Second World War airfield to be restored as part of museum plans

East Cambridgeshire District Council.

East Cambridgeshire District Council. - Credit: Archant

A former smokery will be converted into a Second World War airfield museum.

Simon Isaacson has been granted permission by East Cambridgeshire District Council to convert the smokery, in Wilbraham Road, Bottisham, into a museum complete with Nissen hut and a pre-fabricated toilet block.

The museum is being set up to “show the heritage of Bottisham airfield” and was praised by the district council for bringing a redundant building back into use and “increasing the range of jobs available locally”.

The site was previously home to River Farm Smokery, which has moved to Exning.

The committee behind the Bottisham Airfield Museum intends to rebuild the Nissen hut as close as possible to its original location, with several other surviving Second World War buildings also being restored.

The airfield was home to pilots from the RAF, United States Air Force and Belgian Air Force during the conflict and museum officials have recovered dozens of items from servicemen who used the facility to form part of its displays.

Planning officer Jon Pavey-Smith said: “The application would ensure the existing buildings are retained for an employment use and the countryside location is considered to be appropriate for the type of use proposed.

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“There would be no adverse effects on highway safety and it is considered that potential adverse effects on residential amenity and on the green belt would be successfully mitigated by the use of planning conditions.”

Bottisham Airfield was originally opened in 1940 as a relief site for RAF Waterbeach, but was upgraded over the years until the USAF arrived and took over the base in 1943.

In 1945, the Belgian Air Force moved into the base and used it as a training facility until 1946, when they returned to the European mainland. The base was closed later that year and sold off for agriculture in 1958.

To find out more about the museum, visit or e-mail