Why Croydon Airport is the unsung hero of British aviation

British Airways may be marking 100 years since its first commercial flight with all-singing, all-dancing celebrations at Heathrow, but the true hero of UK air travel is actually in south London

Lottie Gross
Thursday 22 August 2019 17:37
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How Croydon Airport is the unsung hero of British aviation

I don’t make a habit of hanging around on industrial estates in Croydon. But there is one I just have to keep coming back to.

Not because it’s known for more of this south London town’s love-it-or-hate-it Brutalist architecture, but because, unassumingly plonked on Purley Way, among a Chinese hypermarket and a drive-thru Costa Coffee, is London’s first ever international airport.

It might seem a tall order for Croydon to be home to such an integral part of an industry that is today worth over £2 trillion. But from the 1920s until 1959 it was, and the white Art Deco building that remains today is now a treasure trove of aviation nerdery.

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