Updated: Apr 20
As a photographer, I have had the privilege of capturing the beauty and history of the Farnborough centrifuge Wind Tunnel through my lens.
All images in this article are ©Carl Goodwin 2023 and are not to be reproduced or copied without express written permission by the author.
The historic centrifuge at Farnborough is one of the few remaining buildings from the world famous Royal Aircraft Establishment. Saved from demolition by FAST (Farnborough Air Sciences Trust) and given listed status, this magnificent building was at the forefront of medical research and development from the early 1950's until 1994.
I was able to access to building via an organised tour of the site, this tour provided a detailed history of the site and history of the testing for which the site was intended and very informative videos. The tour started with an initial safety briefing and videos, following which access was provided to the control room, engineering space and the centrifuge itself and finished with a video of the construction of the building, this was all backed up with a lovely A4 brochure with additional images..
The building itself is of a substantial concrete construction with some very nice art deco detailing such as the copper lights and railings. Unfortunately as with most buildings of this era developers have attempted to extort money from the land values by demolishing historic buildings such as the centrifuge. Thankfully FAST were able to have the building achieve Grade 2 listed status thus protecting it. Regrettably over the Christmas period a burst water pipe rendered internal damage to the building, damaging electrics and filling the motor pit (lowest part of the structure) with water.
Through my images, I hope to capture the history and significance of this site, preserving it's legacy for future generations to appreciate. The Farnborough centrifuge is not only an important part of our aviation history but also a testament to human ingenuity and our constant pursuit of knowledge and progress.
I would like to explicitly thank Sue, Andy and Duncan for their extensive site knowledge and friendliness.
Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST) is an organization that exists to safeguard and promote Farnborough’s great heritage in aviation science1. The FAST Museum, adjacent to Farnborough airfield, holds a collection of aircraft (actual and model), satellites, simulators and other unique material related to Farnborough’s world famous Royal Aircraft Establishment1.
FAST also offers exclusive guided tours of areas of Farnborough’s historic aviation quarter not normally open to the public1. The organization is staffed entirely by volunteers and their availability can impact on the running of parts of it, in particular the Flight Simulators and Aircraft Cockpits1.