The former farm manager's building, which is going to be turned into an aviation heritage centre
A joint venture between three groups will see a new dedicated heritage centre for Sheppey’s aviation history opened.
HMP Standford Hill has made a room in the former farm manager’s building off Brabazon Way, Eastchurch, available for the museum.
It will be run by volunteers from the Blue Town Heritage Centre and supported by the Sheppey Heritage Trust.
Jenny Hurkett, who runs Blue Town, said it wasn’t something she had planned on setting up but came about after a discussion around The Old Mill Coffee Shop, which opened on Friday as part of Sustainable Sheppey.
Prison officers were looking at her aviation displays while at the centre with inmates who are on the Community Pay Back scheme and Mrs Hurkett offered them some photos to display in the cafe.
It then transpired they had another room which could be made available and they have offered it out as a heritage centre.
It needs a bit of work on the inside and Mrs Hurkett says they will be applying for funding, although they don’t know how much until they find out exactly what needs doing. She expects it will be a few thousand pounds.
The new centre will be on the ground where the Short Brothers moved their aircraft construction businesses to in 1910, from Leysdown, and where they carried on building until 1917.
Mrs Hurkett said they hope to have it open by the end of the year and the idea is it will be to compliment displays at Muswell Manor.
“It’s the start of a long-term project to protect and recognise the contribution of personnel from The Royal Navy, the Army and RAF at Eastchurch.
“We are really excited as there’s a huge amount of history – it’s world heritage, not just the UK.”
The heritage centre will start taking people round it once it’s opened as part of the Island tours and it will also be open to the public.
If you have any relevant donations about Eastchurch’s aviation which could be added to the centre, phone Mrs Hurkett on 01795 662981 or email email@example.com