Look to the skies at Cricklewood: this used to be the home of Handley Page, aircraft maker and trailblazer in British aviation.
Handley Page established an aircraft factory at Cricklewood in 1912, where it remained until 1929. Here some of the 20th century’s bleakest years also gave rise to strides of innovation. During World War I, the company’s Handley Page O/100 made its mark as one of the largest heavy bomber planes.
This plane was developed right here at Cricklewood, just up the road from Brent Cross Town, after the admiralty asked for a “bloody paralyser of an aeroplane”. The O/100 had a wooden frame and a linen-glazed cockpit, with just about enough room for a crew of four or five. In March 1917, the O/100 made its first attack: a single aircraft made a run for a German railway station at Moulin-lès-Metz in occupied France.
Today, the best place to explore discoveries throughout aviation history is the Royal Air Force Museum in nearby Colindale, where you can get up close and personal with several remnants of the legendary Handley Page technology. Here, the engineering comes to life: the RAF Museum has large hangars filled with aircraft, anecdotes from veterans who saw action first hand, and insights into how innovation and global alliances helped shape the world today.