Leeds Bradford Airport today, (Wednesday 14 March, 2012), unveiled a special 80th anniversary exhibition at Leeds Central Library with a fascinating collection of photographs and previously unseen memorabilia charting the history of the airport through the ages.
The exhibition follows Leeds Bradford Airport’s journey from its humble beginnings in October 1931 at Yeadon Aerodrome to its development as Yorkshire’s Gateway Airport, connecting nearly 3 million leisure and business passengers in the region to the world.
Civic leaders joined community representatives to celebrate the achievements of the airport. Special guests included Walter Dixon from Leeds who originally served as a member of the 609 (West Riding) Squadron at the airport. Walter celebrated his 101st birthday this week
Ninety two year old Vera Marland from Otley also attended the event. Vera checked the Tiger Moth pilots ‘in and out’ and then worked in the Avro Factory during the WW2.
John Parkin, Chief Executive Leeds Bradford Airport, said: “Leeds Bradford Airport has a long and fascinating history and we are proud to celebrate our 80th anniversary with the launch of this special exhibition at Leeds Central Library. I am delighted that the local community, our passengers and staff have joined forces to showcase previously unseen photographs and a unique collection of memorabilia. The heritage of this airport, and the role it has played in the development of the region through the decades, is important and these exhibits provide a personal insight into how the aviation industry has progressed.”
He added: “Looking to the future, the terminal construction work which is scheduled for completion by the start of Summer 2012, marks an important milestone in the development of Yorkshire’s gateway airport and our desire to provide the very best facilities for our rapidly growing numbers of customers and airlines.”
Ken Cothliff, local aviation historian*, author and display coordinator said, will be touring with the memorabilia and his new book ‘Yeadon Above the Rest’: "A big thank you to all my the people who have allowed us to borrow their precious mementos for the exhibition. During the course of writing ‘Yeadon Above the Rest’ for the 80th anniversary I have been able to gather lots of information about the airport’s rich history and in doing so have met some fantastic members of the community and airport staff who have brought the story to life. It has been a true labour of love.”
Highlights of the exhibition
~ Fascinating footage and photography donated by passengers and ex-staff
~ A BKS uniform from Mrs June Moore, a member of the cabin crew in the 1960’s
~ An Arrow Active model made in the 1930s from the Aeroplane Collection at Hooton Park. Arrow Active flew from Leeds Bradford Airport in the 1930s.
~ Rare embroideries of 1934 -1945 airplanes by Dorothy Browning kindly loaned by from Bill Hudson of Guiseley. Dorothy was the first lady who learnt to fly from Leeds Bradford in the early 1930s.
~ Previously unpublished photos from both Leeds and Bradford City Archives. The Yorkshire Film Archive also loaned video footage from their files.
~ A propeller from the aircraft that made the first scheduled flight from Leeds to London in 1919, loaned by aviation company Multiflight.
The exhibition will be on display in the First Floor Exhibition Gallery at Leeds Central Library until 27th April 2012 and will go then go on tour to local libraries in Leeds before culminating in Bradford later this summer.
The event is sponsored by WYG and the airport’s private equity owners, Bridgepoint.
Tourism students from Leeds City College helped host the event on the day.