wirral forums

Hooton Park

Posted By: chriskay

Hooton Park - 25th Nov 2007 10:26pm

Anyone else remember when this was Hooton Park airfield? I went to a couple of air displays there after the war. At one of them, probably early 1950's an aircraft crashed, but I can't remember the details. Later, up until my retirement in 2004, I used to service equipment in the Vauxhall labs there.

Cheers, Chris.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port - 26th Nov 2007 9:34am

In my last year at school, I went with a few mates to have a look at the remains of Hooton Airfield. Remember going in to an unlocked hanger and having a poke around in the cockpit of a partly stripped plane. Small fighter of some sort - I'm not a plane buff !

The site was a year or two away from being grabbed by Vauxhall I think.
Posted By: vw_kyle

Re: Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port - 26th Nov 2007 9:57am

interesting
Posted By: StuyMac

Re: Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port - 26th Nov 2007 10:34am

A couple of years ago the Hooton Hangers was cruise wirrals private meeting place wink

They used to open the visitor center up for drinks etc - there was a lot of its old history inside smile
Posted By: chriskay

Re: Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port - 26th Nov 2007 10:57pm

Originally Posted by Pinzgauer
In my last year at school, I went with a few mates to have a look at the remains of Hooton Airfield. Remember going in to an unlocked hanger and having a poke around


Fairly typical, Mike; don't suppose it would have made any difference if it had been locked grin

Cheers, Chris.
Posted By: AR_One

Re: Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port - 27th Nov 2007 11:57am

I don't personally remeber it as an airfield (I was only born in 1974!) but I do remember my Grandad telling me that he was based at the airbase during WW2.

He was there for quite a while getting his signals and radar training, I only worked out recently where it was though cos he thought that the airbase had been buried under the landfill near Eastham Rake. Sadly he's no longer with us so I can't take him for a nostalgic "reminici-package"!
Posted By: Mark

Re: Hooton Park - 27th Nov 2007 6:18pm

There are alot of firsts attached to Hooton Air Feild.

They have hundreds of storeys up there, and history as stuy says
watch out for any open days as they tell all its history.

Good bunch of volunteers up there.
Posted By: Pete_Robbo

Re: Hooton Park - 1st Jan 2009 5:49pm

Originally Posted by Mark
There are alot of firsts attached to Hooton Air Feild.

They have hundreds of storeys up there, and history as stuy says
watch out for any open days as they tell all its history.

Good bunch of volunteers up there.


yer is the bunkers there ?
Posted By: uptoncx

Re: Hooton Park - 1st Jan 2009 11:09pm

I'm sure most people here know the background of Hooton Park and Hooton Hall, but for anyone who doesn't, here is a very brief summary:

There have been two Hooton Halls, the first was built in 1488 and lasted until 1778 when the then owner, Sir William Stanley, had it demolished and a new mansion built from Storeton Stone. The house stood in 1,000 acres of Parkland.

In order to clear family debts, the estate was sold in the 19th century to Richard Naylor, a wealthy Liverpool banker. He enlarged and remodelled the house, and established a race course and polo ground on the estate.

[Linked Image]
Hooton Hall in 1914

In 1914, the hall and the estate were requisitioned by the Government for use as a military training ground. The 18th Battalion of the Kings Liverpool Regiment were stationed there. After their departure, the site was used as an aerodrome by the Royal Flying Corps. Many hundreds of pilots were trained at Hooton Park up until its closure in 1919. They left behind three 'Belfast Truss' hangars.

In 1927 the site was bought by Mr George Dawson, who tried to persuade Liverpool Corporation to use the site as a new Liverpool Airport. In fact, Hooton Park was the official Liverpool Airport from 1930 until Speke was opened in 1933.

Mr Dawson also helped to finance the Comper Aircraft and Pobjoy Airmotors factories in the old hangars. Comper Aircraft built the Swift light aircraft, these were powered by the radial piston engines built by Pobjoy in the hangar next door.

[Linked Image]
Comper C.L.A.7 Swift 1930

During this period the aerodrome was visited by many well known aviation names, including Amy Johnson, Sir Alan Cobham and Sir Sefton Brackner. During 1934 Midland and Scottish Air Ferries operated daily services to Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. On 1st August 1929, the Prince of Wales flew into Hooton on his way to the World Scout Jamboree at Arrowe Park.

[Linked Image]
Midland & Scottish Air Ferries plane at Hooton

From 1936 Hooton was home to No 610 (County of Chester) Squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force. The squadron flew biplane bombers, but just before the second world war they were equipped with Spitfires.

In the second world war Hooton played a role in the Battle of the Atlantic, with aircraft protecting convoys and shipping between South Wales and Scotland. Hooton was later used as an aircraft store and dismantling site. Over 500 aircraft, including Halifax heavy bombers made their final flights into Hooton, there to be scrapped.

After the war Hooton remained an RAF Station and was home to the Meteors of 610 and 611 squadrons and the Austers off 663 Squadron (all of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force). There was an annual air show which drew vast crowds. The 1954 show was marred by the crash of a Meteor of 610 which killed the pilot.

[Linked Image]
Gloster Meteor

During the war and in the post war period the aerodrome also housed Martin Hearn Ltd, who, at their peak, employed 5000 people repairing and servicing RAF aircraft.

In 1956 government cuts led to the disbanding of the squadrons and the closure of the RAF station. This ended Hooton Park's days as an aerodrome.

Following the closure, part of the site was used for the Cheshire Show for a few years, then Vauxhall Motors bought the site and, at a cost of £66 million, built their new factory.

In 1999 Vauxhall applied to extend car parking facilities at the plant, this would involve the demolition of the three grade 2 listed first world war hangars. As a result of the campaign launched by the Griffin Trust and the North West Aviation Heritage Museum, Vauxhall revised their plans, leaving the hangars untouched.

