Museum Open Week: RAF Museum Cosford Conservation Centre March 14-19 2011
© RAF Museum
The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford is to open its award winning Michael Beetham Conservation Centre for a week in March to allow the public a glimpse of the aircraft and artefacts in various states of restoration, including the centre’s largest project, the Wellington Bomber.
The latter’s famous geodetic fuselage structure designed by Barnes Wallis will be visible minus its fabric covering, which has been removed due to its desperate need of replacement.
One of the largest restoration projects in the centre’s nine-year history, Cosford took delivery of the last Wellington bomber in the summer of 2010 when it was transferred from the RAF Museum at Hendon. Extensive conservation work on the structure will take place at the museum’s conservation over the next four to five years.
The twin engine Wellington is often overshadowed by the more famous four engine Lancaster bomber, which displaced it midway through the Second World War. But much like the Hurricane at Fighter Command, it is today recognised as a true workhorse of the war and was the only bomber to be used throughout the conflict.
11,000 of them were eventually built with many of them surviving although this is the only one that remains in its original condition. Another example was recovered from the bed of Loch Ness in the 1980s and now resides at Brooklands Air Museum.
As well as the Wellington visitors will gain exclusive behind-the-scenes access to other restoration projects including on-going refurbishments such as the Handley Page Hampden TB1, Spitfire Mk XIX and Range Safety Launch. Manager of the Conservation Centre, Tim Wallis is therefore urging the public to “seize this opportunity to visit and experience our ‘Aviation Heritage’”
“Please remember that the MBCC is not normally open to the public, so we urge you to make the most of this opportunity by engaging in conversation with my staff,” he added. “They will do their level best to answer your questions fully and honestly or discuss aircraft design, build methods, engineering practices and restoration difficulties.”