Where is Miss Leeds and Bradford Airport?

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The hunt is on to find Miss Leeds and Bradford Airport from the 1960s as part of a new exhibition to mark its 80th anniversary.

The exhibition, which will open to the public next week at Leeds Museum, will celebrate the history of the airport, from its humble beginnings right up to the present.

As part of the 80th anniversary celebrations, the exhibition organisers would like to track down a woman who was crowned Miss Leeds and Bradford Airport some time during the 1960s.

Tony Hallwood, Commercial Director at Leeds Bradford Airport, said: “We are very excited to celebrate and share memories of the airport’s past – it would be a real coup if we could find Miss Leeds Bradford Airport.”

Display

Ken Cothliff, local aviation historian, author and display commentator, will be touring with the memorabilia and his new book Yeadon Above the Rest.

He said: “In this, the 80th year of the existence of Leeds Bradford aerodrome, we are telling the story from its opening on October 17, 1931 to the growth of today when the airport has become the most successful regional airport in the United Kingdom.

“We have been collecting and borrowing airport mementos and items from local residents for our exhibition and it was in one of these donations that I found the picture of Miss Leeds and Bradford Airport. I believe the image may be dated from around 1965.

“It appears there were not many Miss LBAs but we would love to find one. She would make a very fitting guest of honour at the exhibition and I’m sure she would have some stories to tell.”

After the First World War, the civil aviation industry grew slowly, using old RAF bombers converted to carry passengers. In November 1919 for around six months, this was from Roundhay Park.

Circus

Yeadon Moor came into its own in the early 1930s when former First World War pilot Sir Alan Cobham’s brought his barnstorming Flying Circus to town, giving people their first experience of flight.

It was during this time Yorkshire Aeroplane Club, one of the county’s oldest, moved to Yeadon aerodrome.

Regular services began shortly afterwards and within a short time were offered to Scotland, London, Belfast and the Isle of Man.

The Civil Air Guard formed as the prospect of war with Germany loomed – 609 (West Riding) Squadron being founded at Yeadon on February 10, 1936 – it was among the first to receive a Spitfire in late August 1939.

The war years saw a total change in activity, with Yeadon playing a crucial role and the nearby Avro Aeroplane Company, which produced the Lancaster bomber – the factory was so skilfully camouflaged, it was never discovered by the Luftwaffe.

Boeing

After the war, RAF Yeadon was taken over by the Ministry of Civil Aviation until the cities of Leeds and Bradford took over.

Airshows were a regular feature during the 1950s and 1960s, while the popularity of package holidays in the 1970s brought new airlines and destinations.

The first Boeing 747 jumbo jet landed on November 4, 1984 and Concorde came on August 2, 1986 and was a regular visitor.

During the 1990s, two new airlines became major operators: Ireland’s Ryanair and ‘Yorkshire’s own airline’ Jet2.

The airport continues to expand, with new services in Europe and to the Indian sub-continent.

Ken Cothliff’s book, Yeadon Above the Rest is available from Croft Publications priced £35, or by emailing: kencothliff@hotmail.co.uk

* If you are or know who is Miss Leeds Bradford Airport please contact 0113 391 3209.

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