Building 42, Hooton Park Aerodrome


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Airfield Way, Hooton Park Aerodrome, Hooton, CH65 1BQ


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Statutory Address:
Airfield Way, Hooton Park Aerodrome, Hooton, CH65 1BQ

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

Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Workshop, 1917, designed for the Royal Flying Corps.

Reasons for Designation

Building 42 Hooton Park Aerodrome, built 1917, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: the building is both innovative and influential, demonstrating the formative development of wartime utility construction methods and it is the precursor of the Air Ministry Works Directorate ‘temporary-brick’ hut design, used during the Second World War; * Historic interest: its continued occupation at an aerodrome sponsored by the Air Ministry to develop civil aviation in the inter-war period and its use by a noteworthy pioneer aero-engine manufacturer, gives it considerable historic interest; * Group value: this workshop forms part of one of the most complete hangar groupings of the First World War period in England, which has both national and international significance; * Rarity: aerodrome buildings dating to the First World War are becoming increasingly rare, with some significant losses in recent years.


Hooton Hall and Park were requisitioned by the army in 1914 for the 18th Battalion of the King’s Liverpool Rifles. In 1917, it gained a new use as an aerodrome, built by the contractors Holland, Hannen and Cubitts Limited. The aerodrome buildings were built using newly developed utility construction methods that were developed to allow the minimum use of materials, speed of construction, and the use of an un-skilled or semi-skilled workforce. The aerodrome was intended as an Aircraft Acceptance Park for the assembly of military aircraft shipped into Liverpool from the United States, but the pressing need to train more pilots for the war against Germany, led to it becoming No. 4 Training Depot Station. Upon the founding of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918, Hooton Park become part of 37th Wing and the Wing Headquarters was installed in Hooton Hall in November 1918.

The aerodrome was de-requisitioned in 1919 and by 1927 the various buildings were leased to small companies for light industrial use. In 1928 it gained an important role in the development of civil aviation and was selected to be an Air Ministry subsidised flying club. The Liverpool and District Aero Club quickly became the second largest outside of London, and in 1929 the Comper Aircraft Company was established in General Service (GS) shed (Hangar 1), to build the Comper CLA7 Swift, a single-seat sports aircraft. Around the same time, Douglas Pobjoy established his aero-engine company Pobjoy Airmotors, in GS shed (Hangar 1) and in a workshop Building 29 (later re-numbered Building 42; see below) where the 75/80 hp Pobjoy R radial engine was manufactured until 1934. The aerodrome’s importance was increased in February 1936 when 610 ‘County of Cheshire’ Squadron was formed there and went on to play a major role in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain. The aerodrome was requisitioned once more on 9 October 1939; it was given a large number of uses, including its original intended role, of assembling military aircraft, eventually assembling over 9,000. Some re-numbering of the aerodrome buildings took place during the Second World War, including Building 29, which became Building 42, an acetylene welder's shop.

Post war, the aerodrome continued to have a military use until March 1957. The former aerodrome was acquired by Vauxhall Motors Limited in 1962 and a car factory was built over most of the former airfield, leaving the technical buildings, dating from 1917, as a small enclave at the NW corner of the site used by Vauxhall Motors Ltd as a service department, and stores. The three paired GS sheds (hangars), the motor transport (MT) sheds, and the workshop hut Building 27 were listed at Grade II in 1988 and ten years later the hangars were upgraded to Grade II*. The Griffin Trust obtained a peppercorn lease on the technical site buildings in 1990, and in 2000, the Hooton Park Trust was established by the Griffin Trust as a separate charity to oversee the management of the aerodrome buildings. In 2015 the rainwater goods and roof covering on the building were replaced (the roof structure is original).


Workshop, 1917, designed for the Royal Flying Corps.

MATERIALS: rendered brick walls, grey resin and fibre-glass coated gabled timber plank roof on timber lattice Belfast trusses, with black plastic rainwater goods.

PLAN: a single-storey rectangular-plan.

EXTERIOR: rendered half brick thick walls are laid in stretcher bond, strengthened by brick piers with tile copings (Temporary Brick construction), interspersed with 10-pane galvanised steel windows with red tile cills. The windows incorporate a four-pane side-hung casement to one side and a single-pane top-hung casement to the other. The five-bay side elevations have tall end piers with four shorter piers supporting the remainder of the wall.

The SE elevation has a sliding ledged and braced double vehicle door and a secondary steel pedestrian door. Each bay in the NW elevation has a 10-pane window. The gable elevations are divided into three bays by a pair of piers and each of the bays has a galvanised-steel window. The NE gable has three paired ventilation bricks, and the SW gable has a square ventilation louvre over the central window. The gabled roof is coated in grey resin and fibre-glass (replacing the failing felt) and has timber barge boards to the gables. Plastic gutters are attached to timber fascia boards to the side elevations.

INTERIOR: divided into two rooms, an open four-bays workshop and a one-bay storeroom that occupies the E bay. The rooms have a concrete floor and painted brick walls, with internally projecting brick piers. The piers have painted stone corbels that support the timber lattice Belfast roof trusses, which carry a timber plank roof lining. There is a stone block (possibly a stove base) at the SW end of the room.


Books and journals
Lucas, Edgar (Author), Light Buildings, (1935), 30 - 34
Smith, David J (Author), Britain's Military Airfields 1939-45, (1989), 180 and 210
Smith, David J (Author), Action Stations 3. Military Airfields of Wales and the North-West, (1981), 99 - 102
Willis, Steve (Co-author), Holliss, Barry (Co-author), Military Airfields in the British Isles 1939-1945 (Omnibus Edition), (1987), 107
Abraham, B H, 'Hooton Park Aerodrome History' in Airfield Review, , Vol. 67, (1994), 15 - 21
Pobjoy Airmotors, accessed 20 July 2016 from
Hooton Park Aerodrome, Cheshire. Some Historical Information, P Butler, David J Smith, I Turner, Barry H Abraham and D Ewing, 1999
Hooton Park Aerodrome, Chester West and Chester - An Assessment of the General Service Sheds and Associated Buildings, Claire Howard, English Heritage Interim Report -2014
New Guidelines for Listing Military Airfield Buildings in England - 1994, Julian C. Temple and Paul Francis
Operations Record Book, The National Archives, AIR 28/376-377
Survey of Military Aviation Sites and Structures - Summary Report, Thematic Listing Programme, English Heritage, 2000


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

The listed building is shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.

End of official listing

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