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The Solway Aviation Museum is run by volunteers from the Solway Aviation Society, with a theme of British Military Aircraft manufactured in the North West of England between the 1950's and 1960's.
In 1962 the then Solway Group of Aviation Enthusiasts acquired their first aircraft, this was an Armstrong Whitworth built Hawker Hart Trainer, which was recoverd from a barn at the Nelson Thomlinson School in Wigton Cumbria. A year later it was donated to the RAF Museum and fully restored, the aircraft went on display at Hendon when it opened in 1972.
The 'preservation bug' had bitten and a few years later, the Society acquired a Vampire Jet Trainer which, after some years on display at Carlisle Airport, was restored to full airworthiness, and still flies today. The next Aircraft was an Armstrong Whitworth Meteor, which is still on display today. A Vulcan bomber was purchased by two members of the Society for static display, to be followed by a Lightning, a Canberra and another Vampire in the period between 1988 and 1990
The Society now trades as the Solway Aviation Museum for the preservation and care of the Aircraft and aviation based artefacts that we hold in the display and storage rooms at Aviation House. Our primary objective is the preservation of our Aviation Heritage, it's display and interpretation. Here you can take a nostalgic reminder of the men and women of the war time RAF, who served in Cumberland during WWII.
Our aircraft collection is based on the British Jet Aircraft that entered service with the Royal Air Force during the 1950's and 1960's, many of which have local connections. Blue Streak parts and equipment are on display in the new Blue Streak room, and this exhibit is always increasing as more information is handed to us for safe keeping.
New for 2002 - The Crosby Room shows past and present details of the fascinating history of the civilian life of Carlisle Airport over many years. There are displays on the Fire section, and a life size copy of the control tower desk, along with the history of the various flight schools that have operated from here. The Museum is most appreciative of the continued help and support of the Management and staff of Carlisle Airport.
We also appreciate the financial support by the taking up of membership, and the public when visiting the Museum during our open season.
Windermere is a sprawling tourist town on the shore of Windermere, about halfway along the 12 mile length of the lake between Waterhead at the North end, and Lakeside at the South end. It developed after the opening of the railway line from Oxenholme and Kendal to Windermere in 1847. Bowness was the nearest accessible point on the lake.
The Victorian influence can be seen everywhere - in the late 19th century, wealthy businessmen from Lancashire built large residences overlooking the lake, and many of these have now been converted to hotels, such as the Langdale Chase Hotel, and the Belsfield Hotel. Others houses include The National Park Visitor Centre at Brockhole, between Ambleside and Bowness
The Belsfield Hotel, overlooking the Bay, was once home to Henry Schneider, chairman of the Barrow Steelworks. Every morning he left home, travelled on his steam yacht SL Esperance, on which he had breakfast, on his way to Lakeside. There he would travel by train in his private carriage (he owned the railway too) to his job in Barrow. His steamboat, SL Esperance, is now preserved in the Windermere Steamboat Museum in Rayrigg Rd. A short stretch of the Railway is now preserved as the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. Boat trips can be taken from Bowness Pier to Lakeside Pier, which is also the Lakeside station of the Railway.