New mural celebrates Cricklewood’s past as a former home to a commercial airline after the First World War
PUBLISHED: 17:57 09 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:57 09 March 2020
Peter Alvey Photographer
A platform at Cricklewood Station now has a colourful mural honouring the area’s rich aviation heritage.
Cricklewood based artist and sculptor Alistair Lambert has created the eye-catching imagery of Handley Page bi-planes on the walkway up to platform one.
At the launch on March 5 was former Handley Page employee, Alan Dowsett, who'd made a special trip from his home in Epping to see the art work.
The 79-year-old said: 'I'm very impressed with the mural. Handley Page was a good place to work; it was like a big family. Old employees still keep in touch.'
Frederick Handley Page founded the first British public company to build aircraft in 1909 and established a factory in Cricklewood in 1912.
For a few years after the First World War Cricklewood was home to one of the very first commercial airlines in the world.
Handley Page Air Services flew passengers and post between Cricklewood and Paris in converted biplanes developed during the Great War,
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The machines, with wing spans of one hundred feet, were built in Cricklewood at the same site that they flew from on Claremont Road.
Pilots wearing flying goggles flew the passengers who were sat inside on wicker chairs enjoying spectacular views that few had ever seen before.
'I wanted to capture something of the hope and excitement of those early interwar years,' said Mr Lambert, who created the red Cricklewood sign and a colourful cow in the station.
'Nowadays flying is a luxury we take for granted and continue at our planet's peril, but back then the sky was the limit and Cricklewood was there at the very start of it.'
The idea for the mural was put forward by the NorthWestTwo Residents' Association and funded through Govia Thameslink Railway's Passenger Benefit Fund.
Association secretary Marie Hancock said more projects are being planned for the station: 'We're delighted to work with Alistair to celebrate Cricklewood's rich heritage and at the same time, enhance the station environment,' she added.
Thameslink's Radlett to Cricklewood station manager Marc Asamoah said: 'Local residents take huge pride in their station here at Cricklewood and it's wonderful to see their ideas being brought to life. The new mural has been admired by all who use the station and has generated much interest.'
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