Post war plans and the abandonment of the City of London Airport at Fairlop

PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 September 2017

A short Central Line train between Fairlop and Barkingside in April 1955. Note the tank traps and allotments, beyond is the old airfield, eventually to become Fairlop Waters Country Park. Credit: Alan A Jackson

A short Central Line train between Fairlop and Barkingside in April 1955. Note the tank traps and allotments, beyond is the old airfield, eventually to become Fairlop Waters Country Park. Credit: Alan A Jackson


Towards the end of the Second World War, the government began to look at the requirements for civil Airports.

RAF Station Fairlop featured in these deliberations, and it became clear that developments in aircraft design and technology had increased so rapidly during the war, that new civil airports would have to be considerably larger than had been previously estimated.

It was decided that any future airport at Fairlop would not require access from a railway, as road access was now intended via a new road from Eastern Avenue to the south.

The hypothetical airport’s runway design would be laid out in the form of a capital letter ‘A’, with terminal buildings sited in the centre.

Before the war the airport scheme was being developed by the City Corporation, but now fell under the control of the Ministry of Aviation.

It was contemplated that Fairlop would be used both as overflow and emergency relief for the continually expanding Heathrow airport.

In 1952, the government announced that it had completed a review of aerodromes required to serve the London area.

The review had come to the conclusion that it was unlikely to be a requirement for the use of Fairlop.

Shortly after it published a White Paper.

It proposed Gatwick as the second London Airport and Fairlop was declared unsuitable for use as a civil airport.

In 1955, Ilford Borough Council purchased much of Fairlop Plain and soon after sand and gravel extraction began there.

During this time the former RAF site was used for a variety of leisure activities before its buildings were demolished and runways broken up.

Sand and gravel extraction continues to this day, but the worked out diggings on the site planned for Fairlop Airport and its new station have been in-filled and landscaped to form what is now Fairlop Waters Country Park and golf course.

Latest Ilford Stories

23 minutes ago

The latest news from the Thomas McCurtains GAA club


Ilford manager Martin Haywood feels his side deserved to walk away 2-0 winners but did praise struggling Tower Hamlets for their efforts.

The club will look to maintain their long tradition of competing in the first round proper by winning at Maidstone on Saturday


Lakeside Hammers are gearing up for a massive weekend as their drama-filled season comes to a spectacular conclusion.


Herons had last weekend off from league action


A man who stabbed an Ilford newsagent around 30 times in an unprovoked, “stuff of nightmares” attack has been convicted of attempted murder.


Peter Taylor will be praying Dagenham & Redbridge’s trip to Boreham Wood in the FA Cup on Saturday is a welcome break from Vanarama National League action after admitting his team’s start to the season has left him embarrassed.

20 minutes ago

Police and probation services are equipped to manage Ilford hate preacher Anjem Choudary following his release from prison tomorrow (Friday), Theresa May has said.


Struggling to find a buyer for your home in a slower market? We speak to Ilford property expert Nina Kaura from Portico about the Crossrail effect and why getting things right first time will get you the best price for your property.

Exchange Ilford is a shopping centre on a mission to make it a more welcoming and accessible place to the people of Redbridge.

An Ilford shoe retailer and podiatry practice is taking the next step with a move to a new shop just a few doors down.

Newsletter Sign Up

Ilford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now