RAF Hooton Park

RAF Hooton Park

Rotary Talk 24th Jan 2013

Bob Frost     RAF Hooton Park

Few members were aware that alongside the Vauxhall Ellesmere Port car plant are three aircraft hangers, the remains of the Hooton Park RAF airfield.  Bob Frost from the Hooton Park Trust gave a most interesting talk on the history of Hooton Park and the work of the Trust.  The aim of the Trust, which was formed in 2000, is to achieve the restoration of the three First and Second World War hangars on the former RAF airbase.

Originally there was an imposing Hall on Hooton Park, which was owned by the Stanley family and then by a wealth Liverpool banker, Naylor, who built a race course there.  The Hooton Park Spring Races became a very popular event.  In 1905 there were races for cars and motorbikes as well as for horses.  With the First World War the Hall and Park were taken over by the army and used as a training establishment for volunteers from the Liverpool area.  In 1917 it became a training aerodrome for pilots of the Royal Flying Corps and three hangers were built.  Between the wars, with Speke it was one of the two airfields that handled and serviced planes on scheduled, exhibition and private flights.  The Hall was released from the army and in 1925 was demolished because it was in too poor condition to be repaired.  With the World War II the airfield became home to the County of Chester Squadron 610.  Squadron 610 was originally a bomber squadron but was transferred to Biggin Hill and then flew Spitfires.  During the war some ten thousand Mustang fighters planes were assembled at Hooton Park from kits of parts shipped over from America.  The airfield was also a secret training establishment for radar operators.  At the end of the war, in 1945, Squadron 610 returned and flew Meteor Jet Fighters.  At that time Squadron 611 and an Army Squadron 663 also were based at Hooton Park. 

After the Royal Auxiliary Air Force was disbanded the airfield was closed in 1957 leaving the three hangers unused.  In 1962 Vauxhall Motors bought Hooton Park for their Ellesmere Port factory.  Subsequently Vauxhall (General Motors) leased the land, the hangers and other building to the Trust and then sold them the freehold in 2000.  Now the hangers are Grade II listed buildings due to their rare architectural design and construction.  After much hard work the Trust raised sufficient funds, about

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