Fascinating article on the forgotten West London Air Terminal

A HFP reader sent me a link yesterday to a truly fascinating article on the West London Air Terminal.

If you have ever driven from London to Heathrow, you will have passed a huge Sainsburys supermarket on your right, close to the large Marriott hotel on your left.  There is a large block of flats built over it and an odd ramp leading up to them.

This was, I was surprised to learn, the West London Air Terminal.

west-london-air-terminal

To quote:

In the period after the war Heathrow was in the ascendant so the search was on for a site in West London. The airport authorities settled on an area in Kensington already occupied by another form of transport: the Cromwell Curve where the District and Circle lines came together and tube trains from Gloucester Road, High Street Kensington and Earls Court passed each other. It was decided to build a concrete raft over the train lines and construct the new terminal above them.

west-london-air-terminal-2

and:

The idea …… was that you checked in for your flight here and then you and your luggage were transported to Heathrow in special airline buses. ….  The Cromwell Road location, a short convenient distance up the road from Gloucester Road Station meant that when the time came to fly you could put on your sheepskin coat, walk down some stairs, put your case in the coach and be on your way.

It is a fantastic article with lots of great period photographs.  When you get a few minutes today I strongly recommend reading the full piece here.

This is what the building looks like today.  It is hard to imagine it was once an airport terminal.

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Comments

  1. The terminal features in the film BEA “Clear to Land” including footage of the booking call centre with state of the art 1968 computers.

    The whole film is worth a watch

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7RMlluY0sA