Journey back to the post-war golden era of civil aviation, when flying to your destination was a thrilling and even romantic prospect, and London's new Heathrow Airport seems like the most glamorous place you'd ever been.
These three extremely rare films capture Heathrow in its earliest days, thronging with classic airliners of the period from all over the world in long-vanished liveries and alive with excitement as flights came and went to the far flung corners of the globe.
London Airport Made in 1949 by the Crown Film Unit, this rarely seen film looks back to the earliest days of Heathrow with the demolition of local houses, the construction of the runways and the laying of drainage and cabling. It offers a rare glimpse too of the first proving flight on January 1st 1946, as well as coverage of the 1949 control tower, hanger facilities, aerial views, pilot's landing P.O.V. and early airport radar coverage.
Air-Crossroads London This film was made in 1958, when Heathrow was already the busiest international airport in the world, with some 38 airlines making 600 take-offs and landings every 24 hours at the summer peak. Highlights include following a BEA flight preparing to leave for Amsterdam, a look inside the central terminal Building, coverage of Heathrow night operations, low aerial views of the airport and visits to the control tower as well as to the BOAC and BEA engineering bases.
Wings over the world Made in 1950 when the airport was still under contraction, this film features a wealth of early airliners at Heathrow including the Brabazon Constellation, Viking, Hermes and Stratocruiser. It follows the preparations for a flight by Avro York to South Africa - and offers views of the control tower, baggage handling, marshalling and aircraft maintenance work. There are also previews of the dH Comet and Viscount - due to come into service at Heathrow in the near future...