As we delve further into the history of Harrow, we had to give mention the former Royal Air Force Stanmore Park (RAF Stanmore Park).
The station was based on Uxbridge Road, Stanmore and was the borough’s only RAF station. Originally opened in 1939, the unit was built on the grounds of the former Stanmore Hall purchased by the Air Ministry in 1938 with the hall being demolished to make room the same year.
Not be confused with RAF Bridgnorth, which was created around the same time period at Stanmore to the East of Bridgnorth in Shropshire that bares the same name as Harrow’s Stanmore, this was renamed RAF Bridgnorth. Older residents may remember dring past the station and seeing the Gloster Javelin aircraft proudly displayed outside the base.
The Javellin aircraft was retained by the Ministry of Aviation for trials (delivered on 28 April 1955) and never delivered to the RAF for operational use. After withdrawal it was used at RAF Yatesbury as a gate guard at 7470M from 13 August 1957, then as RAF Stanmore Park’s gate guard from 20 May 1963. On the closure of Stanmore Park, it was sold at auction for £3400 to South Africa (Thunder City, Cape Town Airport) on 24 September 1998, repainted in overall gloss black and displayed on pylons as the Thunder City gate guard. It is still at Thunder City today.
In the summer of 1990, RAF Stanmore Park made national news after a suspected IRA bomb was exploded at the base after a guard had spotted a suspicious-looking rucksack. The surrounding areas had to be evacuated and thankfully, no casualties were reported but the incident caused considerable concern for the community at the time and was widely reported.
The base formed part of No 11 Group, which was originally at RAF Uxbridge and then transferred to nearby RAF Bentley Priory until its closure in April 1997 with housing built on the site.
One of the original buildings was retained for use as a Community Centre which now houses Army Youth Services and a preschool, amongst other things.