A month ago I ran this article on the West London Air Terminal which elicited a lot of positive feedback.
Despite having passed the massive Sainsbury’s supermarket on Cromwell Road many, many times, I never knew that it was originally the check-in terminal for Heathrow. You would drop off your luggage and then catch a shuttle bus to the airport.
In a similar vein, reader Derek sent me this fantastic article on the history of the Empire Air Terminal.
Down by Victoria, in what is now the headquarters of the National Audit Office, Imperial Airways – one of the BA predecessor companies, it became BOAC in 1940 – built a similarly impressive structure in 1939.
At that time, Imperial Airways operated from both Croydon Airport and ran flying boats from Southampton Docks. Your luggage would be checked in, or delivered there on your return, and you would take a direct train from Victoria Station next door to the airport or the docks.
The flying boat service ended in 1950 and Croydon Airport closed in 1959. The terminal lived on, however, as a check-in facility for Gatwick Airport and as a coach arrival and departure point to other airports.