It’s all a bit murky out there today. The Aerodrome is clothed in a damp mist, and the volunteers working all over the site are wrapped up warm in scarves and hats. Autumn has struck, with a vengeance. The winter opening hours are upon us – (Friday, Saturday and Sunday only) and we are making the best of the rest of the week, beavering away on a huge list of projects. So. What are we up to?
The Curatorial Team (C-Flight) are working very hard on the Ideal Interpretations project. Funded by The Swire Foundation, the Middlewick Wind Farm Community Fund and the David Family Foundation, this project will see a number of our exhibitions and objects refreshed and re-interpreted to allow access to them for a wider audience. There are some pretty neat technical additions too. We’re hoping to remove some of those obstacles that some of our audience has to get past to engage with our museum. This new exhibitions will be launching next year. We’re very excited! Not least because we are also working with a major organisation on another exhibition, too. Can’t say too much…but stay tuned!
I was very happy to be invited to appear on the Aviators Lounge TV show, earlier this month. Check out Aviators Lounge. Try not to laugh too much! It was great fun, and I am looking forward to working with them again in early December.
Remembrance Day at Stow Maries is always an emotional experience. Tickets – free, but required -went quickly and I know some couldn’t get in. Please obtain early next year! The Weather was kind, and a very emotional parade in the presence HM Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, Mr John Griffiths-Jones and a number of other dignitaries culminated in a March-past and airborne poppy drop by our friends in the Tiger Club, flying a trio of historic Stampes. Truly poignant.
Our Historical Hammerings Courses – an introduction to blacksmithing – have been very successful. We are hoping to run them again in the New year. I know there are a number of you that missed out as they sold out pretty quickly. If you would like to go on the waiting list for 2020 (we’re looking at February/March) please drop us a line. Make sure your e-mail has a subject of ‘Historical Hammerings’.
On the subject of events – there are LOADS in the calendar to think about. Please look at Event Bookings. Our brilliant Escape Room is up and running. Very successful already, it’s the latest thing for all you puzzle-fans. Sto-KERS is back up and running. The perfect family workshop, it’s a great way to spend some quality family time at the weekend, making some great memories! Fancy getting clicky? Have a look at our Photography hide sessions. Our feathered friends are out in force, and you never know what you might get a sight of. We have a huge range of rare birds on the Aerodrome, and the hide is hidden away in a very secluded Conservation area. Well worth a go. We also have the festive season coming up. We’ve got a big Christmas Dinner taking place in the Mess – all the trimmings and some great fun to be had. Have a look at that. If you don’t fancy something so big – what about our Festive High Teas? Priced very economically, they are a perfect way to break up the Christmas shopping. OF course, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the Naughty Elves. We have a great weekend planned for their time at Stow. Can you find the pieces of the jigsaw? Ask the little ones – they’ll explain all about it!
As you can see – its all go. We can’t do this without you though. Can you help? YES!!! You can visit! You can use the café and shop (no admission charge!), you can bring your family on a regular day or to an event or you can volunteer!! There are plenty of gifts in the shop to buy for your loved ones – what about a Propeller club membership?!?!?! A great gift!!!
Anyway. I have to crack ON. Thanks for reading. Talk soon, everyone.
Life at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome traditionally moves like the clouds that our aircraft fly in – some times it's thick with activity, hectic and busy. Other times, it can be quieter, more reflective, clear of distraction. As we ease ourselves into the Winter Opening Times on Monday 28th October (Friday, Saturday & Sundays), we might expect there to be one of those gentle times coming up. As the Autumnal winds and cascading golden leaves envelope our newly opened Office Building (renovated with funding from RCCE and the hard work of our stalwart volunteers Volunteering we should be able to take a breath.
No such luck!
It's as busy as ever!
Firstly – Blacksmiths. Our wonderful Blacksmith, Peter Trick, is working with us to deliver some brilliant experiences at our Historic Hammerings courses across November - Events . It’s a pretty emotional thing for us here, to see the Forge working, crafting the material and using the skills that were so common in that very building, back in the day. If you hurry, there are still places left, but understandably the take-up for the offer has been rather high!
