Fighting for Air: The First World War Origins of Croydon Airport Exhibition

Croydon Airport Visitor Centre

Fighting for Air: The First World War Origins of Croydon Airport Exhibition

Event / Exhibition (temporary)
17/07/2018 - 12/08/2018

London Croydon Airport was once Britain's major and only international gateway airport. It played a significant part in early twentieth-century British history and shaping global air travel. The airport’s origins were in the need to defend Britain against air raids during the First World War. The air raids of 1915 – the first to strike Britain and hit civilians – were not remote news for the people of Croydon. On the night of 13th October 1915 the town suffered directly when a zeppelin attack killed nine people. The public outcry in reaction to the increasingly deadly air raids and the inadequate home defences caused the government to act. A ring of ten aerodromes was set up around London in order to attack the airships bombing London and South East England. Croydon Aerodrome, known locally as Beddington Aerodrome, was located in farmland a few miles from the town centre in January 1916. Within 2 years, this rudimentary airstrip had transformed into a base for the Royal Flying Corp (RFC) training squadron that met Gotha bombers – German planes took the place of airships in 1917. National Aircraft Factory No. 1 was also located nearby. The quiet fields would never be the same again. The exhibition highlights how areas within Croydon and Sutton were affected by the ‘war in the air’. The creation of the aerodrome left a lasting legacy in the local area with the location of new industries, such as electronics, and the establishment of London Croydon Airport.

Suitable for
Any age

6 Responses to “”

  1. Gordon Francis

    We are interested in coming to the somme film day on 02/07 2016 can we please be advise when tickets are available and the cost of these please.
    Ilook forward to hearing from you soon

    • Imogen Middleton

      Thank you for your interest in our screening of the Battle of the Somme film. The event will be free and registration for tickets will be available on the website soon – keep your eyes peeled!

    • Hello,

      Registration for the Battle of the Somme film screening in Wimbledon is now possible. Please visit the News page of the Carved in Stone website ( for the event details.
      If you would like to attend, please email the Carved in Stone team at: [email protected]

      Thank you Surrey in the Great War for promoting the event. We look forward to seeing you at the event!

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