Glimpse history through old images of Speke Airport, the original airport serving Liverpool, which was a far cry from the modern John Lennon Airport you’ll find in Speke today.
Liverpool Airport Opens
In 1933, a new airport opened in the extensive grounds of Speke Hall. It was opened by Lord Londonderry, the Secretary of State for Air.
The line of two seater aeroplanes lined up on the grass waiting for takeoff shows how much has changed.
There’s a shot of young boys in jackets and shorts next to a small plane. Behind them is a large house next to a church. As they are lifted up into the plane by a man in a white overall, we can see some houses and chimneys in the background.
The Headmaster of Huyton Hill School explains that their school has its own private aerodrome, so it was simple to step into one of the comfortable Dragon Moth planes and fly to the new airport rather than endure three quarters of an hour of discomfort travelling by road.
Great Seaport Now Great Airport! (1933) – British Pathé on YouTube
1950s Helicopter Passenger Service
In the 1950s, (probably 1951) BEA introduced the first regular helicopter passenger service from Liverpool to Cardiff. There was room for three passengers and their luggage, along with some cargo space. The journey took 1 hour 40 minutes (the car journey today is roughly 3 hours 30 minutes).
We can see the large 1930s art deco style terminal in the background. Passengers walk from the terminal, and across a large expanse of grass to where the helicopter sits.
There are a couple of planes on the ground, but all seems very quiet.
This In Our Time Reel 6 (1950-1959) – British Pathé on YouTube
Liverpool Airport 1969
This home super 8 cine film from 1969 demonstrated how quiet the airport still was, dominated by small planes including those owned by the Liverpool Aero Club.
There’s a larger Air Ulster plan on site too, though, and amongst the larger planes landing and taking off is one belonging to Air Lingus.
A man standing on the runway signalling to planes looks quite hard to spot in his white overalls.
Flying 1969 Speke – Dorothy Mary Jones