[Linked Image]



Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 1st Jan 2009 11:40pm

Thanks for that uptoncx, just to fill in with some pictures ...
first is original Hooton Manor
second (I believe) is the original part of the Second Hooton Hall
third is Hooton Park in 1950s


Description: Hooton Manor 1488-1778
Attached picture HootonManor1488to1778.jpg

Description: Hooton Hall 1812ish
Attached picture HootonHall1812-c03766.jpg

Description: Hooton Park 1950s
Attached picture HootonPark1950s-c03210.jpg
Posted By: Doctor_Frick

Re: Hooton Park - 2nd Jan 2009 7:57pm

Hooton park was known as Liverpool Airport if im not mistaken ?
Posted By: Mark

Re: Hooton Park - 2nd Jan 2009 7:58pm

Hooton Park - The History of a Thousand Years.

Click Me To view a scanned PDF Document.
Posted By: uptoncx

Re: Hooton Park - 2nd Jan 2009 8:35pm

Originally Posted by DoctorFrick
Hooton park was known as Liverpool Airport if im not mistaken ?


Officially for three years from 1930 to 1933, when Speke opened but it had served unofficially before that.



Posted By: greasby_lad

Re: Hooton Park - 29th Jan 2009 7:07pm

Hooton airfield - photos of the collapsed roof of one of the hangars - January 2009



Attached picture Hangar roof 397r.JPG
Attached picture Hangar roof 399 r.jpg
Posted By: Dava2479

Re: Hooton Park - 1st Feb 2009 12:43pm

Shame,I`m sure these buildings are assessed from time to time,so why was`nt there steps taken to avoid and prevent this from happening.
Posted By: Doctor_Frick

Re: Hooton Park - 1st Feb 2009 1:56pm

There not listed or anything mate. I was in Vauxhall the oether day and had a wander around the old buildings. There falling to bits as well.
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 17th Mar 2009 10:13pm

I went to see the hangers today, I was quite shocked to see them like the picture above, I don't see the point in keeping the two most northern hangers - they don't look salvageable, the other four look in fair condition though.



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Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 18th Mar 2009 12:06am

Priory?

"Later I was given a room in the Old Priory out-buildings along with the Tailor, the Cobbler, and the Laundry shop/counter etc. and what an opportunist group we were. The main Priory house was used as the W.A.A.F. billets, the entrance to which was directly opposite to mine and the tailor's door. How could we lose?!!"

Was there a priory at Hooton?
Posted By: Mark

Re: Hooton Park - 18th Mar 2009 12:07am

Well done with the pictures.

It seems to be suffering there now.
In some places its looking tidy and others in need of repair.

Good bunch of volunteers up there.
They were really helpful when we used to hold our car meets
up there every week.
Posted By: Mark

Re: Hooton Park - 18th Mar 2009 12:09am

If i remember Hooton means Priory or something like that.
Bob who would give the tours on open days i can remember him
saying how it got its name and a old stream or priory in days of old.

I'm probably a million miles away.
Posted By: bri445

Re: Hooton Park - 14th Nov 2009 6:32pm

Those hangars are probably of a type of construction called the Belfast Truss, a lightweight wooden form of roof construction which dates back to the First World War.

http://www.transportarchive.org.uk/...;searchitem=hangar&mtv=G1&pnum=1

I would have thought they were worth listing, being a part of our air heritage but I suppose they have now deteriorated too far to save. The most famous ones are at the Imperal War Museum at Duxford. The brick walls, butresses and door support pillars are identical as it was a standard design over a number of sites, e.g. RAF Duxford and Kirtley.
Posted By: bri445

Re: Hooton Park - 14th Nov 2009 7:04pm

Old D.Dalby woodcut of Hooton Hall, 1780. Poole Hall is in the distance to the right.

Attached picture Hooton_Hall_1780.jpg
Posted By: johncliffford

Re: Hooton Park - 8th Feb 2010 12:09am

Hi i do remember an aircrash ..at hooton!!!!!i went with my late father..a hawker hunter!!!
Posted By: chriskay

Re: Hooton Park - 8th Feb 2010 11:54am

Thanks for that. If it was a Hunter I guess it would be about 1953-55; it was before I went into the RAF in 1956.
Welcome to Wiki hi
Posted By: billy_anorak59

Re: Hooton Park - 8th Feb 2010 12:38pm

Pretty sure it was a Gloster Meteor:

F/Lt Robinson, Richard James (‘Little Robbie’) (R.Aux AF)
Killed in Meteor crash at Hooton Park 18/09/54


See:Clicky

Billy.
Posted By: chriskay

Re: Hooton Park - 8th Feb 2010 2:15pm

Looks fairly conclusive, Billy. Thanks.
Posted By: bazzoh

Re: Hooton Park - 9th Feb 2010 5:17pm

if i recall, the hangars are in fact listed - hence why vauxhall could'nt pull them down - looks like natures doing it for them!

Barry
Posted By: paranoidballoon

Re: Hooton Park - 9th Feb 2010 8:51pm

The Belfast type hangers and associated buildings, which together form the most comprehensive group of world war one airfield buildings remaining anywhere. English Heritage has listed the hangars and some of the associated buildings,are about to upgrade their listing status.( taken from History of RAF Hooton Park)
What a sad state they are in, I was told a few years ago they were full of asbestos and being left to rot. They are/were the biggest wooden span of their type in Europe.
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 14th Feb 2010 9:26am

Most of the management team resigned about three years ago because of unrest amongst the volunteer groups. The site has lost some very talented people and now seems to be drifting toward demolition and right under the noses of those who supposedly "care" about it's heritage.

Hooton Park has become a playground for those who tinker with old lorries, for those who surround themselves with aviation junk and for those who care more about political mischief-making than they do about generating any real contribution toward securing a viable future for the buildings.

