Avro at Woodford aerodrome, Manchester.

November 16, 2013

Avro at Woodford aerodrome, Manchester.

Avro aircraft factory at Woodford aerodrome.

Recently, we were lucky enough to be able to immerse ourselves in aviation history for a few hours at the now defunct Woodford aerodrome (EGCD) located just outside Manchester. The aerodrome was formed in 1924 when A.V. Roe moved the company there. Woodford aerodrome operated from 1924 until 2011 at which time the then owners, BAE Systems, stopped all activity. 

 A.V.Roe and Company was started by Edwin Alliott Verdon Roe (1877-1958) and his brother Humphrey Verdon Roe (1878- 1949) in 1910. The company built many successful, world famous aircraft that saw action in both World Wars. Even as late as 1982 an Avro aircraft, the Vulcan, saw action in the Falkland Islands War when it bombed Stanley airport. The Avro Vulcan, which had its first flight in 1952, was about to be retired from service when Argentine forces invaded the British held Falkland Islands (called Las Islas Malvinas by the Argentinians).

In 1924 Avro became a subsidiary of Armstrong Siddeley after A.V.Roe sold his shares in Avro to J.D. Siddeley and subsequently merged into the Hawker Siddeley Aircraft Limited in 1935. In 1977, Hawker Siddeley then merged into British Aerospace which in turn merged into BAE Systems in 1999.

Avro Hanger 5 Woodford Aerodrome

Hanger 5 at Woodford Aerodrome

Aircraft were manufactured and maintained here until the site was closed on the 25th of August 2011 after the British government's Defence and Security Review of 2010 when the Ministry of Defence terminated the BAE Systems Nimrod MRA 4 project.

Here are a few shots from inside Hangar 5 and some detail photographs. If you watched
the second part of the BBC2 series "Cold War, Hot Jets", presented by James Holland, you would have seen him at Woodford and in Hanger 5 and you may have spotted the yellow restricted area notice in the photograph underneath.

Restricted Area - Avro Woodford Aerodrome

Woodford's aircraft connections include the Anson, Tudor, Lancaster, Lincoln, Shackleton, Tutor, Vulcan, York, BAE 146, Hawker Siddeley  HS748, British Aerospace ATP, various Nimrod marks and many others that unfortunately only reached the design stage.

No FOD at Woodford Aerodrome
No Foreign Object Debris (FOD) outside on runway
Tailplane lineup Woodford Aerodrome
Placement marking for tailplane on factory floor

Here are some photos from inside the Avro Vulcan nose cone:

Avro Vulcan Pilot Cockpit Woodford Aerodrome
Avro Vulcan pilot station
Avro Vulcan Cockpit Woodford Aerodrome
Avro Vulcan instrument layout

and the nose of Avro Vulcan XM603:

Avro Vulcan XM603 Front On Woodford Aerodrome
The nose of Avro Vulcan XM603

In this next image you can see in what a sorry state XM603 finds herself but it also shows off the Avro Vulcan bomber's lines beautifully.

Avro Vulcan XM603 Starboard Side Woodford Aerodrome
Starboard side view of Avro Vulcan XM603 at Woodford aerodrome.

Have you been to Woodford? Do you have any photographs of XM603 in happier times?

If you have not seen, or rather experienced, an Avro Vulcan bomber flying then we can really recommend the Vulcan to the Sky site, the home of Vulcan XH558. It is packed full of information about this wonderful aircraft and you will find details on how to see the Vulcan where it should be: thundering around in the sky awing crowds and inspiring future generations of AvGeeks.


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