Walsall Aerodrome

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Walsall Aerodrome
IATA: noneICAO: none
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Walsall Council
Serves Walsall
Location Aldridge, Staffordshire. England
Opened 1930s
Closed 1956
Coordinates 52°35′28″N 001°56′06″W / 52.59111°N 1.93500°W / 52.59111; -1.93500Coordinates: 52°35′28″N 001°56′06″W / 52.59111°N 1.93500°W / 52.59111; -1.93500
Map
Walsall Aerodrome is located in West Midlands county
Walsall Aerodrome
Walsall Aerodrome

Walsall Aerodrome, also known as Walsall Airport, Walsall Municipal Airport, and later as Walsall Aldridge Airport was an airport at Aldridge, Staffordshire, England, serving the town of Walsall, north Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield (Aldridge is now part of Walsall, and in the West Midlands county). It operated from the 1930s–1956.

History[edit]

Walsall Council purchased Aldridge Lodge and 220 acres (89 ha)[1] of its estate in 1930.[2] Work on the airport began in 1932 and in 1937 the council contracted Walker Brothers Ltd of Victoria Ironworks, Walsall, to erect a hangar.[3] A licence to operate was obtained in 1938.[2]

In 1938 Amy Johnson gave a glider display to a crowd of around 6,000.[1] On her final approach, her glider's wingtip touched a hedge and the aircraft turned over.[1] She was taken to hospital, but was not seriously injured.[1]

Operations were limited by the airfield's size, slope, and wet clay soil, making it unsuitable for larger aircraft.[1] It closed in 1956[2] and most of the buildings were later demolished.

The land is now a public open space, known as Aldridge Airport, and hosts a variety of leisure activities under the auspices of Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council.[4] However, it is still used for occasional helicopter landings, including training exercises by the West Midlands Police helicopter.[5]

Helliwells[edit]

1939 Helliwells advert showing Walsall Airport

The engineering company Helliwells Ltd. had a base at the airfield c. 1939 – c. 1955.[6][7] They made aircraft components and carried out modifications and repairs to aeroplanes.[1]

Archives[edit]

Walsall Archives and Local History Centre holds a number of research files containing documents relating to the airport.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Helliwells aircraft component factory at Walsall airport". Black Country Bugle. 2010-11-25. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Airfield; S Of Aldridge". Black Country History. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Contract for erection of new hangar at Walsall Aerodrome". Black Country History. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Aldridge Airport". Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "2145hrs..Then a quick training flight and landing at Walsall old airfield...". Twitter. West Midlands Police. 17 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  6. ^ "Helliwells Lady Britannia 1939". AviationAncestry. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "Helliwells Christmas Greeting 1955". AviationAncestry. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Walsall Aerodrome Research File 1". Black Country History. Retrieved 19 May 2013.