The Science Museum Group submitted a full planning application to Swindon Borough Council on 22 December for an ambitious project that will see a huge, 26,000-square metre building being constructed at Wroughton airfield in Wiltshire to house many exhibits that are currently stored away from public gaze in the site’s decaying, concrete World War Two hangars.
Once completed — it is hoped in 2022 — the building will be open regularly to the public, offering a varied programme of tours, learning and research visits. The vast structure, which will be approximately 90m wide by 300m long, will become home to more than 80 per cent of the museum collection (roughly 340,000 objects) and will provide stable and accessible conditions for their management and care.
Among the aircraft at Wroughton are Boeing 247D N18E, one of only four survivors of the type and the only one outside North America; the second oldest DC-3 in the world, EI-AYO, originally built for United Airlines as a Douglas Sleeper Transport (DST) in 1936; Britain’s only Lockheed L-749 Constellation, N7777G; and the oldest surviving Britishbuilt airliner, DH84 Dragon G-ACIT. Matt Moore, head of site at Wroughton, says, “It’s fantastic to think that we are really close to transforming the site and how we manage, and access, our collection.”