Greatham Airport was looking forward to a good summer, having been 'fallow' for a year, when this advert appeared on February 16th 1956. BKS were offering holiday flights and there was great optimism that Greatham would serve the north east along with Newcastle in business and holiday travel.
The airport became a civil airport in April 1938. Sadly, despite the plans and adverts,all did not go to plan and the airport closed in 1957 and on the site South Durham Steel and Iron built West Hartlepool South Works.More detail »
Taken from the Northern Daily Mail: This official plan of the lay-out at the Durham County Agricultural Show indicates how West Hartlepool's Civic Airport has been turned into the shop window of Durham farming.More detail »
The following is an extract from an article in the Northern Daily Mail relating to the 1949 Durham Agricultural Show at Greatham Airport in 1949:
West Hartlepool Civic Airport is only ten years old but it can claim to be a war veteran and the pioneer of civil aviation in this area. The idea of creating a civic airport to serve the peace-time needs of the Hartlepools and Teesside was first conceived in 1928 by several far-sighted members of the Town Council. But the idea was dismissed as being too much in the clouds by a majority vote of the Council, and it was some years before its sponsors deemed the time opportune for another attempt.
When at last they succeeded in securing local approval of the plan, national and international events combined to expedite it. The project coincided with a rapid expansion of the R.A.F. and the need of an immediate increase in the number of airports which could be adapted as training and recruiting centres. Thus long before it was ready for service West Hartlepool’s civic airport was earmarked as a R.A.F. Volunteer Reserve Centre and when, on April 15th, 1939 – less than five months before the Second World War began – the then Secretary of State for Air, the late Sir Kingsley Wood, flew to Greatham to perform the opening ceremony, the emphasis had shifted from long-term plans for civil flying to the immediate needs of defence.
Sir Kingsley devoted nearly the whole of his speech at the opening ceremony to the urgent task of building up our air defences and to the part Greatham might play as a recruiting and training centre. In this he was not disappointed, for scores of men, who underwent their preliminary training at the R.A.F.V.R. recruiting centre at Greatham in the hectic months immediately preceeding and following September 3rd, 1939, later proved their worth in the far-flung theatres of war.
Now the airport has returned to its original use as a centre of civil aviation for this district and the home of Teesside Flying Club. There may have been some post-war doubts about the precise form of its further development, but now its future seems assured. Other authorities beside the West Hartlepool Town Council are convinced that it will have an increasingly useful part to play in meeting North-East needs for pleasure and commercial flying.
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