To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Midland Air Museum, John Berkeley describes how this pioneering collection got started
Aviation heritage is now a multi-million-dollar global phenomenon, but half a century ago things were very different. At its peak in the 1930s Warwickshire had 45 airfields and landing grounds within its boundaries and the region made a massive contribution to manufacturing in both world wars.
Coventry alone could boast an output of more than 14,000 aircraft. Yet in the 1960s there was little or no evidence of this great industrial heritage: it was as though it had never happened.
Britain’s grassroots preservation movement was still in its infancy when Roger Smith, a 19-yearold apprentice draughtsman at Dunlop Aviation, founded the Midland Aircraft Preservation Society (MAPS) five decades ago.