Another Shackleton in danger?

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5 years 9 months

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I visited the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry yesterday to see the Shackleton. Haven't been for many years. Horrified to see the state of the museum. The upper gallery is empty (just some bicycles in one corner and the Trident cockpit on the opposite side). Shackleton covered in dust - hasn't been cleaned in years by the looks of it. Sycamore is gone. Staff were rude. Essentially, it is a grubby hall with a handful of aeroplanes stuffed inside it... and nothing else. It wasn't a good experience and I don't intend to ever go again. Looking at the conditions and the state of the hall's exterior, one gets the impression that there is every intention to close it. So what happens to the Shackleton? Despite neglect, it is in great condition, having been indoors since retirement. Would the RAF take it to Cosford? But if they do, surely it would have to languish outside?
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Profile picture for user CIRCUS 6

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I very much doubt the RAF would take it anywhere. They don't have the capacity or finances to deal with an aircraft that's been struck off charge years ago.

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The Shackleton is owned by the RAF Museum, it certainly has NOT been 'struck off charge' by them.
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In fact, most of the aircraft are owned by the RAF Museum IIRC, with some notable exceptions.
Profile picture for user j_jza80

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Do they still have a Spitfire there? MK.21 IIRC.

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Shackleton ommission
In fact, most of the aircraft are owned by the RAF Museum IIRC, with some notable exceptions.
Well if there was an aircraft that is missing from the cold war museum then the Shackleton is definiately IT!, therefore if this Shack is up for grabs then some serious head scratching needs to be done at Cosford and a small re-think on the exhibits that lay within the worlds most oddly shaped Hangar! boot the large yankee chopper out, remove the cafe,shop and twin Pin to a different position and ''shoehorn'' the Shack in ! i can remember seeing the early drawings along with a rather splendid model of the planned building and exhibits back in the early nineties and im almost positive it had a shackleton in that layout. failing that, what would it enatil to ''stitch an extension onto the building over on the belfast end and allow the shack and some other missing airframes to have some warm shelter?

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I'm not sure where the notion that it is 'up for grabs' comes from. It is the only Shackleton to have been preserved indoors since retirement, is owned by a national collection (the RAF Museum) and is in the care of another (the Science Museum). The cost of moving it would be enormous, and rather pointless. The RAF Museum have already committed a substantial, 6-figure sum to move the VC-10, why would they want to fund another move when it is totally unnecessary?

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Mike - as far as I know, the Shackleton isn't up for grabs. My point is that it looks as if it may well be very soon. I've read various tales about dark plans to dispose of the Shackleton before, and having seen the deplorable state of the museum hall yesterday, it looks pretty clear that MOSI don't have any interest in it. I don't think the Spitfire was there, unless I was so completely enthralled by the Shackleton that I missed it! It may have been though. I don't know why everything has been cleared from the upper gallery, and the whole place just looked as if it was completely neglected. There was a distinctly moribund feel to the whole place. I was interested to see a bunch of screaming school kids rush in, only to find that their teacher had given them all a "tick list" to complete, so they simply shrieked their way around the collection to tick-off their papers, without even the slightest interest in the exhibits. Once they'd run around, they were back at the door waiting to escape in less than ten minutes. Another bunch of french kids came in (slightly older). I was next to the Trident cockpit at the time so I went in to see what happened. As I expected, they rushed in, only to find a perspex screen that prevented them from jumping into the seats to start flicking switches. Once they saw the screen they turned around, deflated, looking for any other switches to flick, buttons to press, or handles to pull. One boy was almost lucky when he saw the crew door handle, but when he found that it didn't work, they all left... presumably in search of more stimulating "interactive" toys. I think the way these kids reacted says a lot about the museum experience. They expect gizmos and entertainment. They have no interest in stuffy artefacts (unless they light-up or move, or make a noise). It looked pretty clear that MOSI have completely lost any interest in the hall and all their attention has shifted to the adjacent collections of engines, vehicles, locos, etc. I guess it's just a fact of life, and if people are too dim to find any interest in looking at static aircraft, then there's nothing MOSI can do about that. But I do worry that if they have lost interest in the aircraft, then there's a risk that some of them might not survive. The Shackleton must be the biggest worry as it would be extremely difficult and expensive to remove. Likewise, it would seem likely that the only place it could go is Cosford. To languish outdoors? I do hope that if the end is in sight for the aerospace collection, they will at least have the good grace to ensure that the aircraft survive. I also believe they have some archive material too - one would hope that this isn't simply dumped. www.aeroplaneicons.com

