The Royal Aero Club Trust National Fund-raising Appeal

Save the Royal Aero Club Collection

A Message from HRH The Duke of York, KG, GCVO, Patron of the Royal Aero Club Trust

"The long term survival of unique and precious items of the nation's aviation heritage is a matter of deep concern and I am delighted that the Royal Aero Club Trust has taken on this task. These archives, kept at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon are in need of urgent and expert conservation and, as is always the case, money is required to achieve this. As Patron of the Trust I would ask all who can to support this appeal and to preserve a heritage of which our country can well be proud."

The Royal Aero Club Trust is a registered charity formed in 1998. One of its main purposes is to conserve the Royal Aero Club collection for the education and enjoyment of future generations.

The Royal Aero Club Collection

The Collection is kept at the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon. It includes unique and priceless items of national interest which regrettably are rarely seen by the public. The archives include albums of press-cuttings dating from 1784, pre-dating the founding of the Aero Club in 1901. The Collection includes minute books, albums, official reports, trophies, paintings and artefacts. There are photographs and original letters relating to the Hon. C.S. Rolls, Major Baden-Powell, the Wright Brothers, Louis Blériot, Alcock and Brown, Lady Houston and the celebrated Schneider Trophy Races, Jean Batten, Amy Johnson, Lord Brabazon, Sir Frederick Handley Page and many other famous aviators. The names and photographs of the earliest pilots who qualified to fly aeroplanes in the UK are chronicled in the 33,000 Aviators' Record Cards and Certificates.
The problem

Conservation specialists have now advised that:

  • parts of the collection especially the 900 boxes of archives are in serious danger of disintegration
  • many original photographs and press cuttings are fragile and gravely deteriorating

If any of these items were to be damaged or destroyed they would be lost for ever. There are no copies or duplicates. The archives cannot currently be used for educational nor research purposes as virtually none of them have, as yet, been catalogued and indexed.

The Aim

Raise £65,000. This is the sum will ensure the long-term survival of the RAeC archives. They represent over 100 years of the nation's aviation heritage. When conserved and catalogued it will, for the first time, give public access to the archives at the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon. They will, in due time, be made available on the Internet via the National Aerospace Library Network.

Work done

Two teams of NADFAS (National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies) Heritage Volunteers have worked for almost two and a half years stabilising the Archives at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon. This work has now been completed.

Work in progress

An index of RAeC Main Committee Minute Books covering the period 1901 to 1956 for display on the website is being prepared by NADFAS volunteers. Also several thousand photographs from the RAeC Archives are being identified, captioned, scanned and digitised. The following will be displayed on the RAeCTrust website - a catalogue of RAeC paintings and a catalogue of RAeC Cups and Trophies, the Frank Hedges Butler albums, the Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificate albums and the Hon C S Rolls albums.

The Target

£65,000 will fund this urgent and important project.

How can you assist?

If you can help please make a donation by completing the donation form.

How can you assist?

If you can help please make a donation by completing the donation form.

The Royal Aero Club Trust
Registered with The Charity Commission 
No. 1068451