Eventful Year at Battle of Britain Memorial
2015 has been a momentous year for the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, which celebrated the opening of the new Wing Building by Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh in March.
The visitor and education centre, designed in the shape of a Spitfire wing by Folkestone architectural practice Godden Allen Lawn, was Highly Commended in the Small Commercial Building category of the 2015 LABC Building Excellence Awards. The building was also named Best Small Commercial Building at the Southern Region awards, and picked up two awards at the 2015 Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) South East Awards for Planning Excellence. As well as being judged the overall winner, the building won the Excellence in Planning and Design for the Public Realm category.
Trustee Andy Simpson commented: “Apart from winning a hat trick of awards for the quality and design of the building, we have been delighted by the numbers of people who have visited The Wing, which is a fitting addition to the Memorial and tells the story of the Battle in a new and unique way.” The capital cost of the Wing project was met by donations from private foundations and individuals, including the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust.
The trust is now welcoming school parties to the Wing and can provide dedicated educational resources to help them study the Battle of Britain. The Wing is also available for hire for corporate and social events. The Memorial is open all year round for those on foot, with a clifftop footpath running right through the site and the pedestrian gate always left unlocked. Pedestrian access is free. Opening times for The Wing and the car park (both of which have modest charges to help cover running costs) can be seen at Battle of Britain Memorial which also has details of how to join the “Friends of the Few”.
Early next year, TV broadcaster Jan Leeming, a long-time supporter of the Memorial, will present the first in an exciting new series of talks to be held in the new Wing building. On Saturday 20 February the former TV newsreader will deliver a lecture entitled ‘Searching for René’, an account of the life of Squadron Leader René Mouchotte, DFC, Croix de Guerre, based on his diaries, interviews with members of his family and extensive research undertaken by Jan herself. Places are limited to fifty. For details see here