Preserving Military Heritage
The history of RAF Halton
By celebrating and incorporating the memory of the site’s military heritage, we have the chance to create a unique place for people to live and the community to thrive.
The Halton estate has been associated with the renowned Rothschild banking family since the mid-1800s, when Baron Lionel de Rothschild purchased 1,500 acres from the Dashwood Family.
The estate passed to Alfred, son of Lionel in 1876. Alfred’s first ambition was to construct a magnificent house on the estate. Construction began in 1881 and was completed in 1883 in the French Renaissance style.
In early 1913 Alfred de Rothschild invited the 1st Brigade of Guards and support units of the British Army to use the land on the Halton estate as part of their summer manoeuvres.
Following Alfred’s death in 1918, the estate was purchased to provide a permanent base for the expanding Royal Air Force, which had only recently formed. The wooden huts constructed for the Army were no longer suitable and the first permanent accommodation blocks were constructed during the early 1920s.
Today, there are two museums on the base: the James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre and the Trenchard Museum. The DIO is engaging with the museums to ensure that we understand their aspirations for the future development of the site and to ensure the museums are appropriately provided for as part of the new development.
Celebrating military heritage
We want to preserve Halton’s important history and incorporate its heritage assets into the new development. We have developed a heritage-led approach which will unlock the heritage potential of the site and incorporate a trail to help tell the story of the site’s past.
Our emerging masterplan focuses on creating a viable, sustainable and vibrant future for the redeveloped RAF Halton site that recognises its unique features and heritage. The site has a variety of heritage assets which help to tell the story of Halton and provides an insight into its important military function.
By preserving and integrating historic assets such as the listed accommodation blocks and the old railway line, we will be able to create new heritage trails and open a locally important site to members of the public for the first time, providing opportunities for engagement. Where buildings are not suitable for residential conversion there is potential for them to incorporate alternative uses.
Halton Village is a designated Conservation Area and has an existing heritage trail with interpretive signage.
The current route could be expanded to include historic buildings at RAF Halton and comprehensive wayfinding and interpretation signage could be considered.