Bentley Priory

Bentley Priory and Guardians

Family visit to Bentley Priory last Wednesday. As you know, this was the headquarters of RAF Fighter Command during WW2. From there Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding ran the Battle of Britain. In later years the house became the Officers Mess for RAF Stanmore before being sold off to developers in 2008. Luckily part of the deal was for the Priory to be restored to host the Bentley Priory Museum. Lots of information here.

Fighter Command Crest  Spitfire Gate Guardian

For anyone with an interest in WWII or history in general a visit is a must. For anyone ignorant of the part Bentley Priory played in the Battle of Britain (or even of the battle itself) it is definitely worth a visit, if for no other reason than the excellent short film which provides an excellent introduction.



To begin with, the Filter Room was located in the grand ballroom, however before the Battle of Britain it had been relocated to a much safer (and resilient) underground bunker. After the war this was filled in and a new bunker constructed in time for the Cold War, unfortunately this isn’t open to visitors. If you really want to see what the underground control room would have been like, there is an exact copy at RAF Uxbridge but that’s another story.




Time travel

The RAF Museum Hendon, is one of my favourite haunts; I like to pop in for an hour or two when I’m in the area. Exhibits change all the time and I enjoy encountering something new. Yesterday I noticed the old Watch Office seemed to be open to visitors so I wandered over for a closer look.

It turned out that the Grahame-White Factory and Watch Office had been newly opened in March. They’ve relocated, restored and rebuilt the whole thing and installed all the museum’s early aircraft in the factory (to the left of the watch office in the picture below). As I entered the Watch Office it felt like I had travelled back in time. As I walked around the factory, I could visualise it in its heyday, building Avro 504K’s.

It wasn’t very busy when I was there, I think that’s because it’s not obvious that it is open to the public, I hope more people take the unprepossessing path to the right of the main museum entrance and explore this insight into aviation in the early 1900’s.

The Grahame White Watch House

So, drop in if you are passing, and travel back in time 🙂