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Inside the building
The displays in the Watch Office are intended to inform visitors about a number of topics associated with the Hendon site. These include:
- The history of the Hendon area before the coming of aviation
- Aviation at Hendon – air races in the period before the First World War, and the renowned RAF Displays of the 1920s and 1930s
- The aircraft industry in North London – many firms based in the local area manufactured aircraft or parts for them
- The history of the RAF Museum
Illustrations and other material in these displays comes from the Museum’s wide and diverse collections. A propeller press shows the complex way in which wooden propellers were manufactured, while photographs of the factory are taken from an album commissioned by the company and show workers in various sections located in the building. A cinema shows film of flying at Hendon.
Claude Grahame-White’s sumptuous first floor office has been faithfully recreated, through careful analysis of the only known photograph. He was very proud that his factory was one of the first powered by electricity and he would point out to his visitors the impressive electrical switchboard, now relocated in the display area.
The restoration and relocation of the Grahame-White Factory and Watch Office will preserve for future generations an integral part of the United Kingdom’s aviation history. This project is indicative of the Royal Air Force Museum’s ongoing commitment to restore and maintain Britain’s aviation heritage whilst educating its visitors of the legacy left to us by previous inhabitants of the Museum’s site.