Gatwick Airport Opens

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Gatwick Airport Opens

Horley, Surrey The 6th of June 1936 AD

Since the 1920s the area now housing Gatwick Airport had been used for private flights, and the facilities further developed by Surrey Flying Club from 1930 onwards. But it was the vision of one man, Morris Jackaman, which turned the place from minor aerodrome to an airport in its own right.
Jackaman bought the place in 1933, and set about developing it, which entailed draining the soggy ground, linking the site with the nearby railway station, and building up to date terminal facilities. He was funded partly by the flotation of his company, partly by Air Ministry money as Gatwick offered a back-up to Croydon Airport .
Commercial flights from the airport in fact began in May 1936, but the official opening, when the Beehive – a circular terminal building that was the first such in the world – was ready in all its art deco glory was June 6 1936. Regular services to Paris, Amsterdam, Malmo and Hamburg were offered, along with the rather less exotic Isle of Wight .
Gatwick was temporarily abandoned by the airlines in 1937 because of flooding problems and some safety issues, but after WWII it became obvious that it was the best site for London ’s second airport after Heathrow .

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Comment

From mike beere on 2nd November 2009
My father,flying his DH Puss Moth G-ABJY, won the landing competition at the opening of the Airport on the 6th June 1936. Reading from the entry in his log book for that day he wrote 'the air was thick with aircraft, some 100'. He landed at precisely 12.10hrs the exact time set by the adjudicators.

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Robert the Bruce Crowned King of Scotland - 1306, slave trade is abolished in the British empire - 1807, World’s first passenger train service begins - 1807, Cambridge Sink In Boat Race - 1978
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