Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

Frank Anderson, Chairman of the Croydon Airport Society, gave an informative illustrated lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on the ‘History of Croydon Airport’ in the absence of the scheduled speaker, Jack Gilman, who was unwell.

Croydon Airport was established as London’s airport in 1920.  It comprised an amalgamation of the military airfield at Beddington with the civilian airfield at Waddon.  Besides being London’s base for passenger flights, Croydon Airport was also the venue for air races and the starting off point for record breaking attempts.  Navigation was by eye and compass and the pilots initially sat in the open air but the passengers were soon housed in closed cabins with openable windows and curtains.  The passengers were weighed as well as their baggage and directed where to sit so that the plane was evenly loaded.  Overweight passengers sometimes had to wait several days for another flight.

The record breaking flights of Amy Johnson and other pioneers started from Croydon.  As planes got bigger there was insufficient runway for them to take off and land.  In 1946 Heathrow was opened and in 1947-8 the major airlines moved there from Croydon.  Croydon remained as a regional airport for shorter flights until its closure in 1959.


History of Croydon Airport a talk by Frank Anderson