Tangmere Aviation Museum was a place I had driven past many a times but never stopped into.
I had always made the assumption that it would be boring, that it probably resemble a village hall with not much stuff in it because Chichester doesn’t tend to have the most expansive of collections (you usually have to travel to much bigger cities such as London for this) and so I made some assumptions…
But if you know me then you’ll know two things: The first is that I bladdy love proving assumptions wrong (especially when they’re my own!), and the second is that I have an ever growing obsession with planes…
You see aeroplanes are amazing. They have been one of the biggest forces in uniting people and helping to eradicate prejudices and assumptions by enabling people to visit different parts of the earth. They’re a bit of a problem when it comes to the ol’ emissions but the benefits of aviation are ever growing and I find it pretty incredible that you can fly to the other side of the earth in 24 hours.
Then there are the wars which took place and enabled me to be sitting here now, alive and with freedom of speech. The topic of war is a whole different conversation and not one I’ll be delving into here as that’s not what this post is about, but no matter what your personal beliefs are on the subject, if they hadn’t of taken place today would look a whole lot different… And it has to be said, I quite like how today looks.
I’m a 24 year old woman who can dress how she wants and say what she feels without being chastised, patronised (mostly) or jailed and that’s pretty damn ace, but I also love to look back on the things which enabled me to get to where I am today and to see how much has evolved and changed in society and technology, and when you step into Tangmere Aviation Museum, you definitely see that.
Tangmere Aviation Museum is situated inside two hangers and is based on RAF Tangmere, an airfield which is known especially for the role it played in the Battle Of Britain and it houses a wealth of exhibits, artefacts and information, serving as not only an incredible educational tool, but as a memorial to those who gave their lives in service of our country.
But the thing which truly makes the museum, is the volunteers. Tangmere Aviation Museum is only here today because a group of like-minded enthusiasts worked together to keep the memory alive and preserve the history, and the volunteers which run the place are doing a cracking job.
Their abundance of knowledge is incredible and the volunteers are not only informative, but respectful, approaching only to discuss more when it is warranted and stepping away when the conversation comes to a natural end (which is perfect if, like me, you can be a bit socially awkward at times!)
Tangmere Aviation Museum is a place (I am pleased to say) made me re-evaluate me assumptions, because once inside it didn’t have that village hall vibe.
Instead you’ll find that it has walls plastered with information and vintage posters
It has exhibits to help you understand more about past battles
It has an excavated plane which was shot down during the Battle of Britain. It has dinghies, lifejackets and parachutes which make you realise how incredible modern day equivalents are and also question how they stayed preserved for so long
It has flight simulators and a collection of cameras and aerial blueprints so varied I want to take them all and put them on a shelf in my living room
And it has volunteers with the patience to indulge over-excited 24 year olds when they get a bit *too* excited about sitting in the cockpit.
So if you find yourself with a spare hour or two, Tangmere Aviation Museum is definitely somewhere you should pop into.
Ticket prices – £9 per adult and less for children/Over 60s.
Website can be found here.