Some of Heathrow's greatest airlines and airliners pay a final salute to our grand old tower. Special thanks to John Oram and Mick West for their superb photographs. (This film has special meaning to John as he served in the tower as an Air Traffic Controller for eight years).
Designed in 1950 by Sir Frederick Gibberd ,the tower and other airport buildings were opened by Her Majesty The Queen in 1955.
Taylor Woodrow, the main contractor, produced a special brochure for the occasion. Here is an extract -
'The tunnel at London Airport is the smooth, mysterious link between an old world and a new one. Beyond the tunnel, like a diamond set in a paste of emeralds, lies the streamlined capital of Britain's airways.
But the tunnel is only the beginning. The first thing that opens the motorist's eyes as he cruises up out of the tunnel into a new world, is an arresting two-storey,T-shaped building crowned by a nine-storey tower. This is the air traffic control building; and the control room with the sloping blue glass windows surmounts the tower - the electronic brain of the diamond city.
The air traffic control building was built to last - and also built to please. So it was constructed in steel framework encased in concrete, and the finishing touches were put to it's outside walls with a pleasing combination of brick, stone and tiles. Like the other new London Airport buildings, it gives an enduring impression of elegance married to strength. And it introduces our visitors to the charm of English brick....'
ATC operations ended in the tower in 2007 and were moved to the new 87 meter high control tower. Between 2007 and 2012 the old tower was used for mainly office and conference duties.
It finally closed it's doors in the summer of 2012, demolition work began shortly afterwards and was completed in the first quarter of 2013. This is my own personal footage, and I hope I have captured the essence of the wonders that Heathrow had in the late 20th and early 21st century and preserved that memory.
(The ATC recording is of the final Concorde flight between Heathrow and Bristol Filton (the birthplace of Concorde),that took place on the 26th of November 2003.)
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