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  1. ITV Report

A century of aviation history is saved with restoration of the Hooton Hangars

The most southerly hangar at Hooton Park Credit: Hooton Park Trust

Some of the north west's oldest aircraft hangars have been removed from a list of heritage at risk after being brought back to life by a dedicated team of volunteers.

All three Belfast hangars at Hooton Park, Ellesmere Port, were placed on Historic England's register in 2003 when they were upgraded from Grade II listing.

The final phase of works has been completed to repair the roofs and structures on the central and southern structures.

A De de Havilland Chipmunk at Hooton Park Aerodrome Credit: Hooton Park Trust

The land was requisitioned by the British War Department more than a century ago.

The three double General Purpose hangars were built in 1917 to house the planes of the Royal Flying Corps and were used in both World Wars.

Built with limited war-time materials, they were never designed as long life structures and by the turn of the century they were in an advanced state of deterioration.

The Hooton Park Trust was formed in 2000 to bring about their restoration.

"The site is unique in that we have all three hangars in context with the out buildings."

– Graham Sparkes, Hooton Park Trust
Scaffold in Building 18 at Hooton Park Credit: Hooton Park Trust

Work began in 2009 to repair the hangars, with trusses replaced and new roofs fitted to take over from the originals which had been propped up with scaffold.

The two hangars now both bring in income as storage facilities.

As work progressed, the roof of the most northern hangar was captured collapsing on video.

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The northern hangar after the roof collapse Credit: Hooton Park Trust

The final new roof has now been fitted and the trust is seeking funding to allow the ends of the third hangar to be closed in.

Once fully restored, it is hoped this hangar will become a museum for the public which can also engage the local community.

"This is a major achievement for the trust and Historic England to ensure the survival of these important World War I buildings."

– Graham Sparkes, Hooton Park Trust
It's hoped a new museum will open here Credit: Hooton Park Trust

Over the last year 19 historic buildings and sites have been saved in the North West.

Imaginative uses have been found for empty buildings, providing new visitor attractions and cultural venues for people to enjoy.

16 sites have been added to the register because of concerns about their condition.