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Heathrow Marks 75th Anniversary with Nostalgic Archive Collection

Heathrow Marks 75th Anniversary with Nostalgic Archive Collection

Heathrow Airport celebrates its 75th birthday this week, and it is kicking off the landmark birthday with a virtual museum called ‘Heathrow Historians’ that looks back at the airport’s key moments – from Concorde and the Beatles to Tim Peake and the filming of Love Actually. 

Since opening for civilian aviation in 1946, Heathrow has welcomed over 2.5 billion passengers through its doors and has played host to some of Britain’s most memorable moments: from British ESA astronaut Tim Peake landing at Heathrow following his six-month trip to the International Space Station or the Beatles returning to the UK as global superstars in 1964; to the arrival of the Queen onto sovereign soil for the very first time as the reigning monarch and the iconic Love Actually scenes, filmed at Terminal 3 in 2003.

Stories, memorabilia and archive imagery are all available to view now on the Heathrow Historians virtual museum [Heathrow Historians | Heathrow], including memories from Mike Tunstall about the last Concorde flights, and Ian Bird, who monitored airport operations for any risk from the Millennium Bug back in 1999. In addition, the airport has scoured its own archive, based at the University of West London, to showcase a selection of momentous moments from the past 75 years, such as Charles and Diana opening Terminal 4 in 1986; and the arrival of the first ever A380 to Heathrow, in 2006. Longstanding airport partners, British Airways, NATS and WH Smith have also contributed to the virtual museum.

Heathrow Historian Keith Bollands said, “It was my first-ever flight from Heathrow’s Terminal 1 at the age of 10 that sparked what has been a life-long interest in aviation. From then, to visiting the roof gardens of the Queens Building in the school holidays, and to my role in the Security Team at Heathrow, the airport has played a significant part in my life. I’m so pleased to see just some of my memories of visiting, travelling through and working at such an iconic location reflected in the archive.”

Heathrow CEO John Holland Kaye said: “Over the past 75 years Heathrow has undergone an incredible transformation, from a once military airport, to a national asset and globally recognised brand.

“Heathrow Historians provides us with the opportunity to celebrate the people who make Heathrow possible, and to commemorate the long-serving connections many of our colleagues, passengers and local community members share with the airport. As we cast our eyes forward to the next 75 years, I look forward to watching Heathrow recover from its worst year to grow from strength to strength, protecting the benefits of aviation for future generations to come.”

This is definitely one for plane spotters and aviation fans!

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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