South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries

Aerospace Bristol awarded £0.5 million to convert hangar into public conservation workshop

Image of the exterior of Hangar 16M



Aerospace Bristol have been awarded just over £500,000 by Biffa Award to allow them to convert one of the former hangers on the site into a conservation workshop.


The restoration and repurposing of the hangar as a Conservation in Action workshop will mean that visitors will be able to see live conservation work taking place on historic Bristol aircraft such as the Bristol Freighter, Fighter, and Bolingbroke.

Restoration of the 'Hangar 16M, a 103-year-old grade-II listed building on the historic Filton Airfield, has been made possible by Biffa Award: a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to communities and environmental projects across the UK.

Lloyd Burnell, Executive Director of Aerospace Bristol, said:

“This fantastic grant from Biffa Award has given us the opportunity to repurpose the building to become an exciting new part of the visitor experience, engaging visitors with engineering marvels from our aerospace heritage, offering exciting hands-on learning opportunities and stories to inspire future generations. Most museum conservation work is undertaken behind ‘closed doors’, unseen by the public. But as a result of bringing conservation into public view, visitors will not only learn more about the Aerospace Bristol story, but also how vital heritage skills are saving the nation’s past.”

Aircraft and engine restoration works will be undertaken by volunteers. More than 150 former engineers and community volunteers spent thousands of hours restoring objects that are now on display at Aerospace Bristol, which opened to the public in October 2017. The new facility and Conservation in Action project will allow many of these volunteers, and new members of the volunteer team, to put their skills to good use and share their knowledge with a new generation of engineers and innovators.

Jess Stone, Aerospace Bristol volunteer and Airbus Undergraduate Engineering Apprentice, said:

“It’s really exciting that a new generation will be able to get involved in exciting engineering projects and gain hands-on experience working with aircraft and engines. This is an amazing opportunity for young people to learn from the older generation, who have so much experience and knowledge of Bristol aircraft.”

Gillian French, Biffa Award Head of Grants, said:

“It’s fantastic to see this iconic building being given a new lease of life. We are thrilled to support this project that will allow people to witness, and take part in, real life conservation work.”

Restoration work on the hangar is set to begin early in 2019, to be completed in Autumn 2019.



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