Centre flies the history flag

Nigel Whitehead, group managing director for Programmes and Support at BAE Systems, opens the heritage centre in Warton with heritage centre manager Ian Lawrenson, right

Nigel Whitehead, group managing director for Programmes and Support at BAE Systems, opens the heritage centre in Warton with heritage centre manager Ian Lawrenson, right

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Fylde’s aircraft making tradition is being celebrated at a new heritage centre.

BAE Systems has officially opened the new centre at its Warton site to house decades worth of aviation production history.

Our new centre will ensure we continue to preserve the rich history of these sites

The site has long been the base for the company’s team of archivists and enthusiasts and the centre will provide a focus for their activities.

The team has collected and stored information, pictures and footage of some of the proudest moments in the rich history of the company’s sites across Lancashire for the past two decades.

The previous centre had to be moved to make way for the Lancashire Enterprise Zone and the new building contains a wealth of historical records and footage, including displays on the Experimental Aircraft Programme (EAP) - the forerunner to the Eurofighter Typhoon - and information on every development from the very first aircraft to be built at the old Preston and Lytham sites, right up to BAE Systems’ Military Air and Information business’ world leading programmes of today at Warton and Samlesbury.

Centre volunteers are also involved in producing a number of books on the history of Warton, Preston, Samlesbury and other Lancashire sites.

These include volumes on test flying in the county and upcoming histories of the EAP and of the two men at the start of Lancashire’s aircraft industry, William Bruce Dick and John Kerr.

Nigel Whitehead, group managing director for Programmes and Support at BAE Systems, formally opened the new facility.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, he said: “I welcome the arrival of this new facility in the centre of what we do at Warton.

“BAE Systems is proud of its heritage, which continues to inspire and inform the technologies we are developing for tomorrow. Our new heritage centre is a celebration of our incredible track record of aerospace innovation.”

Ian Lawrenson, BAE Systems’ Warton Heritage Centre Manager, said: “The new heritage centre will ensure that we continue to preserve and promote the rich history of these sites.

“The new premises offers an active archive, allowing people to research aircraft and find out more about the Company’s achievements of the past that are still inspiring the technologies of tomorrow.”