As a testament to failure, Hooton Park survives (just about) but it wont survive for long and it wont survive without dispatching the "hobbyists" and replacing them with genuinely capable individuals who have a credible vision and a workable delivery plan for the site's future.



Posted By: biscansplums

Re: Hooton Park - 21st May 2010 8:15pm

I was at the hangars today picking up their tractor, and got chatting to one of the guys there. The hangars are listed because of the 'belfast truss' roofing. Apparently the trust "bought" the site for £1 from Vauxhall motors and part of the agreement is that as long as the hangars are standing, the site remains in the hands of the trust.

The second hangar as you enter the site has just has £220k spent on the roof and they are waiting for a further £220k from vauxhall motors as they said they will match any money spent pound for pound.

Anyway I had a real good nosey about and will have to go back to drop their mower off soon, so I'll take some snaps. This place really is a gem.
Posted By: SUExx

Re: Hooton Park - 21st May 2010 8:25pm

Went there last summer on mini u e , its an interesting place and haunted i believe.
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 24th Jun 2010 10:16am

The hangars are haunted by the ghost of Sir William Hooton (4th Earl of Stanley) who built the original Hooton Park estate in the 15th century. I did an overnight watch there with a paranormal group a few years ago and we found evidence of strange activity in the Griffiths Trust offices (which had been going on for years). Chris Growmore, who runs the site, said it was the ghost of Hooton Hall's old gardener, a man called Tommy, who's high pitched voice could be heard on winter nights coming from the Griffiths Trusts canteen (the former Royal Flying Core mess room).

Tommy had been the first of the Hooton Park estate workers to be killed in a flying accident, when a WW1 bi-plane had crash landed into a greenhouse Tommy had been working in - he and the pilot of the aircraft (a Canadian) had been killed instantly.

Over the years many strange things had occurred at the hangars but it wasn't until NAHM (National Aeronautical Heritage Museum) took over in 2000, that the full extent of the hauntings was known.

At board meetings (which were held at night time) directors of the trust would encounter "a very hostile atmosphere" at the hangars. At one meeting, there was a sudden power cut followed by the sound of a "demented female laugh" coming from the Griffiths Trust offices. Board members investigated but found nothing.

In 1842, Sir Richard Jones (2nd Earl Of Stockport) was visiting Hooton Hall with Sir George Brothwood (Earl of Knowsley) and in Sir Richard's diary, the following entry was made: 3rd June 1842 - "Richard and I found the old hall to be a stuffy place and not commodious to relaxation in any way. During the night, we were awoken by a fierce banging noise, emanating from the estate stable block. We felt compelled to investigate the commotion and found, to our disconcertion, a peculiar heavy mist had encompassed the outbuildings and the horses, contained therein, were in a state of great distress. As we held up our lamps to the front gate of the building, we clearly saw the initials S.H.H written, as if in blood, on the cold, hard, steel of the outer doorway. We returned to our bedroom with a feeling of melancholy and foreboding and made plans to leave the hall by first light on the following day".

Most commentators at the time deciphered the initials SHH as the ghostly visitation of Sir Howard Hardcastle (4th Earl of Chester) but others dismissed the theory, preferring to assign them instead to, "Save Hooton's Hangings", a message to the local squire who had proposed dismantling the gallows at The Hooton Arms Hotel and transferring all future punitive hangings to the city gallows at Chester (as a money saving scheme).

We'll never know the truth about hauntings at Hooton Park but the disturbances that started nearly 200 years ago at the old hall, still seem to be felt by people working there today.
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 25th Jun 2010 2:34am

Originally Posted by HangarSaver
NAHM (National Aeronautical Heritage Museum) took over in 2000


Are you sure? I believed GM gave the hangars to "The Hooton Park Trust" in 2000, I can't find any mention of NAHM anywhere.

I had assumed "Sir William Hooton - Lord of Hooton" built the original estate (as Hooton Manor) and it was passed on to the Stanley line through Margery Stanleigh, hence the 4th Earl of Stanley would be after this. Hooton Hall was built on the same site at a much later date for William Stanley, 5th Baronet.

There is a lot of confusion with the name William being dominant for a few hundred years in this family line.
Posted By: uptoncx

Re: Hooton Park - 25th Jun 2010 6:32am

Originally Posted by diggingdeeper
Originally Posted by HangarSaver
NAHM (National Aeronautical Heritage Museum) took over in 2000


Are you sure? I believed GM gave the hangars to "The Hooton Park Trust" in 2000, I can't find any mention of NAHM anywhere.



The NAHM is (or was) actually the North-West Aviation Heritage Museum group, it was based in the Hangers at Hooton and was, together with the Griffin Trust, one of the main opposers to Vauxhall Motors application to demolish the hangers in 1999. The Hooton Park Trust was formed in October 2000 to take ownership of the site when it was handed over.

Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 25th Jun 2010 7:09am

NAHM negotiated the deal with GM back in 2000 but HTP (Hooton Trust) became the owners. HPT are made up of the Griffiths Trust, NAHM and TPA (The Plane Colection).

I was refering to my notes made at the time of our overnight watch and all information was given to us by Chris Growmore and a little ginger haired lady who was called Julie (I think). We also spent some time with the Griffiths Trust but their chariman (Mike Davey) dismissed the hauntings as being "all in the mind". Mr Daveys assistant (Mrs Thomas) told us that there was an underground bunker at hooton park which had been top secret during the war and was later burried by GM. Mrs Thomas thought that the ghost stories had been invented by the ministry of war in order to distract attention from the noises coming from the underground bunker.

Bob Snow is the site tour guide and if you ever get the chance to visit, I'd take it if I were you. He knows about all the goings on there.
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 25th Jun 2010 9:30pm

Thanks for that Hanger - PM sent
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 8th Jul 2010 10:47pm

Looks like the U.G.L.E Group sent us all back in time - was it all a dream I wonder?

