“Bigger and better than ever” is the promise from the country’s oldest aviation museum as it’s awarded a £90,000 grant to help it re-open its doors in May.

The award has been made to the de Havilland Aircraft Museum by the Arts Council England Culture Recovery Fund.

Announcing the award at its site at Salisbury Hall, London Colney, museum chairman Alan Brackley said: “Being closed for most of last year under the pandemic regulations has had a major impact on the finances of the museum.

With plans to re-open on May 18, Alan continued: “This award provides the museum with much-needed stability as we begin the process of renewal and growth and enables us to plan more visitor-related activities.”

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Chairman Alan BrackleyChairman Alan Brackley

With its big new display hangar now fully fitted out with new-style electronic information boards around some of its score of classic de Havilland aircraft and artefacts, the museum says it will be making visits a truly great experience.

“There is so much to see and much of it is undercover and fully accessible” said Mr Brackley.

“Nowhere else can visitors control an historic working flight simulator and tour the last surviving original de Havilland Comet, the world’s first jet airliner, as well as seeing restoration work being carried out on some of the rare aircraft” he added.

Alan continued: “Visitors will be able to see what is being done and chat to the skilled volunteers doing the work, which is incredibly important if these wonderful aircraft are to survive.”

It will be the first chance many visitors will have to see the new display hangar built at the museum with the aid of a near-£3 million grant from the National Lottery and other grants and donations.

“Many people do not realise that de Havilland produced more than just aircraft, that the company also produced its own propeller and jet engines, its own propellers, its own rockets, and our museum is the perfect place to see the whole company story” said Mr Brackley.

The museum and its well-stocked shop and enlarged café with outside ranch tables are signposted just off J22 of the M25.

There is free parking and wheelchair access to all display hangars.

Full details about the museum can be found here: www.dehavillandaircraftmuseum.co.uk