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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