HS
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 10th Jul 2010 8:14am

I thought you'd all be interested in some fascinating facts about Hooton Park - all of which can be verified as "on-topic".

1. Hooton Park was used to train pigeons in WW1. They (the pigeons) were dropped from aero planes and had messages attached to them inside small leather wallets. An early form of intelligence sharing.

2. Hooton Park was used as a radio school during and after WW2. Men were trained to repair and build radio and radar devices of all types.

3. Hooton Park was sold to Vauxhall Motors in 1959. Other interest was shown in the site by Lockheed and Boeing (both of which would have guaranteed Hooton Park's continuation as a working airbase).

4. Hooton Park was considered for a name change after the second world war. The MOD (then the Ministry of War) considered Mersey Bank and Hooton Mount as possibilities. No change was made after it was decided that essential runway resurfacing was too expensive to undertake and the site was earmarked for closure.


THE VISITOR CENTRE AT HOOTON PARK (2006)


Attached picture img2055rn.jpg
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Jul 2010 7:49am

HOOTON PARK FROM THE AIR c1925.


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Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Jul 2010 8:01am

HANGAR 1 FROM HOOTON PARK HALL c1919


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Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Jul 2010 8:05am

HOOTON PARK BEING DEMOLISHED c1923


Attached picture slide0020image035.jpg
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Jul 2010 8:07am

HOOTON PARK c1900


Attached picture slide0005image006.jpg
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Jul 2010 8:10am

BETWEEN THE WARS


Attached picture slide0035image041.jpg
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Jul 2010 8:22am

CARAVANS AT HOOTON PARK c2008


Attached picture one.jpg
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Jul 2010 8:24am

HANGAR 2 c2007


Attached picture one.jpg
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Jul 2010 8:36am

Thanks for those pictures HangarSaver - I hadn't seen the 1919 picture from the roof before.
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Jul 2010 8:42am

A HUT AT HOOTON PARK c2008


Attached picture one.jpg
Posted By: StuyMac

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Jul 2010 8:56am

Do they still have various states of Merlin engines there?
Posted By: SUExx

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Jul 2010 10:47am

Yes great pics HS, Hooton park hall looked very grand.
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 17th Jul 2010 11:10am

It was very grand Sue and even grander inside:


Attached picture slide0006image007.jpg
Posted By: SUExx

Re: Hooton Park - 17th Jul 2010 12:02pm

Wow, it certinally was grand. Where exactly in relation to the hangers was the hall.
Posted By: Iknow

Re: Hooton Park - 17th Jul 2010 5:18pm

I find that most of the comment about the Hooton Park Trust to be untrue and must have been written by someone with a twisted sense of humour.
IKNOW.
Posted By: Iknow

Re: Hooton Park - 17th Jul 2010 5:24pm

The hall was to the Southwest of the First World War hangars. The three surviving hangars form a line ending in the Vauxhall factory site, if there had been a four hangar in the line that is where the hall stood.
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 17th Jul 2010 6:25pm

Iknow it's all true and for the record, Hooton Hall (Hooton Park) was built on the ground that is currently the old remaining runway (near to the black hanger). From the air, you can clearly make out the shape of the hall and if you look at the picture of the hangers from the hall roof, it's the derelict hanger you can see (which is the most northerly).

Perhaps a more practical approach Iknow, would be to tell us what you know, how much you know and where you discovered the information in the first place. Any chance of that Iknow?

HS


Attached picture topsecret.jpg
Posted By: RUDEBOX

Re: Hooton Park - 17th Jul 2010 8:59pm

Originally Posted by HangarSaver
Iknow it's all true and for the record, Hooton Hall (Hooton Park) was built on the ground that is currently the old remaining runway (near to the black hanger). From the air, you can clearly make out the shape of the hall and if you look at the picture of the hangers from the hall roof, it's the derelict hanger you can see (which is the most northerly).

Perhaps a more practical approach Iknow, would be to tell us what you know, how much you know and where you discovered the information in the first place. Any chance of that Iknow?

HS
hi iknow. Firstly welcome to wiki-enjoy.
I'd be interested in hearing your stories... :thumbup:
Posted By: greasby_lad

Re: Hooton Park - 17th Jul 2010 10:22pm

I've copied the Hall location from the tithe map onto a modern map and labelled the hangars "H" and Vauxhall Motors "VM".
The Hall had stood until the 1930s in an area later known to Vauxhall workers as the Rose Bowl, which was used for lunchtime football in the days when lunchbreaks were longer than now. This area had been lowered by about 30 feet to make it level with the factory floor when the plant was built in the 1960s. In recent years the land height of a large part of this area was raised again by the dumping of building debris when other parts of the factory were re-developed. Therefore no possibility of any archaeological finds.



Description: Hooton Hall site
Attached picture Hooton Hall location on modern map.jpg
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 18th Jul 2010 8:41am

Looks like I may have got my map upside down - the one above looks pretty accurate to me.

Wherever it was - it was grand alright and imagine if it was still there - we'd have a National Trust tourist attraction that would match the likes of Castle Howard or Tatton Park.

Hooton Park actually had four hangers (the fourth built later than the first three). It was a single bay Belfast truss shed (the others are twin bay) and I've indicated it's position on the aerial shot (c 1948).

POST WAR AERIAL c1948

[Linked Image]

SURVIVING SINGLE BAY BELFAST TRUSS SHED IN WORCESTERSHIRE


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Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 18th Jul 2010 2:04pm

This is a rare print of Hooton Park drawn by Paul Sandby from “A Collection of One Hundred and Fifty Select Views, in England, Scotland and Ireland”, published in 1781. The house was later extended but this
particular view clearly shows Pool Hall in the distance.


