About Us

All about the trust, how we started and keeping the memory alive

How did we start?

Our goal is to keep the memory alive.

Our small but constantly growing trust which was only founded back in November of 2016, through the combined passion and enthusiasm of some like minded local people.

When we first started talking about our local wartime history, there was only one place to begin the conversation and that was to think back to all the good things the former RAF Hornchurch Association had done and how they had brought the name of the aerodrome and its pilots, back into the forefront of people’s minds. That Association had been the brain child of the late Ted Exall, who is sadly missed by many. That Association unfortunately has also now sadly passed into the annals of history.

So, we thought that maybe we needed to pick up that baton and perhaps start combining all our years of knowledge into something that we could then pass on to people and they could learn about our beloved Hornchurch aerodromes illustrious history and what it’s story can still give to today’s generations.

Our aims were simple, to use our combined knowledge and expertise along with the many historical artefacts and photographs that we hold in our collection. A simple need to try and help educate people into their local wartime history or just to rekindle some people’s memories through our displays and exhibitions.

Our members also help to remember the fallen heroes by tending and looking after the three Battle of Britain pilot’s graves in the Military section of the local Hornchurch cemetery, next to St. Andrews Church.

So, if you are as like-minded as us and have a little time to spare to get involved with this very worthwhile activity and you want to help with remembering the most important, if not so famous aerodrome that once protected London and the south east during two world wars then we would like to hear from you.

Alternatively, if you have any memories of the former aerodrome that you would just like to share with us, or if anyone has any RAF Hornchurch artefacts or photographs that they may wish to loan or donate to our trust, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

We are helping to preserve our past, for all future generations

The trust is ever evolving and has been going from strength to strength since 2016.

About the Heritage Centre

A Brief History

Suttons House was originally two staff cottages for Suttons Institute, which was opened in September 1938. The two houses were then used by RAF Hornchurch from September 1939 until 1946, although at present it is unclear what role the houses played during the war. After the RAF departed, the houses became part of the St Georges Hospital site from 1948 and were finally used by the NHS as a mental health building until its closure in around 2013.

These beautiful 1930’s building have been given a new lease of life as from 2019 it opened its doors as The RAF Hornchurch Heritage Centre.

This has been a thirty-year struggle to secure a permanent home to house our collection of artefacts, photographs and personal stories relating to this famous aerodrome’s history and without the support and generosity of Bellway Homes who have kindly gifted them to the Hornchurch Aerodrome Historical Trust this opportunity would not have been possible.

Please help support this local community venture in whatever way you can, it might be by loaning or donating artefacts or photographs, or maybe by giving some of your spare time as a volunteer.

Learn about the history or RAF Hornchurch

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A few images from when work started transforming what is now the heritage centre.