Aerospace Bristol Exhibition Report

Exhibition Name: Aerospace Bristol

Organisation : Aerospace Bristol Museum

Address: Filton ,Bristol

Dates: October, 2017

Introduction from Wiki:-

Aerospace Bristol is an aerospace museum at Filton, to the north of Bristol, England. The project is run by the Bristol Aero Collection Trust and houses a varied collection of exhibits as well as Concorde 216, the final Concorde to be built and the last to fly.[1]

The nine-acre site on Filton Airfield, Bristol includes two First World War Grade II listed hangars,[2][3] providing over 5,000 m² of public exhibition space, 1,700m² of indoor learning spaces and workshops, plus over 5,000m² of outdoor learning and testing space. The exhibition covers over 100 years of aviation history through two world wars, exploring the role of aircraft in these conflicts, through the drama and technological advances of the space race and on to the modern day.

A new building between the two hangars houses Concorde Alpha Foxtrot and related exhibits. Its floor space is around 3,200m², and there are conference facilities including a lecture room, three meeting rooms and a studio space.

The editor visited this museum because of: –

  • Our interest in British aviation and through this to our appreciation of Chapman design methodology
  • The knowledge that Bristol helped build the bodies for the first Elite
  • Bristol diversified into car production and produced the aerodynamically influenced range of sports cars and like Lotus competed at le Mans


The illustrations or editor’s photographs& drawings are used to explain text.

They include:-

  • Gift card portraying the dual and shared aspects of Bristol:aeroplane and sports car
  • Sectioned Bristol sports car
  • Plastic hull of dingy demonstrating materials used in elite bodies
  • Aircraft fuselage providing examples of inspiration of aircraft practice to Chapman

The editor visited the museum during half term and site was animated by large attendance comprising families and children.

Children and education are extremely well catered for and learning exercises participation opportunities exist throughout. [the editor enjoyed many!!]

The museum contains two buildings; the historic hangar and a new building housing Concorde.

The faculty accurately portrays the social and technological history of Bristol aviation in the city.

There is much to praise and see; and for this reason, we adopt bullets: –

  • History and development is explained in chronological order
  • There is very strong social and technological emphasis with the equipment adopted by the work force of particular appeal were the drawing boards and related draughting tools. This brings out the changing technology through time
  • The need for accuracy, precision in aircraft design is forcefully brought out along with safety. A factory sign cautions worker that safety is paramount
  • Allied to the above is the changing use of materials to deliver objectives and display pieces communicate this
  • Bristol evolved from buses into aircraft and the vision of the founder with his example and inspiration and faith is communicated
  • The impact of war on aero plane development is brought out and those to believed it had a significant military advantage [note examples of early bi-planes delivering this objective] of course this applied to the Two World Wars]
  • The portrayal of the Bristol sports car is informative
  • Although a Lotus elite is not displayed the involvement with Lotus is recorded
  • How Bristol diversified and produced Prefab homes in post war era [ US development along same lines /see also A&R articles on Design Heroes special reference J.Prouve and Bauhaus]
  • Displays of engines, airframes, helicopters and military hardware

The Concorde display warrants separate listing and includes: –

  • One of the actual Concorde’s onto who’s body /fuselage images and film are projected. this is accompanied with dramatic images and music score
  • Internal inspection possible
  • Flight simulator [ extremely popular with waiting]
  • Memorabilia relating to Concorde and its service
  • Record of the technological design and development with special reference to aerodynamics

Special /additional features of the museum are: –

  • Overall accessibility not least ease for disability visitors
  • Ease of access to /from M4/M5 and BR
  • Parking on site
  • Shop with large range of stock notably scale models
  • The presentation boards
  • Interactive exhibits and participation
  • Café
  • Excellent value for money /entrance fee

The Museum is strongly recommended. It makes a considerable contribution to education, tourism and the local economy of Bristol. Bristol has strong connections with Brunel [see A&R articles] and this institution complements and integrates. Further it demonstrates the social and community involvement played by a major manufacturer along with their pride and achievement.

The Proposed CCM&EC

The proposed museum believes that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.

For these reasons our Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

Aerospace Bristol has been estimated to have cost between £15-19 million.

It seems to offers value for money and provides a very accessible and attractive all-season tourist attraction with considerable educational /inspirational qualities.

It celebrates and demonstrates the best of British technology and the community /workforce that achieved it.

As such we feel it provides an example the Lotus and Britain ought to adopt to meet the requirements of the experience economy.