‘Exemplary’ plans for Biggin Hill Memorial Museum approved
Published Friday, 21 July 2017
Plans for construction of the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum to take place later this year were approved by the Executive on Wednesday.
The news follows the granting of planning permission in April 2017 and a successful Heritage Lottery (HLF) award of £2m earlier this month, meaning that the £5.325m project can go-ahead. As well as including the construction and exhibition fit out costs, the funding also includes a £1.5m endowment fund to support the future management of the Museum. The council will continue to work in partnership with the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum Trust who is responsible for the future of the museum.
Councillor Stephen Carr, Leader of Bromley Council said, “We must help future generations remember and understand, not just the part Biggin Hill played in the Battle of Britain but also something of the wider context. The Biggin Hill Memorial Museum will be a place that can help to achieve this. It has been enormously important that not only is a museum finally built but also that the chapel remains as a place of worship alongside a confidence of the Museum’s future because of the endowment fund and business plan in place.”
Councillor Carr added, “I would like to thank the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum Trust for their diligence in bringing forward plans that have already been described as exemplary. Work with the wider community will continue – the recent exhibition day which gave an opportunity for comment about which building materials to use is an example of this. I look forward to seeing the museum opened next year and am optimistic about phase 2 being achieved shortly after this.”
Built in 1951 using funds raised from the nation, the Grade II listed St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance is a lasting memorial to the aircrew who gave their lives in aerial combat during the Second World War. The plans, which are supported by Historic England, include the removal of the side annex constructed in 1990, with the Museum providing a visual frame around the chapel.
The museum is envisaged to open in November 2018, 100 years after the end of the First World War. The Biggin Hill Memorial Museum will inspire future generations and the exhibitions will remember ‘The Few’ and honour the Many. The HLF approved plans create new opportunities for schools and community groups to access and engage directly with the heritage. New museum exhibitions, visitor and learning facilities on site will ensure that the heritage has a secure future. Volunteers will help to record, protect and reveal never-before-heard personal experiences of war which will be protected and revealed to audiences. Biggin Hill Memorial Museum will also join in RAF 100 celebrations next year, working with partners across a new London based network to recognise Biggin’s contribution to RAF history.
- In their unanimous award decision at the beginning of July, HLF’s London committee described the project work as ‘exemplary’.
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