London Airport – Heathrow

It wasn’t until after WWII that London Airport – Heathrow began to take shape as a major transit hub for London. In 1946 Heathrow was just a small privately owned grass-airfield with little if any infrastructure and no real terminals. Actually, in 1946 when Ministry of Civil Aviation took over the site they erected a tent as the first terminal structure (no word what the departures lounge amenities were like). With the expected growth of post-war air travel London needed a facility that could expand with the demand; at the time the partially built Heathrow site was ideal. More than sixty years later and Heathrow is the busiest airport in Europe and one of largest in the world.

These two videos (and images) take an interesting look at the history one of the most travelled airports in the world.

Comments on “London Airport – Heathrow

    Aaron on September 5, 2011 7:43 AM:

    Terminal 5 aside, it’s now a total shithole!

    Kirk on September 5, 2011 12:17 PM:

    ^^^, I was thinking of the same thing. First time I flew through there I expected to feel like Sean Connery on my way to erase Blofeld. Instead we were herded around like cattle and left to stand for hours in some horrid, feculent, sweltering transit zone. No martinis were to be found, either shaken or stirred.

    Wish I had known her when she still had a bit of luster and sparkle.

    Alex Frankel on September 5, 2011 1:15 PM:

    T5 is ridiculous now. Only once in the past 8-10 years of my travels to Europe have I not had to go through Heathrow and T5 has made it so much better lately.

    Arlo Smalls on September 5, 2011 3:28 PM:

    As a former New Yorker (Bay Ridge born and bred) who transferred to London on an initially 2yr stint 6 years ago, I can attest to the depressing experience that is Heathrow. Even T5 is an exercise in spectacularly British inefficiency – from the convoluted security search placements to the comical locations of the escalators… its a joke.

    I love this kooky country… London in particular… but one starts to wonder if the airports (dont get me started on Stanstead and Luton) are intentionally left to rot as a way to keep the tourists out.

    In fact, the airports are almost as bad as the pizza and the burgers.

    Baron Codswallop on September 5, 2011 4:17 PM:

    Fuck off, the lot of you, ignorant twats (it’s Stansted, by the way. learn to spell our local names, Yankee fuckwit). Heathrow, though deeply horrible, beats the tits off Chicago, Boston, JFK, not to mention the unspeakable Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, Rome, and that Dutch place. All airports are horrible – have you ever been to Bangalore – but ours are the best in the world. So there.

    Michael Williams on September 5, 2011 4:48 PM:

    I agree about CDG — that place is the worst.

    FAME on September 6, 2011 1:47 AM:

    Very interesting piece of history this is. Great work in tracking down the videos!

    N. C. Traveler on September 6, 2011 11:19 PM:

    I travel to London five to six times per year on British Airways. Terminal 5 is great. My route is always Washington-Heathrow-Washington and I’m lucky enough to enjoy access to the Galleries Lounges at both airports. I guess it’s all about expectations. I plan my trips on Friday or Saturday nights from Dulles: never more than five people in line at security; and during my last trip home from London it took 12 minutes from the bag drop to the lounge. Nice videos. “The V. I. P.’s” is an interesting film about Heathrow; but a tad dramatic for me. Great blog.

    Barry Coward on September 8, 2011 5:44 PM:

    In my youth we went by bus to LHR and watched planes from the roof of the Queens Building , just as they do in the 1960 film. There was vide variety of aircraft types in those days, piston, turbo-prop and jet. Today I avoid the place.

    Thankfully some of the friendly atmosphere that used to be found at LHR is now at London City. I recently watched a little old lady enter the terminal. Seeing her confusion a heavily armed police officer escorted her, first to check in, then through security to the departure lounge.

Comments are closed.