Attached picture oldhooton.jpg
Posted By: Iknow

Re: Hooton Park - 29th Jul 2010 10:19pm

The information about the position of the hall is from a map of the area that pre dates the hangars, and the hall was nearst to hangar number 1 and the site is now within the Vauxhall factory grounds.
Posted By: Iknow

Re: Hooton Park - 29th Jul 2010 10:24pm

I believe that the Hooton Park Trust are at the request of English Heritage holding pre booked tours for two days only in early September.
Posted By: Capt_America

Re: Hooton Park - 29th Jul 2010 10:24pm

There are tours of the hangers advertised in the heritage stuff posted elsewhere. Welcome to the machine iknow.
Posted By: uptoncx

Re: Hooton Park - 3rd Aug 2010 6:20pm

Originally Posted by Iknow
I believe that the Hooton Park Trust are at the request of English Heritage holding pre booked tours for two days only in early September.


Hooton Park will be open on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September 2010 as part of the Wirral History and Heritage Association open days (nothing to do with English Heritage).

Conducted tours will be held at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on each day, booking is not required.

For full details of this and other places open as part of the Wirral Heritage Open Days between the 9th and 12th September 2010, click here.

Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 5th Aug 2010 8:24am

Has anybody had a look at Hooton Park's web site? It's appalling!

I don't think it's been updated in years, it has no information on the forthcoming guided tours and considering the site's historic importance, the information it contains is sketchy and in some parts, inaccurate.

Heritage Lottery Fund, Ellesmere Port council and English Heritage subsidise this project and we all (us tax payers) contribute toward those funds. Hooton Park has an obligation to provide access to the buildings and to the heritage they represent. It seems to me that nobody at the Trust cares about sharing the asset, they seem only to be interested in protecting it for the small group of aviation and transport enthusiasts who use the buildings for their hobby.

Somebody needs to look into how Hooton Park is funded and how that funding is used to benefit the wider community.
Posted By: Iknow

Re: Hooton Park - 7th Aug 2010 9:00am

Thank you for the information its about time that some one has some correct info. I was told that because of limited access that it would be pre booked tours only, I suggest that any body putting information about Hooton Park (Trust)on this site should book early.
Posted By: QUEST4TRUTH

Re: Hooton Park - 19th Aug 2010 3:18pm

I agree with you hangar saver about hoooton park trust board somebody important needs to ask them the following
the real reason why 610 squadron association were asked to leave hooton
why is the board allowing their aviation enthuiast friends on the site on the cheap
why does the board know have majority of members who belong to griffin trust
why do they go on about health and safety and break the rules themselves just look at them working on their latest project
Why do they offer secure storage and then allow all types to wander through and photograph the place
just a few questions that i believe Hooton Park Trust board should be made to answer

Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 19th Aug 2010 4:28pm

In reply to QUEST4TRUTH ...

I know there were some very difficult "conflict of interests" between the hanger people and the aircraft people, also there was some disagreement about Hooton gradually turning into a transport museum/workshop.

I think the board is happy to get any cash in at the moment, things are looking quite bleak.

Although I have "wandered through" on two occasions, we were not allowed in the secure storage, also there were other places we weren't allowed to photograph - just because it is secure it doesn't mean it can't have supervised visits, think of any museum!

610 Sqdn Association are back at Hooton (or about to be).

If you are that concerned, volunteer, help them out! its much more productive.

BTW - I have nothing to do with Hooton Trust, Griffin Trust, 610 Sqdn Assoc or Vauxhalls. As far as I am aware I have no connection with the place other than a twice visitor.

The trust is a registered charity and as such, their minutes and finances are in the public domain, if you wish to find out some of your answers.
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 19th Aug 2010 10:51pm

The Hooton Park Trust is NOT a charity - it is a not-for-profit company (limited by guarantee) - big difference.

If it was a charity, it would be required to have stated aims that comply with The Charity Commission rules. As a not-for-profit company, they can do whatever they like with Hooton Park, so long as no individual benefits directly from any income they manage to generate.

The Trust enjoys exemption from business rates, even though it operates a commercial storage activity at the site. This not only gives them an unfair advantage over similar storage facilities in the area but it affords the Trust the ability to continue operating the site for a select group of hobbyists who pay no subscription or rent for their facilities. HMRC, Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and others, are using tax payers money to subsidise and repair workshop facilities for a few aviation and transport enthusiasts who are not answerable to anybody except to the Hooton Park Trust board of directors (the Company).

Vauxhall Motors gave the site to HPT on the understanding that it would be used to benefit the local and regional community - in reality, the site has become a playground and haven for a small band of enthusiasts who play at politics and tinker around with old lorries and bits of rusty aero planes, whilst excluding the very community they were set-up to benefit. Somebody needs to expose this obscene use of a valuable heritage asset before it's left to rot still further around those people who purport to be engaged in saving it.



Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 19th Aug 2010 11:27pm

Apologies - you are quite correct, despite various reports, The Hooton Trust is not a registered charity.

They received a grant of £34,000 from The Heritage Lottery Fund.

English Heritage (whose official name is The Historic Buildings And Monuments Commission) don't seem to display records of grants and loans - which is very naughty.

The Griffin Trust is a registered charity but don't seem to have much money at the moment.

As I have said before, I and others have been made most welcome when we have just turned up at Hooton. The secure storage is virtually their only source of income apart from relying on grants etc that are notoriously difficult to obtain and certainly can't be called dependable income.
Posted By: SUExx

Re: Hooton Park - 20th Aug 2010 4:39am

[quote=diggingdeeper]
As I have said before, I and others have been made most welcome when we have just turned up at Hooton.

we certinally were, and were asked if we would like a tour round the place to which we said yes..

Open day on sat/sun 11th/12th sept with tours at 11am 1pm 3pm, no booking required.
Posted By: QUEST4TRUTH

Re: Hooton Park - 20th Aug 2010 9:47am

In reply 610 squadron association are not back at hooton hangars they were taken in by someone connected to the black hangar down the road GOOD LUCK TO 610 IN THEIR NEW PLACE.

