RAF Defford Museum

What’s happening in 2014?

Can you help? We are now recruiting volunteers. Find out more.

The RAF Defford Museum will open on Sunday September 28th 2014 and fulfil a long cherished dream of DAHG members.

Plans were put in place to start building work in early Spring 2014 on the restoration of the Decontamination Annexe of RAF Defford in Croome Park to accommodate the ‘RAF Defford Museum’.

Former Decontamination Annexe, RAF Defford, now at Croome, Worcestershire

Former Decontamination Annexe, RAF Defford, Croome, Worcestershire in summer 2013.

On May 16th 2014, the restored Decontamination Annexe was formally handed over to the National Trust at Croome by the contractors, Croft Building and Conservation. The historic building has been restored externally to its 1942 appearance, but adapted internally to house the Museum.

RAF Defford Museum building, the exterior restored to its 1942 appearance, in May 2014

RAF Defford Museum building, the exterior restored to its 1942 appearance, in May 2014

RAF Defford Museum building looking through to the restored interior, in May 2014

RAF Defford Museum building looking through to the restored interior, in May 2014

The museum will tell the fascinating story of RAF Defford during World War II and the Cold War years, emphasising its vital role in the flight testing of secret radar systems devised by scientists at the Telecommunications Research Establishment at Malvern. It will also describe the part played by the station in the social history of rural Worcestershire, and the way in which the construction of the airfield dramatically changed the landscape of Croome Park, now owned by the National Trust.

An outreach and education programme is an essential part of the project, enabling us to tell the story of RAF Defford to local groups and societies, and most importantly to young people in schools, colleges and universities. The project will also bring a wide range of new volunteer opportunities to the National Trust at Croome, in setting up and running the museum, carrying out historical research, and assisting with the outreach activities. To find out more about volunteering, please contact us.
The Museum is now on course to open to the public on Sunday, September 28th.

To follow our progress on the Museum plans, see our News page updates.

Comments and suggestions on this project are welcome via our ‘Contact Us‘ page.

The Museum team

The project is being driven by a Project Board appointed by the National Trust, comprising Michael Smith (the Property Manager at Croome) as Chairman, Dennis Williams and Bob Shaw from DAHG. The professional Project Manager is Sarah Fowler, an experienced surveyor, who reports to Michael Smith and to Shaun Wilkes, Resident Surveyor in overall charge at Croome.

Dennis Williams, the DAHG Archivist, is appointed by the National Trust as Custodian of the new Museum.

The building project was put out to tender in early November 2013. As an outcome the contractors Croft Building and Conservation Ltd were appointed by the National Trust to carry out the delicate and sensitive work of restoring the Decontamination Annexe to as near as possible its 1942 appearance, while adapting it to accommodate the Museum and meet modern requirements such as thermal insulation – and ensuring that bats, a protected species, are not disadvantaged!

The whole project has been made possible by a generous grant and on-going support and encouragement from the Evesham-based firm Severn Waste Services through the Landfill Communities Scheme, administered by the Pershore-based charity Welcome to our Future.

In May 2014, Defford Airfield Heritage Group received the news that we have been awarded an ‘Our Heritage’ grant of £82,900 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to fund the interior of the buildings, its fixtures, fittings and displays and carry out an education and outreach programme over three years.