Next up – Retail. I’ve been working with Terry, Jane and Lynn on revamping our shop. The Shop is such an important part of our visitor experience. The first face most visitors see will be in there, welcoming, orientating, explaining. It's where you can pick up a bargain, a nostalgic treat or an informative book. We have book signings, regularly, you know! You don’t even need to pay admission to use it – or the Mess Café. Anyway, we’re revamping it. New décor, input from the Curatorial team, E-flight (got them building fittings!) and its going to be brilliant. We need enthusiastic volunteers to help and staff it though. Can you help? They’re a great bunch, and it's good fun! Get in touch if you fancy it. Full training supplied! Email
I met this week, with some of the Wildlife flight of our Curatorial team. Our site is home to a dizzying array of wildlife – flora and fauna that is both rare and beautiful. As some of you know, it's somewhat of a haven for Owls, kestrels and other Raptors. But aside from the big ones, we have a myriad of other smaller species, from the Nuthatch to the warblers. A Naturalists dream, and a photographers paradise. Well, the guys and girls have been doing all manner of research and preparations and we’re looking to launch something in the near future. As always, we need your help to do it. Fancy working with the team? Leading walks and tours? Setting up and working in Hides? Maybe helping with the environmental conservation? We can’t go much further without some more bodies to help!
Some other big news. We’re very excited to say we are putting the final touches to our very own…ESCAPE ROOM!!! Yes, the popular puzzle experience is coming to Stow. Were you a fan of Crystal Maze? Do you enjoy crosswords, puzzles, brain-teasers? Well, watch this space. You won’t get this one anywhere else. Its bespoke for us, and it's going to be AMAZING!!
When you consider all of the above, then add on preparing for Christmas Events, planning new visiting exhibitions (A quick hint…Bonjour, mes amis!!??), working on finalising the new Sto-KERS offering, raising funding for our Educational partners…..it's safe to say that the ‘quiet time’ is anything but!!!
If you can help with any of the things I have mentioned – please get in touch. Without our community, our supporters, our volunteers….the skies become very cloudy, very quickly.
Our CEO reflects on a busy time, with some very special visitors....
“As always, this time of year at Stow Maries is very busy indeed – in front of the curtain and behind it! We have had some great successes, so all the hard work is proving worth it. Where to start?
I have to begin with the wonderful news that you may have seen already – we have been awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Volunteering (Queens Award). This is, essentially, the ‘MBE’ for Volunteer organisations. We had a very proud visit to Buckingham Palace, and later in the year will receive a presentation at the Aerodrome from the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Mrs Jenny Tolhurst. We’ll get a certificate and a trophy. We’re so proud! Big thanks to everyone that has put so much hard work in to the site and its activities.
Next up? We had the most successful event at Stow Maries EVER on 19th May. The weather held, so our venerable aircraft could fly, as well as lots of guests who brought their own. The BBQ was delicious, the bar ran dry and the exhibitions were teaming with life. We had over 100 classic cars and motorcycles on site and it was brilliant! I can’t thank everyone that came personally – but I hope the visitors, exhibitors, volunteers and staff all realise how grateful I am for their hard work.
Coming up we have Armed Forces Day, the soaring sounds of Stow Proms, then the mighty Stow Maries at War. Have a look at Events and get your tickets soonest. Remember – Wings and Wheels sold out in just over 6 weeks!!!!
In other news, we are galloping towards becoming an accredited museum, and that’s a whole lot of work being done by our curatorial team – led by Steve (Curator), Doug (Asst Curator) Brad (Accreditation Lead), Trevor (Research) and JT (Objects and Collections). Thanks guys! We couldn’t do it without you!
We’re also talking to the RAF Museum. Watch this space for interesting developments.
One thing we do need, though, is MORE VOLUNTEERS! We are desperate for help in the Mess, particularly. Can you help? Check out Volunteering
Right – I need to crack on. Talk soon! “
Its been a Manic Spring, with so much on the go we have barely had time to catch our breath!
Now, 101 years after the formation of the RAF, we are about to embark on Summer opening, and a hugely important year for Stow Maries.
We have had some great successes in the last 12 months – grants, reviews and profile raising visits. Now, we need to drive forward.
On the site itself we are about to bring another of the buildings back into use – the previous Non-Commissioned Officers accommodation will find a new lease of life thanks to a brilliant grant from the European LEADER fund, and a HUGE amount of work from our volunteers.
Our shop and Mess have been redecorated, and the event season is already bursting with pre-bookings. Our membership scheme – The Propeller Club – will be on the website soon but is already available on-site, and proving very successful.
The exhibitions are back in full swing, and we are pushing hard for our museum accreditation application.
Did you know you can use the Mess and Shop without paying admission fee? Pop into the Shop and see us, grab a wristband and you’re away – Cakes are great, and the sandwiches will fill many a hungry Tum. Come and see us soon....
