051678 - LEAVESDEN AERODROME: From Halifaxes to Hogwarts
By Grant Peerless and Richard Riding
During the 1930s the need for a municipal aerodrome for Watford was debated at length but things eventually came to a head in 1940 when the Air Ministry requisitioned land at Leavesden for an aircraft factory. Large numbers of Halifax bombers and Mosquito fighter/bombers were subsequently produced and these played a vital part in World War Two. After the War de Havillands used the factory units for the manufacture of aero engines and the overhaul of their own makes of aircraft. As the result of numerous take-overs and amalgamations de Havilland eventually became Rolls-Royce and they carried on building helicopter engines on the site until the factory closed in 1992. From the 1950s Leavesden played host to many air taxi/charter companies and was even connected with scheduled services for a brief period in the early 1970s. Many people gained their ‘wings’ with the various flying schools based at the aerodrome and pleasure flights in airships were a popular attraction. The aerodrome closed soon after Rolls-Royce vacated the site and is now a major film studio, business park and housing estate although some original buildings survive, including the distinctive control tower. This book examines in detail the events and personalities that were part of the history of Leavesden Aerodrome for over 50 years and includes many photographs that have not been published previously.
several hundred photos