The Shuttleworth Collection
As you turn into the gates of Old Warden Aerodrome, home of The Shuttleworth Collection and see the all grass aerodrome and the 20s/30s style buildings, you will be transported back to yesteryear and the life and times of Richard Ormonde Shuttleworth. Richard was the only son of Colonel and Mrs Frank Shuttleworth of Old Warden Park. He became a very wealthy young man in the early 1930s when he inherited both the vast Shuttleworth estate after his father's death and, later, the fortune of his childless Uncle Alfred. In the twenties and thirties relatively few people thought about obtaining early cars or aeroplanes, but Richard Shuttleworth had the foresight and determination to obtain some exceptionally worthwhile examples of both.
Richard Shuttleworth was not, however, a 'museum' man - he obtained items to make them work: his cars participated in the annual Brighton runs and his aeroplanes flew regularly at displays and were also used to get him to various parts of the globe to take part in his other all absorbing activity of car racing. It was at Brooklands that in 1932 Richard bought his first aeroplane; not then a collectors piece, but a four year old de Havilland Moth that he used as his regular fly about. This aeroplane, G-EBWD, has now lived at one aerodrome (Old Warden) for longer than any flying aeroplane in aviation history. In addition to collecting and racing, Richard founded the Warden Aviation Company which was based in one hangar near the aerodrome gate, above which were his drawing office and associated rooms: today that hangar houses the aero engineering workshop, while the upstairs area is the Shuttleworth Veteran Aeroplane Society's headquarters and the admin offices are alongside the aero workshops! Not much changes!
Sadly Richard was killed in a flying accident whilst piloting a Fairey Battle light bomber at the beginning of August 1940 - subsequently his mother established the Richard Ormonde Shuttleworth Remembrance Trust which enabled the Collection to grow, from the original workshops, to the seven hangars housing the historic aircraft and veteran and vintage vehicles that you can see here now.
The Shuttleworth Collection is unique in that it is a 'living' museum - almost all the aeroplanes are flyable (some are the sole survivors of their type) and one hangar is devoted to First World War aircraft and another to those used in the Second World War for training, light bombing, defence and attack, together with associated memorabilia. The aeroplanes from the Collection are flown regularly in displays during the summer season but can be viewed in their static display exhibition throughout the year.
The Collection is open daily (except for Christmas to New Year week). Hours of opening are from 10am until 5pm March to November and from 10am to 4pm December, January and February. The Collection is approximately 3 miles from Biggleswade, signposted from the A1 at the Biggleswade roundabout. The nearest train station is at Biggleswade but bus services are infrequent and a taxi may be necessary. There is ample space for car parking and for picnics; there is a superb play area for children and a visitor/retail centre and restaurant.
Group: £7 per person (min 20 person or more).
|Season Dates||Opening Hours|
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ContactMrs Una Watts
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VenueThe Shuttleworth Collection
Old Warden Aerodrome, Old Warden, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, SG18 9EP
Map reference: TL 149448 Lat: 52.09005 Long: -0.32332
From the A1: Left at northern most Biggleswade roundabout, straight ahead at next roundabout, 1 mile to gates to Collection.
By Public Transport:
From Biggleswade station it is 4 miles to Shuttleworth Collection.
Parking : with charge
Nearest station : 3 miles (4.8 kms) from Biggleswade station
Civic Shield Award for the Swiss Garden.