The aircraft hangar known as 16U is of c.1917 date and is a General Service Flight Shed constructed for the Royal Flying Corps. It is constructed of brick walls with a Belfast truss roof.
Reason for Listing
The Aircraft Hangar (16U), Filton Airfield, South Gloucestershire, erected circa 1917, is listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: it has strong historical significance, within both a local and national context, as a First World War aircraft hangar on one of the Air Acceptance Parks for the Royal Flying Corps, and as part of Sir George White's pioneering Bristol Aircraft Company factory site of 1910, which produced important aircraft; it also saw service in the Second World War;
* Rarity and group value: very few General Service Sheds survive well, particularly with companion buildings of the same date (both Hangars 16M and 16S are already listed at Grade II);
* Intactness: despite some changes to the fabric, such as the removal of the end doors, minor additions and the replacement of the south windows, the majority of the fabric remains intact and legible.
The Bristol Aeroplane Company, founded by Sir George White, was established at Filton in 1910 as one of Britain's first aircraft manufacturers. By the Second World War the company supplied engines for nearly half the world's airlines and more than half the world's air forces, and in the Second World War it provided a third of the RAF's engines. Sited to the north of Sir George White's aircraft factory of 1910 (converted out of tram manufacturing sheds built in 1908), this part of Filton was developed as an Aircraft Acceptance Park for the reception and final assembly of aircraft from factories and their flight testing, storage and distribution to operational squadrons. In November 1918, following the end of the war, the buildings were retained for use by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, and after 1929 became part of an operational fighter base. Following the disbanding of 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron in 1957, the hangars reverted to use by the aircraft factory, now BAE Systems. The airfield was decommissioned in 2012.
The first known reference to the general type of roof construction that became known as the "Belfast truss" was in The Dublin Builder of 1866. The term was first marketed by D Anderson And Co. of Belfast after 1905, and their factory supplied the Royal Flying Corps with the roofs for hangar construction from 1916. The hangar at Filton Airfield, a General Service Shed identified on site as 16U, is shown in its current location on an historic photograph of c.1920, and on an Air Ministry location plan of November 1927. The building is disused in 2013.
An aircraft hangar (General Service Shed), built in c.1917.
MATERIALS: constructed of red and brown brick with softwood roof trusses, and metal-framed windows with concrete lintels. The roof is corrugated iron.
PLAN: A single-span rectangular hangar on an approximate east/ west orientation, with attached single-storey workshops to each side.
EXTERIOR: The west end is largely sealed in brick and the east end covered with timber boarding, and both have inserted doorways. Each end elevation has an eaves cornice with a segmental gable above. To the side of each corner are tall brick piers that formerly supported the sliding hangar doors. The flank walls have wide upper windows, each with 12 panes, alternating with 15 raking buttresses, with cement render to each outfacing side. Single-storey, brick workshop annexes with pitched roofs and casements are fixed to the south-east flank (3 bays) and north-west flank (7 bays). The south-east casements are aluminium.
INTERIOR: 15 softwood Belfast trusses span the interior, supporting the curved roof, and creating 17 bays. Each truss is formed of a bow-curved upper chord with a tie-beam, and close-mesh, lattice bars in a criss-cross pattern between the two members. There is horizontal timber bracing between the trusses, of small scantling. The tie-beams and bow chords are constructed of sections of half-lapped timbers bolted to each other either side of the lattice bars. The ends of the bow are anchored to the tie-beam with gusset boards and knee braces, and the bearing ends are secured to wall plates and angled bracing struts. The plates are carried on the brick outer walls. The struts are carried on three-coursed brick corbels. There is vertical X-bracing between bays, and longitudinal horizontal bracing fixed to the tie-beams with brackets. There is further horizontal bracing in the end bays. Late-C20 structures have been inserted to each end, within the envelope of the hangar, and are not of special interest. Door openings lead into the workshop annexes to each side.
Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the late-C20 internal fittings and partitioning are not of special architectural or historic interest and are excluded from the listing.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.