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Science Museum, London–Aviation’s most sublime museum

10 June 2018

51° 29′ 51″ N/0° 10′ 27″ W

One expects an international city to have a world class science museum and London does not disappoint. Science Museum, London most certainly does not. Four floors (zero through three in UK parlance) of invention and comprehension with the natural sciences left to the Natural History Museum in the adjacent building.

What brought me here was a photo I saw years ago of the Me 163 Komet and later also the knowledge of the Supermarine S.6 Schneider Trophy racer piloted by Richard Waghorn—though I was astounded at how complete, bespoke and amazing this collection is.

Science Museum, London has no admission charge, cafés are sprinkled about, there are plenty of active things for children to do and toilets conveniently situated.

Messerschmitt Me 163B-1 Komet—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Messerschmitt Me 163B-1 Komet—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Most know of the museum’s Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet and even its Supermarine S.6B speed racer but who knew the entire top floor is an aviation museum outright! Aircraft suspended overhead, incredible professional scale models of aircraft which could not ever fly from the earliest of aviation’s days, engines mounted in racks like shoes in a bowling alley for convenient inspection—tantalizing to the senses as well as sparking the mind with so much of aviation’s history laid out for ease of understanding as well as visualization, not to mention Britain’s significant part in it.

Supermarine S.6B—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Supermarine S.6B—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Supermarine S.6B—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Supermarine S.6B—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Many remarkable aircraft used to accomplish historic feats are here, making this a spectacular museum:

  • A rare Beta 1 airship car
  • Alcock and Brown’s Vickers Vimy which they used to be the first to fly across the Atlantic
  • Amy Johnson’s de Havilland Gipsy Moth which she employed to be the first woman to solo from Great Britain to Australia
  • The UK’s first jet powered aircraft (Gloster E.28/39)—leading the UK into the jet age
  • The Schneider Trophy winning Supermarine S.6B which is proudly displayed on the floor, cannot be missed, for a good walkaround is a central attraction for its elegant and purpose-built appearance
  • Early marks of the Supermarine Spitfire (Mk IA) and Hawker Hurricane (Mk I)—both of these specific aircraft were flown into the fight in the Battle of Britain.
  • A Messerschmitt Me 163B-1 and a partially sectioned Fiesler V-1  (a V-2 is in the basement)
  • The jet age is more than represented by a, scimitar propeller, the Hawker Siddeley P.1127 (which led to the paradigm setting Harrier) and more.

Beta 1 Airship car in the London Science Museum (it was suspended below the envelope)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

J.A.P.-Harding Monoplane, a 1910 design—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Hawker Hurricane Mk I—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Hawker Hurricane Mk I—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

The early marks: Hawker Hurricane Mk I and Spitfire Mk IA—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Gloster E.28/39, the UK’s first jet aircraft and but around the Whittle centrifugal turbojet—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Cody Military Biplane—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Cockpit of the Bleriot XI which was first to fly across the Irish Sea—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Alcock and Brown’s Vickers Vimy which they flew as first across the Atlantic Ocean while above is Amy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth which she piloted as first woman to solo from Great Britain to Australia—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

And so much more…

Aircraft engines aplenty at Science Museum, London—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Babbage Difference Engine No. 2 (a mechanical calculator, ancestor to the computer)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Babbage Difference Engine No. 2 detail showing the number wheels and sector gears—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Tide Predicting Machine made in 1872—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Avro 504K biplane (one of the most produced aircraft post World War I) suspended above a Grand Junction Railway No. 49 steam locomotive—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

 

 

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. theflyingyorkshireman permalink
    11 June 2018 00:02

    Outstanding collection! Is there still free admission for visitors?

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      11 June 2018 06:38

      Indeed. Thanks for the gentle reminder to update the post with that information.

  2. shortfinals permalink
    11 June 2018 15:52

    Actually, *cough* I used to work for the Science Museum. I ran their Wroughton Airfield facility, but often went up to London. I also stored components for the Babbage Difference Engine for Dr Doron Swade when the project was in its infancy. Both the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire are actual Battle of Britain survivors.

  3. 22 June 2018 10:04

    What a collection! Definitely going there some day!

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