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.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ilford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ilford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ilford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Ilford Stories


Essex batsman Varun Chopra was delighted to do his bit for the team in their Royal London One-Day Cup win over Somerset at Chelmsford on Friday night.

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this bank holiday weekend? Watch our three-minute Met Office video forecast.

Last week I told you that I was leaving one radio station. Like a bad smell but in audio form, I’m hard to get rid of.

It is perhaps unthinkable to suggest that we could become inured to the horror of the loss of so many young lives on our streets recently; however, the memory of these incidents, the pain and distress they have caused will become less acute with the passage of time.

Yesterday, 21:31

A monumental innings of 160, the highest List A score of his career, by Varun Chopra helped Essex Eagles revive their Royal London Cup campaign against Somerset at Chelmsford.

Yesterday, 16:34

Redbridge Council has applied for a High Court interim injunction to ban travellers from settling in the borough.

Yesterday, 16:31

Green-fingered community members have the opportunity to grow edible plants with medicinal properties at a Hainault garden in aid of refugees.

Yesterday, 16:00

After a tough start to 2018, the recently relegated side will aim to enjoy success in two different formats over the Bank Holiday weekend


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

Redbridge estate agents Sandra Davidson answer the common questions homeowners have when it comes to selling their home, and reveals how you can make sure the sale is stress-free

Redbridge Estate agents Sandra Davidson’s hassle-free service guarantees rental income for your property, whether it is occupied or not. Here they share details of the Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it can help you avoid the regular stresses associated with managing a let.

Newsletter Sign Up

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

Most read news

Show Job Lists


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now