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They are a National Collection with processes and protocols for disposals. What makes you think that anything will be 'simply dumped'?

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age, experience and cynicism :)
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Do they still have a Spitfire there? MK.21 IIRC.
It was a Spit Mk.XIV (14), MT847. Displayed at Cosford at one time, then Manchester and has now been moved to Hendon.

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ISTR that the first time I visited they had a Spitfire V on display

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'Likewise, it would seem likely that the only place it could go is Cosford' Would it be impossible for it to go to Hendon or somewhere like East Fortune then?

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Hendon is unlikely (no room), and East Fortune isn't RAFM, so Cosford seems to be the only option. But all three have the same problem in that it would almost certainly mean external display. It would be a pretty sad outcome for a machine that has survived for so long indoors. Of course there's no guarantee that RAFM would even keep it if MOSI abandoned it. There have been stories about the Shackleton's future before but they were always dismissed. But having seen the display hall yesterday, I think anyone would agree that MOSI seem to have almost abandoned any interest in the aircraft. The Sycamore seemed to have disappeared, and there was of course still no sign of the aircraft that are supposedly stored for eventual display (such as the Tornado). Looking at the interior and exterior of the hall, it looks as if it will be emptied and pulled-down. But maybe there will be a miraculous improvement - who knows. All I know is that on the basis of what I saw yesterday, I wouldn't bet any money on the Shackleton (or anything else) being there this time next year. And if that does prove to be the case, where would it go? Languishing in the rain at Cosford doesn't sound like much of a future. www.aeroplaneicons.com

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The Shackleton is owned by the RAF Museum, it certainly has NOT been 'struck off charge' by them.
Raises a point for me. Are the RAFM owned by the museum or the RAF. Have they anything to do with the Air Force anymore?
Profile picture for user Johnny Kavanagh

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I was lucky enough to be shown round that hall late last year by a member of the management team, and at the time he said that the building needs work which they are fundraising for at the moment. The plan was for the hall to close whilst work on the building was completed and then re-open. I asked about the airframes and there were no plans for any disposals at that time, and he was looking forward to getting the building sorted and the hall and exhibits refreshed. I would imagine fundraising is continuing, and it will take time. It is true that the other halls are better presented, but they will have had money spent on them far more recently than the aviation hall - it's time will come again soon. I will agree, however, that this forward plan isn't communicated to the visitors. Anyone involved with a museum will have had similar experiences with hordes of kids being 'excitable' - the knack is to break up the groups and engage with them in small numbers. Not, sadly, what tends to happen on school visits. It is very easy for someone to make assumptions based on what they see - perhaps asking a few questions would elicit the facts of the matter rather than inventing worrying situations. How long before this thread pops up on a Google search?

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The RAF Museum and the RAF are separate entities. The RAF Museum is mainly funded through grant-in-aid directly from the MoD.

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They are a National Collection with processes and protocols for disposals. What makes you think that anything will be 'simply dumped'?
A Vulcan B1, a Victor, a Beverley.....shall i go on?

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I visited the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry yesterday to see the Shackleton.
Any pictures ?
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The Vulcan and Victor were seen as duplicates, and the Beverley was the RAF Hendon gate guard rather than a RAFM exhibit. It was a shame they were lost, but I also can't see how they could have been preserved.

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A Vulcan B1, a Victor, a Beverley.....shall i go on?
None of which has anything whatever to do with the Science Museum, who are the parent organisation of MOSI And as Ant has pointed out, the Beverley was never on the RAF Museum's books