Title: Grandma flew Spitfires
Description: Exhibition and archive dedicated to the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA)
Our permanent exhibition honours the achievements of the Air Transport Auxiliary, and is home to a fabulous Spitfire simulator!
Your visit to “Grandma Flew Spitfires” begins with a short introductory film before you move upstairs past photographs of some of the amazing men and women who made ATA such a success.
Our gallery has been packed with uniforms, flying equipment, navigation equipment and ATA memorabilia. Displays explain how ATA pilots came from 25 different countries, how they managed to fly so many different planes and how they flew all over Britain in a single day. Pilots’ log books are on display together with more than 150 photographs, and you can listen to recordings of ATA aircrew telling their own stories. If you want to explore ATA in more depth, computer terminals give access to filmed interviews, log books and historic photographs from the museum’s archive.
The large ATA collection includes:
- Over 100 pilot (male and female) and flight engineer log books
- Hundreds of photographs, many from private collections
- Uniforms and flying clothing, including a ladies uniform worn by Ann Wood (USA)
- Navigation equipment
- Personal diaries and letters
- Maps used by ATA pilots
- Aircraft delivery chits
- Official documents
- A complete list of all ATA employees
- Newspaper, magazine articles and obituaries
It is intended to make the ATA collection catalogue and certain documents available on-line.
The Air Transport Auxiliary exhibition and archive (nicknamed “Grandma Flew Spitfires”) tells a forgotten story of courage, skill and sacrifice. 70 years on, it is difficult to believe that Britain was so desperate that the amateur pilots of Air Transport Auxiliary (men and women), were employed to fly dozens of different types of war planes between factories and front line squadrons. But it is true, as you will discover when you visit the Maidenhead Heritage Centre.
Why is the ATA exhibition & archive in Maidenhead? Because Air Transport Auxiliary’s headquarters airfield was at White Waltham, just 2 miles from Maidenhead Heritage Centre, which owns one of the largest collections of ATA memorabilia and records anywhere in the world. This Air Transport Auxiliary collection is on permanent display. Come and discover the inspiring story of ordinary men and women who achieved extraordinary things.
Location: First floor
Cost: we are a voluntary-run charitable museum with no financial help from the government. The huge investment in the Grandma Flew Spitfires project means that we have to make a modest charge for visits.
There is an admission charge in addition to the Spitfire Flight cost. The admission charge gives you access to the ATA museum & the Grandma Flew Spitfires exhibition, and it is valid for 12 months.
ATA admission charge:
- Adults £3.50
- Concessions £3.00
- Children (aged 10-16) £2.00
- Children under 10 FREE
- Friends of Maidenhead Heritage Centre FREE
Spitfire flights cost:
- 15 minutes flight: £7.50
- 30 minutes flight: £15.00
Group bookings available
We are delighted to welcome pre-booked visits from families, corporate groups, clubs and schools. Please contact us for details.
Did you know?
Did you know that you could fly a Spitfire simulator? Just like the intrepid men and women of ATA. The Spitfire simulator is located in the Grandma Flew Spitfires gallery.