Essex

Stow Maries WW1 aerodrome set for £4.3m restoration

World War One aircraft flying at Stow Maries Image copyright Stow Maries
Image caption Stow Maries was a base for 37 pilots

A "forgotten" World War One aerodrome is set to be restored in a £4.3m project after winning a lottery grant.

Buildings at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, near Maldon, Essex will be made into a visitor attraction.

The aerodrome was established in 1916 and played a key role in defending London from German Zeppelin attacks.

Ros Kerslake, of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: "The fact the aerodrome was largely forgotten for so many decades adds to its mystique and appeal."

Image copyright Stow Maries
Image caption Squadron based at Stow Maries transitioned from the Royal Flying Corps to the Royal Air Force in 1918
Image copyright Stow Maries
Image caption The 24 surviving structures at the base remain relatively unaltered since 1919

The airfield reverted to agricultural use after the war, but most of the buildings remain untouched.

The site was in a state of disrepair until a group of local historians and military aviation enthusiasts recognised its importance in the late 1970s.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has granted Stow Maries the first instalment of £300,000.

A spokesman for the lottery fund said the full £4.3m grant would be awarded if the plans progress.

Image copyright Stow Maries
Image caption Some buildings will be restored and available for use by schools

There are plans for a former accommodation block to become a permanent exhibition, enabling visitors to experience what it was like to live as a Royal Flying Corp officer.

The grant would also be used to build a new welcome centre, a cafe and shop.

Ian Flint, chief executive of Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome Trust said: "This will help us keep Stow Maries where it deserves to be - on the regional, national and international heritage stage."

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