Recently I paid a visit to Hooton Park and was upset that the place was not what it used to be having visted the site on previously held open days the place was a hive of activity. I asked the tour guide what the aim of the restoring the buildings was he said that the long term aim of the trust was to provide Conference and Seminar facilities inside the hangars and also put one hangar for aviation heritage not to become a storage facility. At no point did he mention how the local community was to benefit from these wonderful but sadly neglected buildings. I also got chatting to another volunteer who worked in the office he said he was the manager he also said that the aviation groups on site were always to be made welcome and they had been given a couple of buildings for their useage.

One of the transport groups on site I saw during my visit I was informed do pay an full annual storage fee on a yearly basis for each person that is in the group.

I was not allowed to look in the Griffin Trust area.

As a person who a few years back stored their caravan at Hooton. My husband and I were told by the that no visitors were allowed in any of the storage areas nor was any photography allowed near the caravans or other storage vehicles as this comprimised site security.

The present board should be ashamed of themselves for allowing the site to go the way it has and all should resign and allowed new people in with fresh ideas to take over running the place.
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 23rd Aug 2010 7:13am

There seems to be some confusion as to what Hooton Park should be and how the Trust was designed to operate. It's all very well welcoming the odd visitor to Hooton Park (as the Trust does) but what are they welcoming you to? The answer is simple, they are welcoming you to a collection of semi-derelict buildings which have been divided up between a disparate collection of hobbyist groups and to a caravan storage facility that provides funds for the accommodation for those groups.

The original concept for a secure storage facility was to fund (from the income) capable individuals who would apply for grants and devise a long-term strategy for the renovation of the hangars. Over the last eight years, Hooton Park has been in receipt of over £200,000 of public money (matched by Vauxhall Motors pound for pound) and approximately £400,000 it has raised itself from secure storage. Vauxhall Motors funded the Trust to the tune of £800,000 in their original transfer agreement in 2000 to help the Trust establish itself.

The Trust are well on their way to have spent over 1 million pounds in it's short history and what benefit has that money had on the buildings? Very little!

If you allow enthusiasts to take charge of a very complicated and cash-hungry project such as this one, the results are predictable and the outcome is certain - The Hooton Park Trust will fail to save the buildings and they will be demolished.

Some posters on this thread seem to be defending Hooton Park simply because they, "welcome visitors". Well that's all fine and dandy but one day - and one day soon - there'll be no Hooton Park to welcome visitors to and the collection of enthusiast groups who currently occupy the place will be leaching off some other land owners and practicing their politics under other subsidised roofs.
Posted By: QUEST4TRUTH

Re: Hooton Park - 23rd Aug 2010 11:54am

Hangar Saver you seem well informed on Hooton Park Trust History.

I have to agree that sadly unless something is done very soon to save these historic buildings they will be lost forever.

Some of the onsite enthusiast groups/people are more interested in serving there own purposes and if the buildings collapsed then they would just simply move elsewhere without a backward glance.

But do not condemn all the groups at Hooton as there are non aviation people at Hooton who want to be there without the need to take part in griffin/hooton/aviation/610 mischief making, or are there because they have nowhere else to go. Sadly it is these people who do not receive thanks from the powers that be at Hooton for their contined support because the powers that be are to busy with their own agenda and seeing anyone outside their group as not to be trusted or someone to look down on.

Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 23rd Aug 2010 4:12pm

I am not defending the Hooton Trust outright, for the hangar to collapse whilst it was in their care is damn near a crime and another one may still well collapse.

Most of my defensive comments have been in response to mis-leading comments such as "whilst excluding the very community they were set-up to benefit"

If you want to bring the hangar projects back to reality then people have to be fully aware of the truth (say's me who misled on the 610 Sqn return noonoo ).

£400,000 income from secure storage is very impressive.

A lot of money was spent on the smaller buildings, presumably as an investment for "tourism", which is one of a number of reasonable strategies to make.

One concern I still have is that it would be in Vauxhall's interests on at least two counts, if the hangar project/Hooton Trust failed.

Why did the transport show stop happening there? I guess that got messed up in the political fallout.
Posted By: HangarSaver

Re: Hooton Park - 24th Aug 2010 8:28am

"Whilst excluding the very community they were set-up to benefit", is actually a very reasonable summing up of Hooton Park's attitude to the outside world.

The Trust see themselves these days as overseeing the involvement of small enthusiast groups at the site and have missed the opportunity to share the asset with a wider audience. Income derived from caravan storage is hijacked currently because it's intended use (employing capable bid writers) becomes secondary to indulging aviation and transport hobbyists with covered accommodation for their "projects".

It is a red-herring to suggest that Vauxhall Motors want to see Hooton Park fail. They gave the Trust £800,000 of cash support in their transfer agreement and handed over a site worth i.r.o £3,000,000. Smart business doesn't do things like that in order to see failure at the end of the day, they do it to invest in something that will deliver returns. The return would have been a successful tourist attraction that reflected well on a company who's commitment to Ellesmere Port has always been consistent and who's generosity toward the local community is very well documented.

It is a sad day for us (local people) when misguided politics at such a trivial level (as practiced currently at Hooton Park), becomes the vehicle of destruction for one of our most impressive and important regional relics. The history of aviation and wartime endeavor at Hooton Park was used as a battering ram against Vauxhall's attempts to demolish the site in 1999, another one is needed now but aimed directly at The Hooton Park Trust, The Griffin Trust and affiliated, indulged hobbyists.
Posted By: QUEST4TRUTH

Re: Hooton Park - 24th Aug 2010 1:43pm

I have read with continued interest the mention of enthusiasts that use Hooton Hangars to serve their own hobby.

