The Aeroplane Collection
NAPS had premises in several locations, Stockport, Irlam and Peel Green. As the Society evolved it became necessary to protect the pockets of the membership and therefore in 1974 the Northern Aircraft Preservation Society became The Aeroplane Collection Limited, company limited by guarantee and a registered charity.
Both Irlam and later Peel Green fell to re-development and after a brief spell at Hadfield in an old mill, found a home for 10 years at Warmingham in Cheshire. By this time the Collection had grown considerably with both aircraft and aero engines. Again we were forced to move on with Warmingham going the same way as Irlam and Peel Green, Hooton Park beckoned us next a move of considerable distance from our birth place in Stockport. Hooton Park was a First World War airfield on the Wirral and occupied by the Griffin Trust (GT). We located into hangar 3, but this was not to last with problems with Vauxhall Motors (owners of the site) and sub letting. Our collection would be scattered far and wide.
The one exception was Auster J.1n G-AJEB. This aircraft was found a home at the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester and would be joining Avian G-EBZM already there. For the next few years 'JEB was worked on by the group in the Air & Space Gallery in full public view.
The Aeroplane Collection's aircraft and artefacts are at several locations. The principle aircraft exhibits The Avro Avian, DeHavilland Rapide, replica Avro Triplane, HM13 Pou de Ciel and Bensen B8M gyrocopter are all exhibited at The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester where they are on loan. We have five aircraft at Hooton Park the restored Auster J1N G-AJEB, the current restoration projects are the twin engine Miles Gemini and the single engine Miles Messenger both wooden aircraft built in 1947, Parker CA4 G-AFIU and de Havilland Vampire XD624. We have a cockpit section of a Fairey Gannet which is used at local shows. An extensive book and technical library is slowly being centred at Hooton having been stored in TAC member's homes for many years. It is hoped that this research material will be available once catalogued and Hooton Park is fully operational. The engine collection is on loan at 8 sites with The Solway Aviation Museum, Caernarvon Aviation Museum, Classic Air Force, Midland Aviation Museum, RAF Museum Cosford, Hooton Park Trust, East Midlands Aeropark, North East Land, Sea and Air Museum . In addition to the items listed above for many years TAC has acted as a clearing house passing on collected airframes to other groups for restoration. This has included at least 6 Vampire Jets, a DHC Chipmunk, Bell 47 Sioux helicopter, Avro Avian, Dragon Rapide, BA Swallow, 3 Slingsby Gliders, Gloster Meteor, 2 micro lights, Cessna 150, M.S. Rallye and 3 Auster airframes.
TAC is fully committed to supporting The Hooton Park Trust in their objective to restore the hangars and to provide access to as wide a range of people as possible to the site and its heritage. In return for its support TAC hopes that facilities will be available for it to continue its restoration work. With the experience gained at Manchester we know that a restoration project which visitors have access to is a visitor draw and a means of encouraging audience participation in preserving heritage and history. As TAC enters its next half century we increasingly see our future efforts being concentrated on single restoration projects either for Hooton Park or for other museums and groups who have the space and facilities to look after them properly but lack the necessary skills or work space for restorations.