Happy anniversary for de Havilland Aircraft Company’s centenary

PUBLISHED: 12:24 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:43 07 October 2020

The High Sheriff on the mezzanine floor of the new hangar at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum. Picture:Garry Lakin

The High Sheriff on the mezzanine floor of the new hangar at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum. Picture:Garry Lakin

Garry Lakin (C)2020

It was ‘happy anniversary’ when the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire joined the celebrations marking the centenary of the founding of the county’s premier aircraft company.

Boarding the sole surviving DH.106 Comet, the world's first jet airliner, are the High Sheriff and his wife Kate, a Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire. Picture: Garry LakinBoarding the sole surviving DH.106 Comet, the world's first jet airliner, are the High Sheriff and his wife Kate, a Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire. Picture: Garry Lakin

It was on September 25, 1920 that Geoffrey de Havilland formed his own company, the de Havilland Aircraft Company.

One hundred years to the day later, the High Sheriff, Henry Holland-Hibbert, was the guest of the de Havilland Aircraft Museum at Salisbury Hall, London Colney.

Accompanied by his wife Kate, a Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, they took great interest in the conservation and preservation of nearly a score of iconic civil and military aircraft designed by the company at its headquarters at Hatfield, and the special centenary exhibition of the history and achievements of the company.

“I am full of admiration for the de Havilland Aircraft Museum as a primary visitor attraction in Hertfordshire and for the work they do to keep the de Havilland name at the forefront of Hertfordshire’s history,” said Mr Holland-Hibbert.

Museum chairman Alan Brackley (right) explains the history of de Havilland to the High Sheriff and his wife Kate, a Deputy Lieutenant. Picture: Garry LakinMuseum chairman Alan Brackley (right) explains the history of de Havilland to the High Sheriff and his wife Kate, a Deputy Lieutenant. Picture: Garry Lakin

“The de Havilland Company has played a vital role in the production of both combat and civilian aircraft with, amongst others, the Mosquito and the Comet earning their place in the history of Great Britain.

“I am delighted to have been able to celebrate their centenary with the museum volunteers and staff.’

For Mr Holland-Hibbert, the museum was a very different place to the site he had last visited some 20 years ago, when it had just one large and one small hangar in which to display and work on its growing collection of de Havilland aircraft and artefacts.

Completed eight months ago with the aid of the National Lottery and other donors is an even larger display hangar into which many of the aircraft on external display have been relocated.

This especially pleased Mr Holland-Hibbert, who added: “The new hangar is a wonderful addition to the museum and enables visitors to see many more of the de Havilland aircraft under cover.

“I am especially glad to see that the new hangar incorporates educational facilities so that future generations may learn about the aircraft of the 20th century and the important role they played in the defence of our country and in air passenger travel.”

There is free parking at the museum, which is signposted at Junction 22 of the M25.

Full details and pre-booking can be found on the museum website at www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk where a new range of virtual tours of the museum and its aircraft can also be viewed.


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