Duxford offices plan for historic RAF officers' mess

RAF Duxford Officers' mess Image copyright IWM
Image caption The officers' mess as it looked in 1944

A former RAF officers' mess once home to World War Two fighter pilots including Spitfire ace Douglas Bader, is to be turned into offices.

The 80-year-old building in Duxford, Cambridgeshire was last used by the military in 1961 and is owned by the Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford.

Plans include a new courtyard which will contain a "visual history" of its former RAF life and residents.

The IWM said many of the building's historic features would be retained.

In recent years the Grade II-listed site has been used mainly as storage for items from the museum, on the opposite side of the road.

Image copyright Sean Carney
Image caption Pilot Officer WL McKnight, acting Sqn Ldr DRS Bader and acting Flt Lt GE Ball

The plans for its conversion, approved by South Cambridgeshire District Council, will give the building "a new lease of life", the museum's interim director Alan Stoneman, said.

The developer's proposals include retaining the sash windows, cast iron radiators and original labelling above doors as well as many of the internal spaces.

Image copyright IWM
Image caption In recent years the building has been used to house items from the museum

"It will be wonderful to see the officers' mess renovated in a style that embeds its history into its modern-day use. It will be an inspirational setting for its users," Mr Stoneman said.

Guy Baker, from developer Mantle, said the company was experienced in the regeneration of historic buildings and "will be respecting the human stories associated with the space".

Work is expected to begin early next year.

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