Airport ’49

I’m addicted to old public information films. Here’s one from 1949 about the construction of Heathrow Airport, originally designed with the intention of “finishing orf the Japanese,” according to the narrator. I’m not clear whether this film is supposed to be pro- or anti-London Airport, given that they make its construction look scary as all hell.

For all the announcer is very proud of their spanking new airport, what you see there is nothing compared to what Heathrow is today. Actually, if Heathrow was like that now, I’d imagine local residents would be less upset every time BAA announce that actually, they’d quite like to build some more stuff where those fields are. This film gives a total of 400,000 for 1948. For 2007, it was over 68,000,000. Damned if I can work out the percentage increase, so let’s just say it’s a lot. And let’s not even go into what the narrator defines as a “giant aircraft”.

O’course, when the above film was made, flying was still a bit of a novelty. A lot of people still opted for boat travel. Those that did go by plane tended to make a bit of an occasion of it. Call me old fashioned, but I like the idea of flying being an adventure. Island Air Services catered for this back in the 1950s with a De Havilland Dragon Rapide, which was kept in the airport’s public enclosure and would give joyrides to spectators. Sounds like fun.

This is a De Havilland Dragon Rapide.

This is a De Havilland Dragon Rapide.

According to legend, Dick Turpin’s ghost haunts Heathrow Terminal 1. Admittedly, it’s supposed to haunt quite a lot of places, but the justification is that the airport is built on Hounslow Heath.

Spam of the day

“Hi, good post. I have been thinking about this topic,so thanks for writing. I’ll certainly be coming back to your site.”

I don’t know what he found so fascinating, given that the entry this was attached to concerned the fact that “Hampton Wick” is rhyming slang for “penis”.


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Filed under 20th Century, Film and TV, History, Hounslow, London, Suburbia, Transport

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