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By Royal Appointment
  • Heathrow Airport


The original Fairey Aviation building standing on the Great Western Aerodrome.

The photgraph above shows the the agricultural land around the aerodrome where crops were grown for the London markets.

Heathrow airport started life in the 1930’s as the Great Western Aerodrome, privately owned by Fairey Aviation. It was largely used for test flying, with commercial flights taking off from nearby Heston and Hanworth airfields, whilst Croydon was considered the main airport for London.

In 1944, the Air Ministry requisitioned the airfield for use as a major transport base for the Royal Air Force. Before the work was completed the war ended and as London needed a larger modern airport, the airfield was handed over to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for development. It opened to civilian passengers in 1946.

A Gibbs supplied vehicle from 1960 designed for use at airports by aircraft maintenance staff.

The continuing expansion of Heathrow saw the loss of land once used for growing produce and at the same time, its close proximity caused problems for the remaining farmers. Whilst Gibbs benefited from supplying equipment to the airport, it lost many of its long-established customers due to the expansion.

Newspaper cutting about the cost of Heathrow Airport esxpansion to local farmers.

The problems to farmers caused by the expansion of flying at Heathrow are explained in this article.

John Gibbs


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