAF Kenley.
Philip Woodhouse, Chairman of the City Commons Management Committee said:
“This festival was a real success with over 150 visitors taking guided tours. It really brought to life the history of the site and its connection to the local area.
“We want to connect the generations to record the story of RAF Kenley so that the memories are preserved forever and I hope many more people will continue to visit this centre of excellence.”
The event was supported by the City of London Corporation, Historic England, Kenley Airfield Friends Group and the nationwide Festival of Archaeology scheme held by the British Council of Archaeology. Volunteers were trained and supervised by Historic England and Museum of London Archaeology.
The City of London Corporation and 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 project is a partnership project between the City of London Corporation, Kenley Airfield Friends Group and Historic England.
The City of London Corporation aims to fulfil its historic role as the steward of the unique heritage of the Square Mile and beyond. We recognise the importance of heritage to our national life and identity. Our green spaces and sites around London and the south-east, most of which are charitable trusts, 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 information about the Kenley Revival Project and how to get involved, visit www.kenleyrevival.org
Susanna Lascelles, Media Officer, City of London Corporation
T 020 7332 1754
Notes to editors:
The Kenley Revival Project aims to preserve and protect the heritage of the most intact fighter airfield from World War II. The airfield, which is owned by the Ministry of Defence, plays a unique and important role in Britain’s history. As the UK’s most complete surviving Battle of Britain fighter airfield, it gives a direct and tangible link to our aviation past. As an active airfield today, it builds on that heritage, whilst the surrounding environs provide us with a site of nature conservation and a protected public open space.