Control tower restoration appeal relaunched at Elvington

The Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington has renewed its appeal for help to finish the restoration of an historic wartime control tower

Fourteen months ago, Yorkshire Air Museum announced that it needed £100,000 to carry out restoration work on the Grade II listed building, which witnessed hundreds of RAF bombers take off on perilous missions over occupied Europe during World War Two. Some work has taken place to repair the roof and external rendering, along with restoring the metal window frames on the tower, which was only expected to last a decade when it was built in 1942.

Now the museum has announced that, although it’s successfully surpassed the £100k target, it needs to continue the campaign to raise more funds to complete the project due to unexpected structural problems.

The historic control tower at Elvington
The historic control tower at Elvington All images courtesy Yorkshire Air Museum

“Once the contractors started restoring exterior sections of the building, it was discovered that the scale of work was even greater than had been first thought, with large areas of water ingress wreaking damage over the years. Although contractors, Birch, have worked on two of the four walls, work on the rest of the Tower is not able to start this year. Then we will need to carry out the needed repairs to the interior of the building,” said the Museum’s Chair of Trustees, Rachel Semlyen MBE.

“We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed so generously as this work is vital in ensuring the future for the Tower. But we do need to press on with the appeal, in order to give us the means to complete the restoration.”

As part of the fundraising, the museum is now offering some sections of the original window frames from the Tower. A few of the sections are boxed and come with an image of the 1942 building. These can be bought from the museum shop for a suggested donation of £50. Other, unboxed pieces are £15 each.

It’s now possible to buy sections of the original window frames
It’s now possible to buy sections of the original window frames

The fund has been helped by a recent legacy and donations from two charitable trusts: the Patricia and Donald Shepherd Charitable Trust and the Noel Goddard Terry Charitable Trust. The Chairman of the Noel Goddard Terry Charitable Trust, Anthony Terry, stressed his family’s strong connections with the RAF: “My father’s younger brother, Kenneth, was a squadron leader in the RAF, sadly killed in 1944, and my grandfather’s brother-in-law was AM Sir John (Jack) Baldwin, who became Deputy Chairman of Terry’s after the war. My grandfather himself was in the Royal Observer Corps during the war, which of course dealt with this country's air defence.

I am certain my grandfather would have been very much in favour of helping to restore this historic control tower. It appears to be a rare example of its type and, surprisingly, remains relatively untouched. I expect my uncle Kenneth would have been familiar with Elvington and may even have flown from there himself.”

Donations to the Save Our Tower appeal can be made online or in person at the Yorkshire Air Museum. With thanks to Jerry Ibbotson

Yorkshire Air Museum is hoping to complete the restoration of its historic control tower
Yorkshire Air Museum is hoping to complete the restoration of its historic control tower