The Hornchurch Aerodrome Historical Trust have very kindly been gifted ‘Sutton’s House’, by Bellway Homes for use as the RAF Hornchurch Heritage Centre, which will house the many varied artefacts helping to preserve the rich history of both WWI Royal Flying Corps Sutton’s Farm and the WWII Royal Air Force Hornchurch. All the rooms are themed to a different aspect through the aerodrome’s history, there is also a Bomber Command and a Home Front Room.
Sutton’s House was originally part of the former Suttons Institution, which was opened in September 1938, and was a year later requisitioned by RAF Hornchurch and used to house various RAF personnel between 1939–1946. After the RAF departed the site was renamed and became St. George’s Hospital which opened in 1948.
Ted Exall was the man behind the original idea of trying to remember and educate the public about RAF Hornchurch. This started when he first worked as a caretaker at the R. J. Mitchell school, from that point until his untimely death in 2004, Ted worked tirelessly to ensure the memory of this aerodrome was not lost, he also perpetuated the memories of those brave young men and women that had served on the aerodrome.
Ted’s passion for getting a museum where the story of the aerodrome could be told, sadly never materialised in his lifetime. But his legacy still lives on today with the same ethos he started, and although his original association now operates under the new name of The Hornchurch Aerodrome Historical Trust, we still continue the work he started. The new RAF Hornchurch Heritage Centre now forms part of Ted’s dream, along with the dedicated space for all education needs which will be named in his honour, called the ‘Ted Exall Education suite.’
Tony Philpot who is the Chairman told the Havering Daily: “Being given the opportunity of having Sutton’s House will now ensure that the history will be preserved and presented to a much wider audience, and of course having a dedicated education suite will allow us to host schools which will enable us to bring that history to all future generations.”