Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Hounslow (London Borough)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 11381 77633

Reasons for Designation

* The first all-concrete hangar built in Britain and thus technologically innovative in a national context. * An unusual an elegant curved design. * Historic interest in its function as an original building to Heston airfield (later Heston Airport), an early civilian airfield which had no military antecedents and which became one of London's first airports.


787/0/10192 AERODROME WAY 03-FEB-09 Heston Hangar, Heston Air Parks

II Hangar, 1929 designed by L M Austin and H F Murrel. Constructed by A Jackamann & Sons Ltd of Slough with the structural engineer C E Holloway, for Airwork Ltd. Single storey extension to west of c1935 in an Art Deco style. Late C20 alterations and extensions.

MATERIALS: Reinforced concrete, corrugated roof, metal windows.

PLAN: Rectangular approximately 30m west-east by 24m north-south (100ft by 80ft). Single storey addition to west of circa 1935. Modern extension and substation to south which are not of special interest. Single large modern roller shutter door providing access to main hangar from south. Pedestrian access to west aisle from south and to roof space via stairs over roof from west and east.

EXTERIOR: A rectangular hangar with a highly distinctive curved profile. The curve of the roof extends to ground level to the west and east. Principal elevation now to the south which has a peaked profile at the apex of the roof hiding a pitched central rooflight behind. Elevation has concrete ribs with a number of blocked openings at upper level and one surviving metal-framed multi-paned window, also access via high-level double-doors. Access to main hangar space is at the south-east corner via a large up-and-over rolling metal door. Access to the western aisle from the south-west. Northern elevation part hidden by modern abutting industrial unit but the horizontal tie beam marks the position of the former folding doors and there are original metal casements above. Attached flat-roofed single storey extension to west of circa 1935 in an Art Deco style, which has a curved roof line and piers. Visible long, flat and pitched rooflights at apex, to west and east. Eastern elevation also has small roof lights to light the east aisle. Access to the roof via L-shaped external concrete staircases, to both west and east. These have metal rails and lead to rectangular projecting concrete porches protecting pedestrian doors.

INTERIOR: Main hangar space with concrete floor and walls. Piers to the hangar, some are chamfered, and there are concrete corbels to east. Evidence of blocked openings particularly along north wall which would originally opened onto the airfield where a modern unit now abuts. Against the south and north walls at ceiling height are projecting concrete ribs and sectional panels forming a part-ceiling. The central ceiling space however, originally open to the roof, has an inserted modern tiled ceiling. Modern inserted two-storey offices along south side and ablutions, in eastern aisle, are not of special interest. Western aisle a single space with visible roof ribs and blocked windows to west with visible metal frames.

Impressive roof space accessed via external stairs with massive curving ribs supported on narrow struts, concrete tie beams and purlins. Concrete 'walkways', originally offices, along south and north walls with central space now with modern ceiling insertion. Well lit by central pitched and flat roof lights running north-south the length of the hangar. Position of original window openings all evident although most now blocked. Surviving chain-hung bell shaped lights.

HISTORY: Heston airfield opened on 6th July 1929 and was operated by Airwork Ltd, a company created for that purpose. It was initially the location for flying schools and aircraft sales. The early airfield buildings were located in a group on the southern edge of the airfield with hangars to the west and east of the clubhouse, customs and control tower. In January 1930 the Secretary of State and the Air Ministry designated Heston a customs airfield making it the first unsubsidised commercial airport in the United Kingdom to have this facility. Heston was at the forefront of airfield development in the early 1930s with night-flying under floodlights tested here, and it also became the favourite departure point for long-distance flight record attempts and was used for air races. In September 1931 it was renamed Heston Airport with scheduled services flying to the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands, and was a stop-off point on routes between the north of England and France. Aircraft were also manufactured here from 1933 onwards and British Airways operated out of Heston in this decade. In 1938 Heston was the airfield from which Neville Chamberlain flew to and from Germany for his ill-fortuned Appeasement talks with Adolph Hitler.

During the Second World War the airfield was home to Heston Flight, under II Group Fighter Command controlled from RAF Northolt. Numerous other units were based here including the United States Army Air Force in the later years of the war. Heston was significant as the home of wartime photographic reconnaissance and survey with the first high altitude photographic mission flown by Heston Flight paving the way for all subsequent use of photography by the RAF. Following the opening of Heathrow in early 1946, the Minister of Civil Aviation announced that Heston no longer had a future and was to close. It did so in 1947. The M4 motorway and Heston motorway services now occupy part of the former flying field. The clubhouse and control tower were demolished in 1978 and the hangar is now the only survival of the earliest airfield buildings.

The hangar is one of the original airfield buildings, constructed in 1929 by A Jackamann & Sons Ltd of Slough with the structural engineer C E Holloway for Airwork Ltd. One of four hangars on the early airfield it was distinguished from them by its unusual design: it was the first all-concrete aircraft hangar built in Britain and was therefore quite a departure from both contemporary and earlier civilian or military hangars. Its reinforced concrete frame was constructed in a unique arched shape with a single set of wooden folding doors (of Esavian type and 18 feet high) at the north end. It was a substantial 100ft by 80ft and functioned as a lock-up hangar for the aerodrome. It was discussed in the architectural press at the time including the Architects Journal (August 1929) and The Structural Engineer (September 1930), and was photographed by the architectural photographer Herbert Felton for The Architect and Building News (December 1929). These articles attribute the design to Leslie Magnus Austin and Harold Franklyne Murrell who were also responsible for Heston's terminal building and control tower. The hangar featured integral workshop facilities and first floor offices to the north and south with separate external entrance stairs to each side. Later an extra row of Art Deco single storey offices were added to the western elevation, illustrated in The Architectural Review of October 1935. Late C20 additions and alterations are not of special interest.

SOURCES: Cherry, B & Pevsner, N, 1999, The Buildings of England: London 3, North-West, p424 CGMS, 2007, Historic Building Assessment in respect of the Former Aircraft Hangar, Aerodrome Way, Heston. Report reference IF/8625, June 2007 Forsyth, A, Buildings for the Age: new building types 1900-1939. RCHME & HMSO. Hamlin, J F, 1996, Airfield Focus, 24: Heston. GMS Enterprises Francis, P, 1996, British Military Airfield Architecture: from Airships to the Jet Age. Patrick Stephens Limited. Temple, J C & Francis, P, 1994, New Guidelines for Listing Civil Airfield Buildings in England - 1994. English Heritage Various authors, 2000, Berlin Templehof/Liverpool Speke/Paris Le Bourget: Airport Architecture of the Thirties.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION: A hangar of 1929 from the former Heston airfield is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * The first all-concrete hangar built in Britain and thus technologically innovative in a national context. * An unusual and elegant curved design. * Historic interest in its function as an original building to Heston airfield (later Heston Airport), an early civilian airfield which had no military antecedents and which became one of London's first airports.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Forsyth, A, Buildings for the Age, (1982)
Francis, P, British Military Airfield Architecture From Airships To The Jet Age, (1996)
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: London 3 North West, (1991), 424
Smith, P, Berlin, Liverpool, Paris: Airport Architecture of the Thirties, (2001)
Temple, Julian C and Francis, Paul , New Guidelines for Listing Civil Airfield Buildings in England, 1994,


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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