6-Sep-2010 Source: The Helicopter Museum
The Helicopter Museum site on the airfield at Weston-super-Mare has been recognised by The Transport Trust as a Transport Heritage site, in recognition of its connection with the manufacturing of helicopters in the town between 1955 and 2002.
The occasion will be marked with the unveiling of a special Red Wheel Plaque at The Helicopter Museum by the Chairman of North Somerset Council, Cllr Ann Harley at 12.00 on Saturday 11th September, watched by visitors and volunteers at the attraction.
The Transport Trust has successfully promoted the preservation of Britainâ€™s heritage in all modes of transport for more than 40 years and in 2009 recognised that many sites where transport development took place are little known and barely celebrated.
The Trust therefore launched the Red Wheel initiative, to create a national recognition scheme, raise awareness of our transport heritage amongst a wider and younger audience and to increase understanding and appreciation of what was achieved and what is left. 21 Red Wheel Plaques have
been unveiled to date across the UK at diverse sites ranging from Tramways to Viaducts. The Plaque awarded to The Helicopter Museum is the first anywhere in the south west and only the second aviation site in the country.
The Museum, which is the worldâ€™s largest helicopter collection, is sited on land that was part of the original Weston-super-Mare Airport in 1936 and which was then expanded in 1940 to provide Shadow Factory Facilities for the Bristol Aeroplane Company. The company later relocated its Helicopter Division to the town and began manufacturing the Sycamore at the western end of the airfield in 1955. This was followed by the production of the twin-rotor Belvedere from 1958, and then various other helicopter types following the takeover of The Helicopter Division by Westland Aircraft in 1960. Helicopter production and overhaul finally ended in 2002, when the factory closed down.