Newsletter 27
Summer 2010
Updated on 122Aug2010
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents Hawker Association

Annual General Meeting
Aviation Art
Brooklands Anniversaries
Defence Electronics History
Early Years Of The Pegasus
F-35 Lightning II News
Ham Factory Ownership
Harrier Conversion Team
Hawk News
Kingston Camm Centre
New Books
Programme For 2010
Sea Fury News
Sea Harrier News
Treble One Hunter Appeal

    David Hassard reports on the opening of this new learning facility…
    Kingston University’s Roehampton Vale campus is the current home of their School of Aeronautical Engineering within the Faculty of Engineering.  The Faculty of Engineering runs BSc courses in Aeronautical Engineering and Aircraft Engineering, alongside a range of Automotive and Civil Engineering courses.  They also run MSc courses and undertake significant amounts of research work for industry and academia.
    There are longstanding connections between Kingston University (formerly Technical College and Polytechnic) and Hawker, and for some years, until 1994, the Faculty of Engineering was actually based in the old Sopwith/Hawker factory in Canbury Park Road.
Kingston University "Sir Sydney Camm Centre"

     On the Roehampton Vale Campus, the University Department of Information Services has recently brought together its high quality library, computing and multimedia facilities into a very modern “Learning Resources Centre” and has chosen to call it the “Sir Sydney Camm Centre” in recognition and celebration of local aeronautical history. As the information and learning hub of the campus, the centre has high specification computers running engineering software and a wireless network for portable devices, as well as printing and reprographic facilities.
     The collection includes textbooks, monographs and DVDs and electronic access to over 40,000 journals. A reception and helpdesk provides the first point of call for enquiries and advice on study related issues including careers and financial advice and, most surprisingly, the Centre also incorporates a “Learning Cafe”.  As a result it has become the natural place to congregate on Campus providing a social meeting point for staff and students alongside silent study rooms and group study areas with the latest multimedia facilities.
    The high profile opening ceremony took place on 25th March 2010 attended by some 200 invited guests. These included members of the Hawker Association, academic staff from Kingston and collaborating Universities, representatives from the Sir Sydney Camm Commemorative Society in Windsor, aviation industry student sponsors including British Airways, Marshalls of Cambridge and KLM, and the Deputy Mayors of Kingston and Merton.
    Each attendee was presented with an interesting brochure on Sir Sydney Camm produced by University researcher Bill Downey.  During his research over many months he also collected a unique set of 140 photographs which were projected as a looped display during the ceremony. These photographs came from many sources including the Imperial War Museum, the Hawker archive at the Brooklands Museum, the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Times Digital Archive and the Kingston Heritage Centre.
    For an hour before the opening ceremony, Bill had arranged for a group of people who had known Sir Sydney to be filmed discussing him and his aircraft.  Chaired by Professor Brian Cathcart, this was a great success providing a wide range of anecdotes and insights from Ambrose Barber, Dave Edwards, John Farley, Harry Frazer Mitchell, Derek Sims and Duncan Simpson.   
    The formal opening ceremony started with Kingston University Vice Chancellor Sir Peter Scott and the Head of Information Services Graham Bulpitt explaining the value and purpose of the Centre and their intention to perpetuate the University’s link with Kingston’s aviation heritage. Ambrose Barber provided an engaging insight to Sir Sydney Camm and his achievements picking out some key events from his career. Bill Downey had also tracked down Chloe Dickson, Sir Sydney’s great granddaughter, who spoke of how much she had learned about her great grandfather as a result of this event and her growing pride in his, and Hawker’s, achievements.
    This was followed by excerpts from an Imperial War Museum tape recording of Bill Humble recalling how he became a test pilot at Hawker, his memories of Sir Sydney and the characteristics of some Hawker aircraft he had test flown. This was entertaining and a fitting introduction to his granddaughter, TV presenter Kate Humble, who gave an excellent speech summarising the value and importance of the achievements of Sir Sydney and Hawker in general before being asked to declare “The Sir Sydney Camm Centre” open.
    The whole event was extremely well organised and recorded for posterity on film.  Invited guests were very well looked after by the university with buffet and refreshments in the Sir Sydney Camm Centre and a tour of the laboratory and workshop facilities.  There is every facility you would expect to see in a modern university aeronautical department including wind tunnels, an airliner cockpit simulator and a complete Learjet!  There can be no doubt that the new “Sir Sydney Camm Centre” is at the heart of an excellent facility for training future generations of aeronautical engineers and is a fitting memorial to him and to Kingston’s aviation heritage.

Writer’s note. Copies of the Sir Sydney Camm brochure/handout from the event can be borrowed from the Hawker Association Secretary. The studio discussion film is currently being edited and will be made available to the Association. The University’s Department of Information Services plan to develop the looped photograph presentation into a permanent audio-visual presentation for the Sir Sydney Camm Centre.  This may also be on display at the Brooklands Museum in time for the 75th anniversary of the first flight of the Hurricane later this year.  When ready, Bill Downey has offered to show it at a future Hawker Association meeting.