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Campaign launched to save Birmingham Art Deco airport terminal

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A campaign has been launched to save Birmingham’s Tempelhof-inspired airport terminal and restore the building

A petition calling on Birmingham Airport to hand over the Elmdon Terminal and Control Tower to a heritage organisation to ensure the building’s protection has garnered thousands of signatures.

Until recently the terminal, which was opened by the Duchess of Kent in 1939 when the facility was known as Elmdon Airport, served as offices for flight support service tenants but it closed a few weeks ago following flood damage. 

Designed by architect Nigel Norman and engineer Graham Dawbarn, the terminal’s design in an Art Deco style was influenced by Berlin’s Tempelhof terminal and is known for its overhanging canopies resembling aeroplane wings and airside Streamline Moderne semicircular balconies.

Lead petitioner Chris Shaw, who has applied to Historic England for listed status to be granted to the terminal said the building was ‘iconic’.

’It is a reminder of the glamorous days of aviation and it is something we should be proud of and protect for the future,’ he said.

The Twentieth Century Society has backed the campaigners’ calls for the building to be turned into an aviation museum or a visitors’ centre with views over the runway.

Tess Pinto, a senior conservation adviser at the society said: ‘It’s a great shame to see this historic building, with its striking wing-like cantilevers, in such a poor state of repair. We fully support the campaign to find it a new use. It would make a fantastic aviation museum or visitor centre, for example.’

The building has not been used as an air terminal since 1984 when a new building opened to deal with the growing number of passengers.

‘Aircraft enthusiasts would be in heaven with the views of the airfield, added Shaw. ‘School children would also love visiting it. It will cost a lot to restore but it will eventually begin to pay for itself.’

A spokesperson for Birmingham Airport said: ‘The airport is currently carrying out surveys to ascertain the internal damage caused by a flood, following recent freezing weather conditions.

‘Once these assessments have taken place and we have explored options, we’ll be able to provide some clarity for the community.’

Historic England confirmed it had received an application to list Elmdon Airport Terminal and Control Tower and said it was in the ‘early stages’ of assessment.

Large elmdon 1

Large elmdon 1

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