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Discover Kingston’s aviation history

By River Reporter Dec 4, 2012

<--break->Jaime Gutiérrez

Kingston’s history in aviation began with aircraft designer Tommy Sopwith and his team who purchased the Roller Skating Rink in Kingston to build their first factory in 1912, which at the time was next to Kingston train station.

Since then, and until Richmond Road’s factory at Ham was closed in 1992, Kingston upon Thames designed the most important and effective airplanes for British history.

Joint-project leader David Hassard said: “The Art Exhibition is the next exciting stage in encouraging interest and a shared pride in Kingston’s aviation history.

“The project could not have achieved all this without the 80 volunteers so far involved and we are aiming for a full roster of volunteer stewards in the Art Gallery over the 28 days of the art exhibition.”

The exhibition set up by the Hawker Association’s Kingston Aviation Centenary Project team, covers the 100 year history of Kingston aircraft. It offers a rare opportunity to learn more about Kingston’s amazing aeronautical achievements whilst enjoying many wonderful works of art by leading aviation artists from 17 November to 12 January 2013.

The exhibition displays original paintings of early designed aircrafts from The Brooklands Museum. Other collections come from the BAE Systems Heritage and paintings by members of the prestigious Guild of Aviation Artists.

 No matter if you are an aviation enthusiast or you just enjoy with high quality works of art we are taken through the years and the exhibition aims to please all audiences. From Sopwith’s Bat Boat, Britain’s first flying boat, in 1913 to the 1971’s Hawker Siddeley Hawk, the last all-British aircraft into the Royal Air Force which is still operational.

Javier Garcia, an Erasmus aerospace-engineering student said: “It is a great opportunity for all students to learn and discover more about the aircraft industry in Kingston.”

The exhibition funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund is supported by many organisations and members of the aircraft industry have encouraged visits from schools and clubs.

Mr Hassard will also hold a talk titled From Technical Illustration to Fine Art on 1 December and 12 January at 2pm in the Museum Art Gallery, exploring the wide variety of ways in which Kingston designed aircraft have been portrayed over the last 100 years.

Booking will be required via Kingston Museum.

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