Report number: 76/2014

Title Hooton Park Aerodrome, Chester West and Chester: An Assessment of the General Service Sheds and Associated Buildings
Summary The General Service (GS) sheds, or hangars, and associated technical buildings at Hooton Park, situated on the northern outskirts of Ellesmere Port and close to the south-western bank of the River Mersey, represent one of the most well-preserved groups of First World War buildings in the country. The sheds were originally intended to form an Aircraft Acceptance Park (AAP) for the assembly of aircraft sent from America to the nearby port of Liverpool, but this use was superseded by a requirement to train new pilots for the First World War. Double GS sheds were constructed for each of three flying units at Hooton, accompanied by technical buildings including two Motor Transport (MT) sheds, workshops and huts. In the 1920s and 1930s the site became a major centre for civil and commercial aviation with the establishment of the Liverpool and District Aero Club; this was soon followed by Liverpool’s first commercial airport. It also became a centre for pioneering aviation engineers and manufacturers during the 1930s and this role continued until the closure of the airfield in 1957. The sheds and technical buildings continued to be used, albeit with some modifications, from 1961 onwards when the site was acquired by Vauxhall Motors. The General Service sheds, sometimes known as Belfast hangars, in reference to their roof construction, are the only surviving complete group of hangars of their type. Each shed comprises two rectangular halls forming a double-hangar and is constructed of red brick with a double-span bow-string roof of distinctive Belfast-truss type. The examples at Hooton also have large full-width multi-leaved sliding aircraft doors which originally slid into tall supporting side gantries of brick when opened. Although some of these doors and associated gantries have been removed and brick walls with smaller central entrances have been built in their place, the buildings have otherwise only been minimally altered and retain many of their original fixtures and fittings lending them exceptional significance when compared to other similar groupings.
Series Research Department Reports
Pages 62
  • Howard, C
Keywords Aerodrome ,  Airfield ,  Belfast Truss ,  Building Investigation ,  Defence ,  General Service Sheds ,  Hangars ,  Post-War ,  Second World War ,  Training Depot Station