Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Whitehead commented: “I welcome the arrival of this new facility in the centre of what we do at Warton.
“BAE Systems is proud of its heritage, which continues to inspire and inform the technologies we are developing for tomorrow. Our new heritage centre is a celebration of our incredible track record of aerospace innovation.”
The Warton-based heritage team has been part of BAE Systems for the past two decades, collecting and storing information, pictures and footage of some of the proudest moments in the rich history of the Company’s sites across Lancashire.
The new centre contains a wealth of historical records and footage, including displays on the Experimental Aircraft Programme (EAP) - the forerunner to the Eurofighter Typhoon - and information on every development from the very first aircraft to be built at the old Preston and Lytham sites, right up to BAE Systems’ Military Air & Information business’ world leading programmes of today at Warton and Samlesbury.
Centre volunteers are also involved in producing a number of books on the history of Warton, Preston, Samlesbury and other Lancashire sites, including volumes on test flying in the county and upcoming histories of the EAP and of the two men at the start of Lancashire’s aircraft industry, William Bruce Dick and John Kerr.
Ian Lawrenson, BAE Systems’ Warton Heritage Centre Manager, said: “The new heritage centre will ensure that we continue to preserve and promote the rich history of these sites.
“The new premises offers an active archive, allowing people to research aircraft and find out more about the Company’s achievements of the past that are still inspiring the technologies of tomorrow.”
The centre has been relocated to its new site to make way for a new Lancashire Enterprise Zone which is being developed at the Company’s Warton and Samlesbury sites and which is expected to create 11,000 direct and indirect jobs.