Robin Lee Architecture have been commissioned by London Borough of Bromley for the design of the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum at Biggin Hill. The project will safeguard the future of St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance, and through the building of the new museum will preserve and reveal Biggin Hill’s important place in the history of the Second World War.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a stage one pass for a grant of almost £2m towards the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum project.
Robin Lee Architecture are currently working with the project team at London Borough of Bromley to develop the design in partnership with the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum Trust. Donald Insall Associates will bring historic building and conservation management expertise to the project.
Cllr Stephen Carr, Leader of Bromley Council, said:
“There has been a long standing wish to safeguard Biggin Hill’s Second World War heritage through the building of a museum. In partnership with the Trust, the Council will continue to work with like-minded groups and individuals to realise this important project.”
Biggin Hill played a pivotal role in the Second World War, particularly during the Battle of Britain as Sir Winston Churchill’s ‘strongest link’, and is of international importance.
The Trust’s patron, Randolph Churchill, said:
“Biggin Hill was at the forefront of action to defend our skies in the Battle of Britain. In recognition of the important part she played in that battle my great grandfather, Winston Churchill, personally led the fundraising campaign for the Chapel’s construction in 1951, to be a permanent shrine of remembrance to those who gave their lives for our freedom. This important museum will remember ‘The Few’ and honour the Many, ensuring that Biggin Hill’s internationally significant heritage is preserved in the nation’s memory.”
Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said:
“The people who served at Biggin Hill, particularly during the Battle of Britain, played a significant role in creating the world we live in today, and this project offers a fantastic opportunity to honour their memory, and preserve and make known their stories. We are very pleased that, thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to offer our support, and we look forward to seeing the detailed plans in due course”.
The new building will frame the existing chapel and consecrated memorial garden, creating a quiet and contemplative courtyard space. Externally the building is constructed of Flemish bonded handmade bricks with a pale and subtly varied tone. The handmade bricks give the envelope a crafted character, counterpointed with crisp bronze detailing for windows, vents, door assemblies and ironmongery. High quality precast concrete copings and lintels reference the utilitarian structures from the first half of the 20th century associated with Biggin Hill airfield.
The interior spaces are lined in pale timber panels with an exposed gridded structural ceiling throughout to unify the internal environment and create a calm, homogenous experience as a backdrop to the powerful stories to be told through the exhibition design.
The project commission was procured via the GLA ADUP Framework in 2016 with Robin Lee Architecture selected via a competitive process.