Stanley Park Aerodrome is now Blackpool Zoo and many of the old Art Deco buildings are still in use by the zoo. Although the aerodrome was much larger.
It was officially opened as Blackpool?s municipal airport on the 2nd of June 1931 by Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald.
Scheduled flights from Blackpool began, to Leeds/Bradford Airport, and in 1932 to the Isle of Man, booked from their offices at 22 Birley Street.
The site had begun to be used for flying in August 1929 and had four grass landing strips on its 120 acres. There was 1 Blister hangar, later 4 Bellmann hangars, together with offices and a control tower. It was a fully operational and licensed aerodrome and the first Municipal Aerodrome in the country.
The first Blackpool Air Pageant was held at Stanley Park Aerodrome on the 13th of July 1931, with demonstrations by an Autogyro, an aerial ambulance and parachute descents being popular. Amelia Earhart stopped off at Blackpool after her cross-Atlantic flight.
The aerodrome was closed in 1936, but re-opened in 1937 when Railway Air Services (RAS) who had operated from Squires Gate from April 1935, moved to Stanley Park.
Stanley Park Aerodrome stayed in use for mainly military purposes until the end of World War 2, with aircraft repairs being undertaken by both the RAF and the Lancashire Aircraft Corporation. A limited amount of charter flying was performed from Stanley Park during early 1946 by Lancashire Aircraft Corporation, but they transferred to the better facilities at Squires Gate, and all flying from Stanley Park ceased in 1947. The airfield was still used for aircraft scrapping until at least 1952, and the buildings were used by the Council to store Illuminations displays and deckchairs.
The Corporation bought the land on East Park Drive in 1969 to build a Zoo and a Safari Park. They then sold all but the 32 acres on which the zoo stands, and Blackpool Golf Club and the De Vere Hotel now occupy the land that was originally intended for the safari park.
The airport Control Tower was used for offices and later a children?s nursery, and the three hangars - one of which was later used as the elephant house - remain.
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