Conservation of Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome

Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome is considered unique as no other near-complete World War One aerodrome remains in England.

The aerodrome has the largest known surviving group of Royal Flying Corps buildings on a WW1 aerodrome anywhere in the country.

  • The individual building types are rare survivors; only two other RFC Officers' Messes are listed and there are no designated examples of some of the other building types which remain at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, including the Pilots' Ready Room, Airmen’s Mess, Reception Building and Squadron Headquarters.
  • The buildings at Stow Maries, like all wartime constructions, were functional, expected only to have a short life, and after 100 years there has therefore been some loss of historic fabric. However, unlike many other WW1 aerodrome buildings, the structures at Stow Maries were not adapted for later military purposes.
  • They display good craftsmanship in their constructions; e.g. the roof structures are complex in their arrangement and well-made. Individual buildings retain many original fixtures and fittings; the Airmen's Mess, Pilots' Ready Room and Squadron Offices/Museum are notable in this regard.

Conservation to date

Six buildings were fully conserved, and one partially conserved, between 2007 and 2011, with appropriate materials in accordance with their original construction and architectural detailing.

These are:

  • Ambulance Shed and Mortuary
  • Blacksmith's Shed
  • The Workshop and Dope Shop 
  • Airmen's Mess 
  • Squadron Offices (Squadron Museum)
  • Pilots' Ready Room (partially conserved)

The Workshop and Dope Shop have been conserved to comply with modern workshop environment conditions, but behind the modern internal wall finish is the original fabric untouched.

Buildings requiring or undergoing conservation

These include:

  • Office and Communications Room 
  • Motor Transport Shed 
  • Royal Engineers' Workshop 
  • Generator Hut 
  • Reception/Headquarters Building 

Fourteen buildings are considered derelict and require significant structural repairs and reinstatement, as follows:

  • Officers’ Mess 
  • Officers’ Quarters (four buildings)
  • Men’s Accommodation Block 
  • NCO Accommodation 
  • WRAF Accommodation (three buildings)
  • Water Tower and Reservoir (two buildings)
  • Fuel Store
  • Ammunition Store