Aviation => General Aviation => Topic started by: mikeb on December 08, 2014, 18:33:47

Title: Lullingstone Aerodrome
Post by: mikeb on December 08, 2014, 18:33:47
Whilst looking up "things" in connection with another topic, I found reference to a pre second world war proposal for an aerodrome at Lullingstone. This I confess surprised me somewhat as I had never heard of it before!

In the early thirties, The Kemp Town Brewery bought 5000 acres of land around Lullingstone for housing development. At the same time it was recognised that London needed a new Airport and Lullingstone offered an ideal site. The Air Ministry were very keen on the idea. The Southern Railway became involved and jumped the gun somewhat by proposing a branch off the Swanley - Maidstone East line to serve the Airport and actually built the mainline platforms and station buildings in readiness for the 1935 electrification scheme. These platforms were completed by 1938 and although the station was never opened, remained unused until 1955 when it was largely demolished. The platform canopies were removed and used at Canterbury East. The outbreak of war in 1939 and post war Green Belt legislation killed the plan off. Traces of the station can still be seen to-day.

An Airfield, of sorts, was however built at Lullingstone as it became the site of one of the Decoy Airfields, Lullingstone was designed to decoy bombers away from Biggin Hill.

It is intriguing to ponder on the current debate on Gatwick / Heathrow expansion and how things, in many respects, may have been vastly different if the 1935 proposal for four London Airports at Lullingstone, Croydon, Heston and Fairlop had "got off the ground".
Title: Re: Lullingstone Aerodrome
Post by: peterchall on December 08, 2014, 19:51:51
Fascinating. :)
The Medway Towns would have been under its flight path!
Title: Re: Lullingstone Aerodrome
Post by: Dave Smith on January 18, 2015, 21:15:46
peterchall. If SW runway, turning on finals for approach run between Gravesend & Rochester.
Title: Re: Lullingstone Aerodrome
Post by: peterchall on January 19, 2015, 08:21:54
Heathrow and Gatwick are E-W and I was assuming the same for the new airfield. However, I was probably thinking of Luddesdown.

If the airfield was where Lullingstone Park is it would be about 14 miles from the Medway Towns and aircraft on approach would be about 3500 feet up and they would pass over Walderslade, if the final approach path extended that far.

If Lullingstone runway were NE-SW aircraft on NE approach would pass over Northfleet, only about 6 miles away and so only about 1500 feet up. Perhaps you also were thinking of Luddesdown when you said they would pass between Gravesend and Rochester.
Title: Re: Lullingstone Aerodrome
Post by: Robin on January 19, 2015, 14:08:48
There are a number of posts on several sites that refer to Lullingstone, on the aviation front.  It would seem that there was a 'bombing decoy' for Biggin Hill located at Lullingstone.

Title: Re: Lullingstone Aerodrome
Post by: Dave Smith on January 19, 2015, 18:29:09
Sorry, I'd conveniently swung the runway more WSW (closer to Heathrow`s direction) to allow " finals" flight path to pass over open country between G'send & Rochester & at least 3-4000 ft. over Medway towns. Incidently, does anyone know the exact site? I assume W of Lullingstone Castle & N of golf course, toward & just across what is now M25, which is high ground & would suit rail spur to London.
Title: Re: Lullingstone Aerodrome
Post by: mikeb on January 19, 2015, 18:55:37
Here's a map showing the location and outline of the proposed runways. Swanley Junction is to the top of the page. I assume the runways would have been grass given the way they criss-cross over the the site.

The proposed road is interesting, it suggests the need for the M25 was predicted before the war?
Title: Re: Lullingstone Aerodrome
Post by: Dave Smith on January 22, 2015, 13:41:32
Thank you mikeb for the map, most interesting. I note that where the M25 cosses the B2173 seems about the same as "proposed" but M25 goes much more N/S ( about 27o, rather than 52o). I think the N/S (1/2 ml) & E/W ( 1000 yds) runways would be grass & the proposed NE/SW (1/2 ml each) probably concrete. Heathrow runways about a mile so the airfield area at Lullingstone would be pretty large. Dave Smith
Title: Re: Lullingstone Aerodrome
Post by: philip b on February 15, 2016, 20:11:52
  The platform supports were still in situ in the early 1990s (and might well still be there?). From memory the platforms were about one - and possibly two carriages in length - strange to think that back then it would seem that such a small station was considered big enough for an international airport