Yes there are as its been put "indulged hobbyists" at Hooton Park who use the site for their own aviation interests, but these groups are all connected to the Hooton Park Trust Board either by sitting on the board or by on good terms with the board. These are given priority over others on site, who do have a hobby but do not indulge in the continued politcal and mischief making that goes on at Hooton Park. Do not condemn everyone at Hooton Park that has a hobby as they are all not indulged hobbyists. The present board consists of members of these indulged hobbyist groups no one person is on that board is there to serve the good of the site. The present board needs to do the honurable thing resign and pass control of Hooton Park Trust to people who can inject fresh ideas in to the project. In the past the project has had some excellent volunteers that have worked hard to keep the site going over time all these have gone or it may sound dramatic but have been cast aside because their face does not fit.

I have not read in recent month (except for Cheshire Life) one person from Hooton Park Trust Board come forward and say this is the volunteer work that goes on at Hooton Park without the need to include a pat on the back for themselves or include promotion for their own groups (no need to mention any names here)

The history of Hooton Park goes further than aviation and wartime if anyone did their reasearch they would find this out.



Posted By: QUEST4TRUTH

Re: Hooton Park - 24th Aug 2010 1:51pm

I have read with continued interest the mention of enthusiasts that use Hooton Hangars to serve their own hobby.

Yes there are as its been put "indulged hobbyists" at Hooton Park who use the site for their own aviation interests, but these groups are all connected to the Hooton Park Trust Board either by sitting on the board or by on good terms with the board. These are given priority over others on site, who do have a hobby but do not indulge in the continued politcal and mischief making that goes on at Hooton Park. Do not condemn everyone at Hooton Park that has a hobby as they are all not indulged hobbyists. The present board consists of members of these indulged hobbyist groups no one person is on that board is there to serve the good of the site. The present board needs to do the honurable thing resign and pass control of Hooton Park Trust to people who can inject fresh ideas in to the project. In the past the project has had some excellent volunteers that have worked hard to keep the site going over time all these have gone or it may sound dramatic but have been cast aside because their face does not fit.

I have not read in recent month (except for Cheshire Life) one person from Hooton Park Trust Board come forward and say this is the volunteer work that goes on at Hooton Park without the need to include a pat on the back for themselves or include promotion for their own groups (no need to mention any names here)

The history of Hooton Park goes further than aviation and wartime if anyone did their reasearch they would find this out.

Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 24th Aug 2010 2:16pm

Originally Posted by QUEST4TRUTH
The history of Hooton Park goes further than aviation and wartime if anyone did their reasearch they would find this out.


But there is nothing left of the pre-aviation Hooton on that side of the motorway apart from a couple of gate-posts belonging to a secondary entrance, and the destroyed foundations of the Priory. Within the Trust's site there is nothing left at all apart from documents.
Posted By: QUEST4TRUTH

Re: Hooton Park - 24th Aug 2010 2:31pm

what I meant to say was that when Hooton Park is mentioned people tend to say about its aviation history without mentioning the full history of the area that includes the fact yes there was a stately home there demolished approx 1925 this was there when the hangars were first built, the racecourse that was there yes I know this is lost under vauxhalls. Buses and other large vehicles that were built/ there way before vauxhalls arrived. Part of the former Hooton Hall estate that still exists in Hooton Lane and surrounding roads. All this makes Hooton Park what it is not just the aviation history people connect with the place.
Posted By: Historybook

Re: Hooton Park - 11th Sep 2010 1:10pm

Small scan from a set of old O.S maps i have, the map's are updated 1833 one's, i think they date from somewhere between 1850 and 1860 going from which railways are included and which ones are not!.
The red lines are the local boundrys, these and other things on O.S maps could be highlighted by hand when new at extra cost !.

Hooton Hall area.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: leelad03

Re: Hooton Park - 25th Sep 2010 8:43pm

is Hooton Hall still standing?
Are you allowed to go on Hooton park? laugh
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 25th Sep 2010 8:46pm

Hooton hall was demolished between WW1 and WW2, parts of Hooton Park are public right of way. Of the rest most of it is Vauxhalls, some is the go-kart track, some is Hooton Park Trust and the rest is vacant industrial.

PM me with what you are interested in with Hooton Park.
Posted By: QUEST4TRUTH

Re: Hooton Park - 27th Sep 2010 2:09pm

Anyone checked out the new look Hooton Park Trust Website. Same old drivel just with a different look. Even put a photo on the website of them all on the roof not a hard hat or harness between them.
Posted By: davew3

Re: Hooton Park - 27th Sep 2010 2:20pm

Interesting map,it shows a bridge or something crossing the road to the house with the walled garden.
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 27th Sep 2010 4:34pm

That map IS interesting, it would appear to be wildly inaccurate - or it is an attempt at reproduction of an earlier Hooton Hall (before it became Hooton Park).

Hooton Park Farm is missing.
Hooton Hall itself is too small.
The main drive to Childer Thornton is shown as "squiggly"
It has the racing stables, but these aren't connected to any potential racing tracks.

Posted By: Nomad

Re: Hooton Park - 27th Sep 2010 10:55pm

When was the road built that goes from the bottom left of the letter E in eastham to the square wood? and when was it closed?


Nomad
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 27th Sep 2010 11:01pm

Its still there - its the drive to Hooton Mount/Glyder club doesn't go the square wood on the map though!

Unless you mean the track that is there, but isn't on the map - that was a railway line.
Posted By: Nomad

Re: Hooton Park - 27th Sep 2010 11:23pm

neither it was a road that started just after the glyder . you can see a tree like avenue, plus i seem to remember a pill box
Posted By: Nomad

Re: Hooton Park - 27th Sep 2010 11:37pm

Here is a link to an aerial shot,
http://www.content-delivery.co.uk/aviation/airfields/HootonPark.html

You can see where the road use to be, there is a map on this site somewhere that shows it

And there is a pill box on it

It goes from the R in rivacre Road down to banksfield drive

Nomad
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 28th Sep 2010 12:19am

I guess it was in 1939 when Hooton Mount was used as the Sgts Mess for Hooton Park.

