Hesketh Park Aerodrome

Validation date: 06 09 2014
Updated on: Never
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53°39'53"N 002°59'43"W

Runway: 800x800m - beach

Hesketh Park Aerodrome (also known as Hesketh Park Foreshore) 310 kilometers northwest of London. 
It was built in 1910 when Southport Corporation built a hanger and airfield on what is today the Municipal Golf Links. Soon it was moved to lands adjacent to the Hesketh Golf Club, before being resited one more time: on the beach. 

During the Great War, aircraft that were produced under subcontract by nearby Vulcan Motors were test flown and delivered from Hesketh Park. In May 1917, a canvas hangar had been erected near the site, and 11 Aircraft Acceptance Park was established there in 1918. When the site was later taken over by the Royal Naval Air Service, they subsequently demolished the original hangar and replaced it with two 12,500 square feet Bowstring hangars. The facility was known as an Aircraft Storage unit, forming part of 13 (Training) Group facilities. Later the facility was designated 11 Aircraft Acceptance Park (Southport), with the intention of being used to conduct acceptance trials for the Royal Air Force. The Armistice in November 1918 led to aircraft contracts being cancelled in January 1919.

1931 aerodrome chart for Hesketh aerodrome (pennula.de)

During World War II, Hesketh Park was used for Anson and Mosquito maintenance and Spitfire repair by Martin Hearn Ltd (which later became 7 Aircraft Assembly Unit) at Hooton Park. A side opening hanger was built to facilitate this work. Aircraft which were repaired at Hearn’s Liverpool factory were brought to Hesketh Park to be reassembled. Aircraft flown in or brought in by road were dismantled and packed in cases by 1 Packed Aircraft Transit Pool, which was also established at Hesketh Park. They were then taken to the docks at Liverpool for delivery all over the world. Many of these packing cases could be seen along the roads in the Southport area awaiting collection.

When the war was over, one of the WW1 hangars was demolished and the WW2 hangar was used by Southport Corporation as a bus depot. Recreational flying resumed in 1946 until the site was closed in 1965.

This De Havilland DH.83 Fox Moth was photographed ca 1960. Visible in the background is the Hesketh hospital, now a nursing home (southport.gb.com)

The hangars of the airfield were demolished and replaced with bungalows in the mid-1960s, which dates this photo to at least 1965. An aircraft can be seen parked on the beach (Southport and Merseyside aeroclub)

The remaining hangars were demolished in 1966 after which a row of bungalows was built on the site. Today it is still possible to see remains of the apron running along what is Hesketh Road, which itself was originally the taxi track to the beach landing area. In 2004, a sign commemorating the airfield was erected opposite the bungalows that were built were once the hangars of the airfield were.

This strip of tarmac was the apron in front of the aircraft hangars, now opposite the bungalows at Hesketh Road. 
(© 2011 K A and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence, via geograph.org.uk)