Ian Flint - Chief Executive
As usual, it’s a really busy time at Stow Maries. One would think that we would be quiet, as we don’t open to the public until 15th February – but actually, its quite the opposite! We are working on so many things!
Our Mess and Shop have both been redecorated, the floors polished (by hand, in some cases!) and thoroughly cleaned. We’ve done some essential DIY in the Mess kitchens, and completely moved the shop around. Our retail team has found some great new suppliers, and even stocked some volunteer-made creations – wooden tool-trays based on the Great War era!
The Air Ops team has been digging deep to fill the display cards for our two major flying events. Lots of great things to report there, and if the weather holds we’re going to see some amazing stuff!
What about the Curatorial team though? Well, we have a new Curator – Mr Steve Morley. He’s doing great work, and as he is fresh from running our team of very popular guides, he is ideally suited to take us forward. Steve is working on a raft of things, from our overall strategy to the planning for our Collections care. Poor chap hasn’t had a chance to take a breath. Alongside this, we’re growing closer and closer to getting Building 30 – the ex-Senior NCO’s accommodation building – back into use. Funded largely by the excellent LEADER program, administered by the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE), we’ll be moving in soon. When I say move in, for the first time, all of our management team – Curatorial, Finance, Events, Marketing, Volunteering – will be in one place. This will be a brilliant step and make life much easier for everyone.
The Events team, incidentally, have already launched a number of the events. Have a look at link for more information. What's On!
Anyway. Time is getting on – we open on Friday, and there is still lots to be done. If you want to help, contact us at Volunteers See you soon!
2019 is upon us! 2018 was a successful year.
We have made great steps to saving more buildings on the Aerodrome – the major driver of our project. We have successfully increased our volunteer numbers. We have won awards from major funding bodies and are working on more. We now have three permanent exhibitions, and we’re working on two more. The visitor numbers are shooting up, and our events are more popular than ever. Take a look at YouTube and it will give you a snap shot of what they are like. We have welcomed thousands of new visitors, as well as thousands of friends. How can we top that?!?!?
It s not going to be easy – but with your help we can! Have a look at Stow Marie's Website Fancy coming to an event? Keep an eye on there! If you would like to take part in an event, as a volunteer or as an exhibitor, please do get in touch! Contact Events as soon as you can!
In 2018 we were overjoyed that Maldon District Council agreed to increase the numbers of aircraft we can welcome to Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome. This is a brilliant step in securing the long term sustainability of the Aerodrome. If any pilots of single engine, fixed wing light aircraft would like to visit, please contact us! Check How to find us for information. I regret to confirm that we cannot welcome Twins, Microlights, Gyros or Rotary aircraft.
Our supporters are growing. With Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Essex Mrs Jenny Tolhurst, Dr Saul David and Dan Snow as Patrons, the word is going out: Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome is a place of importance that you need to know! We want to work with local businesses and authorities to make 2019 as successful as 2018! Can your business support us?
Anyway – I better get on. I’ll be updating this blog monthly from now on – so keep watching!!
It was wonderful to welcome The Duke of Gloucester to our World War 1 Aerodrome near Maldon last week. He was genuinely interested in the work of our fantastic volunteers – who toiled almost around the clock to get our new museum ready for His Royal Highness to open!
It’s Springtime at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, the birds are singing, our dedicated team of volunteers is in great spirits, and the site is looking shipshape after the hard graft of winter.
Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome CEO Ian Flint shares what he has been up to since joining the team three months ago.
Iain Standen, CEO of Bletchley Park, the home of military intelligence for over a century, kindly wrote this piece about Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome for his Historic Musings blog. One hundred years ago a new threat to the United Kingdom was forcing the Government to introduce new measures to defend the country.
From early 1915 German airships had been attacking and, whilst the casualties were very low compared to those that would be experienced in the ‘Blitz’ of the Second World War, this new form of warfare was causing alarm and fear amongst the population.
The team at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome are pleased to reveal our brand new website. We hope you enjoy the new look and feel! Keep checking back for regular updates on our conservation, news and events.
We worked with the multi-discipline team at Mosaic PR & Digital based in Colchester to design and develop the site designed to drive visitors firstly to the website, and then to the Aerodrome for special events and general visits
The day started cold and overcast, but the volunteers had made most of the preparations the day before
so the white hangar and RE Workshop were ready for the estimated 39 teams to...
It’s all a bit murky out there today. The Aerodrome is clothed in a damp mist, and the volunteers working all over the site are wrapped up warm in scarves and hats....