I thought there was a railway line going up as far as the pill box but can't find evidence of that now, the remains of two lines are beside this by the (oil) tank farm
Posted By: Nomad

Re: Hooton Park - 28th Sep 2010 12:39am

As you can see on the map there is a tree line avenue, which is banked this precedes the railway line and has a pill box on it, pop down and we can explore it
Posted By: Nomad

Re: Hooton Park - 28th Sep 2010 12:40am

Oh I see I have been promoted!!! Now a "Member" !!!
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 28th Sep 2010 1:01am

Originally Posted by Nomad
As you can see on the map there is a tree line avenue, which is banked this precedes the railway line and has a pill box on it, pop down and we can explore it
I'll dig my photies out wink
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hooton Park - 28th Sep 2010 1:14am

You mean this pillbox


Attached picture IMG_1212-s.jpg
Attached picture IMG_1213-s.jpg
Attached picture IMG_1214-s.jpg
Attached picture IMG_1215-s.jpg
Posted By: Iknow

Re: Hooton Park - 5th Oct 2010 10:05am

I take it no one noticed the scaffolding around the building put up at great expence.
Posted By: Iknow

Re: Hooton Park - 5th Oct 2010 10:17am

F/Lt Robinson of 610 squadron crashed during an air display in 1953.
Posted By: Iknow

Re: Hooton Park - 5th Oct 2010 10:26am

The three main hangars at Hooton Park are Grade Two ** (2 star) listed by English Heritage.
Posted By: Iknow

Re: Hooton Park - 28th Oct 2010 6:35pm

The hangars at Hooton Park are of the Belfast truss type and are Grade Two ** (Two Star)listed and have been for some time.

They were completed in September 1917.
Posted By: Iknow

Re: Hooton Park - 30th Oct 2010 12:28pm

I've heard that it is possible to book a guided tour of Hooton Park (Trust). 0151-327-3565.
According to what I've been told that at sometime in the future there will be a charge for the tours, at the moment only a donation is requested.
So for all you doubtors and knockers of this small band of volunteers who are doing their very best to save this historic aviation site for the nation, get on a tour and get the truth first hand.
Posted By: SUExx

Re: Hooton Park - 30th Oct 2010 12:33pm

Been and done the tour, very interesting it was too.
Posted By: yantodavid

Re: Hooton Park - 17th Nov 2010 7:04pm

I was there at the airshow in the 1950,s,remember seeing a flypast of Meteors of the RAF,they came over the aifield and banked towards the river to turn back and one of them banked and carried on and dived into the ground,somewhere near the woods by Vauxhall motors.Hope my memory is right,anybody have any thoughts,on the incident.
Posted By: chriskay

Re: Hooton Park - 18th Nov 2010 10:22am

From the records of 610(County of Chester)squadron.

F/Lt Robinson, Richard James (‘Little Robbie’) (R.Aux AF)
Killed in Meteor crash at Hooton Park 18/09/54

I was there too.
Posted By: w10694

Re: Hooton Park - 14th Nov 2011 10:08pm


Aerial View 1945, with numerous parked up redundant aircraft:

Attached picture HootonPark_1945.jpg
Posted By: Nomad

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Nov 2011 12:10am

Thats almost more planes in one place than the current RAF has altogether

Nomad
Posted By: hoseman

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Nov 2011 8:44am

Originally Posted by w10694
Aerial View 1945, with numerous parked up redundant aircraft:

[Linked Image]


Just after the war, they were waiting for disposal, to be broken up!!!!
During the war, Hooton was used as a repair base, and dissarnament site. when the planes were dropped off their ammunition etc were removed and placed in a pond just on the outskirts of the base!!!! Wonder whatever happened to it after that, what lies below???
Posted By: w10694

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Nov 2011 10:15am

"Swords into Ploughshares" springs into mind.

I know that Vampires and Meteors from Hooton used the Burton Marsh bombing range in the 50's and 60's.
Posted By: woodley

Re: Hooton Park - 15th Nov 2011 12:08pm

Originally Posted by chriskay
From the records of 610(County of Chester)squadron.

F/Lt Robinson, Richard James (‘Little Robbie’) (R.Aux AF)
Killed in Meteor crash at Hooton Park 18/09/54

I was there too.
I was at that airshow too and although my memory is dim of events that day, I remember it as chriskay described it. I couldn't figure out why I didn't remember "The Hall" till I read further and found it had been demolished before my time. I suppose Rivacre Rd. has long gone now along with Rivacre Valley swimming baths. VERY sad.
Posted By: Kelvin

Re: Hooton Park - 21st Apr 2012 12:24pm

It has taken me a few years to discover this but...
I vividly remember as a 7 year old being at this display with my father and an uncle. The show was great and I remember they had set up a small brick building to demonstrate bombing, although I suspect there were explosives planted around the area, simulating bombing, rather than real bombs. I watched this Meteor diving in the direction of the building and it carried on diving until it hit the ground. I don't remember much in the way of sounds but the image of this aircraft just disappearing before my eyes and the huge pall of smoke has stuck with me all these years.
I remember saying something to my father along the lines of "Wow, that was amazing but where's the plane?" His reply was a simple "Come on, we have to go home now" and he never spoke about it again.
As I say, the memory of it has stuck with me all these years yet it was only today I discovered the details of the aircraft etc.
Those, as they say, were the days. The Hooton air show with Spitfires etc and the new fangled jet Meteors. As a boy growing up in Little Neston, we used to see a lot of vapour trails from the Meteors & Vampires etc from the many airfields around the area.
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