Culture Secretary opens our new museum at Stow Maries
Maldon MP and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale has officially opened our new museum. Volunteers and staff at the aerodrome, which was established in 1916 as the base of the Royal Flying Corps 37 (Home Defence) Squadron, have been working tirelessly to create the interactive museum as a tribute to the men and women who served at the site during the Great War.
Mr Whittingdale said:
When I first visited Stow Maries Aerodrome around eight years ago, all you could see were the fields and some buildings, many of which were falling down. It now looks very different.
“Stow Maries is a special place and it is a very fitting memorial for those who gave up their lives to defend the capital and Britain against attack. I’d like to thank everyone who has worked over the last year or so to create this fantastic museum.
“World War One commemorations will begin soon and it’s important that we also commemorate the war in the air and defence of the home front and there is nowhere better in this country to do so than Stow Maries.”
The event, on May 6, was attended by around 100 people, including relatives of members of 37 Squadron, amongst them Betty Hay, Daughter of Captain Stiffy Hay plus Eleanor and Edward Longmire, daughter and grandson of Captain Claude Ridley.
Peter Martin, Chairman of Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome Trust, said: “This is a very important day for us; our volunteers have done a fantastic job putting this museum together.
“We have received great support over the years from Historic England, Essex County Council, Maldon District Council, The National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Libor Fund. I’d like to thank them for their support, plus our band of volunteers and the management team, for the fantastic job they do. Without all of them the aerodrome would not be what it is today.
“Stow Maries is an important site for Maldon, Essex and nationally and we regularly hold events and welcome all to attend. On the 14 and 15 May we have two vintage Fly-in days, where visitors will be able to see vintage and modern aircraft, such as a BE2e and Sopwith Snipe, flying.”
The new museum provides an interactive history of the site with examples of how a bedroom and the Station Armoury would have looked, plus the history of the Women’s Royal Air Force at the site. Children can experience the joy of sitting in a simulated WW1 Sopwith 1½ Strutter.
ITV Anglia visited the site on the day and we made the news, the piece is on the ITV Anglia website to view.
Stow Maries is open to the public from 10am–5pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays. Children under 16 visit free with adult tickets costing £8. More information on opening times and entrance fees.
Pre-arranged group visits, including coach trips, are also welcome to visit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Visit our group visits page for more information.
We are always looking for volunteers to help us at Stow Maries. Visit our Volunteers page for vacancies.