Fighter Command HQ Bentley Priory to open for Heritage Open Days special this September

By Culture24 Staff | 09 June 2010
  • Archived article
a photo of stained glass window with an aeroplane and World War Two pilot featured on it

(Above) The Battle of Britain stained glass window in the entrance hall at Bentley Priory. Image: Mike Hammerson

Heritage Open Days, the annual festival of special openings allowing the public to have a sneak around some of the nation's best kept secrets, has confirmed several Battle of Britain themed openings.

The Battle of Britain Fighter Command HQ at Bentley Priory in Stanmore, Hertfordshire, has been closed to the general public during its 70 years as a RAF base, but will be opening its doors once again so the public can get a glimpse inside the historically important site.

Following on from last year’s successful event, re-enactors from the OPS 39-45 RAF Living History Group will once again recreate the tensions within the Operations Room during the Battle of Britain. There will be a Spitfire and Hurricane flying display together with stalls and other entertainments.

As well as the preserved Ops room, Bentley Priory is also home to the preserved office of Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding from his time at Fighter Command, as well as extensive gardens and a priory designed by Sir John Soane.

The Priory's Battle of Britain Trust is currently working to ensure the former RAF base is preserved and becomes a Battle of Britain Museum.

Another Battle of Britain Ops Room opening its doors for Heritage Open Days is the World War Two Operations bunker at RAF Digby, which features period furniture, plotting table, communications equipment and side offices. 

The essential work of the Royal Observer Corps in World War Two will be explored at St Clement's Church where a display of photographs and memorabilia will celebrate the squadrons stationed at RAF Fiskerton during WWII.

The Second World War Beacon Hill Radar Tower at the Beacon Hill Fort in Harwich, Essex, which has been lovingly restored by the Harwich Society, will also be open for tours, as will the Royal Air Force Officer cadet College in Cranwell, Lincolnshire.

Find out more about Heritage Open Days at www.heritageopendays.org.uk. Learn about the ongoing work to save Bentley Priory for the nation at http://www.bentleypriory.org.

Keep up to speed with the latest news about the Battle of Britain 70th anniversary at www.culture24.org.uk/battle-of-britain.