Kempster’s historic airport mural flies in to Croydon

Detail from Kempster’s airport history mural, on display in Croydon during 2018

An important piece of historic artwork is going on public display at the Historic Croydon Airport Open Days in 2018.

The artwork, called “The History of Aviation”, is a giant mural, 26 feet long, painted by one of the major decorative artists of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, William Kempster.

The work was commissioned by the British Airports Authority to commemorate the opening of the then new Terminal One at Heathrow, and was formally unveiled by the Queen and Prince Philip in April 1969.

The work consists of three large panels and charts the beginnings of international air travel that took off after World War One, depicting Britain’s first major airport at Croydon – in the section above, you can see the world’s first air traffic control tower in the background – and the celebrity pioneer pilots of the age.

Kempster’s talents were much in demand and his work had been featured as the Festival of Britain in 1951.

Croydon Airport is open for tours each month

The mural is on loan to the Historic Croydon Airport Trust by the Maas Gallery until the end of 2018 and can be viewed in the former Booking Hall, Airport House, Purley Way, Croydon, CR0 0XZ.

The Historic Croydon Airport Trust operates the Croydon Airport Visitor Centre museum, open on the first Sunday of every month.

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