Plans for Airspeed – a 1930s adventure

March 2011

Note: this page was written in 2011. For more up to date information on this building see all pages tagged ‘Airspeed’

Airspeed/Reynard building, Piccadilly, 2006

Plans were produced for the conversion of this building to ‘Airspeed – A 1930s adventure’. The project couldn’t proceed as the council wouldn’t offer more than a 5 year lease. This would obviously be unworkable considering the investment that would be needed.

View an extract from ‘Airspeed – a 1930s adventure’ (PDF, 1.55MB)

Images from the document are reproduced here with permission and are © Yorkshire Air Museum.

Airspeed – A 1930s adventure. Copyright: Yorkshire Air Museum

Have a look at the PDF even if you’re not interested in the idea of an ‘aircraft factory museum’. The proposed ‘Airspeed adventure’ is a stylish affair, with the Amy Johnson connection adding extra glamour. The plan conveys perfectly the excitement of the time, the rush to reach for the skies.

The proposed use of the building would do justice to a brief but fascinating period in our modern history.

Airspeed – image 2 – copyright: Yorkshire Air Museum

York tends to turn its back on modern history and prefers to demolish it, to build cheap apartments and nondescript shopping centres in its place.

History didn’t stop in the 18th century, though it might appear so in this town, where any building from the 19th or 20th century left empty for a few years is automatically labelled an ‘eyesore’.

Airspeed – image 3 – copyright: Yorkshire Air Museum

This project recognises and fully utilises an undervalued place. And it does it in a way that would appeal to a wide range of people – not just aviation enthusiasts.

But it seems that the big visions for the Piccadilly area – which seem to have grown too big and complex to ever turn into anything positive – block smaller developments in the area. Unless it’s a Tesco Express.

. . . . .

Update, 26 October 2013

The Press reported today: Airspeed 1930s Experience planned for Reynard’s Garage building in Piccadilly.

Whether this plan can come to fruition appears to depend on City of York Council accepting the offer. The building was put on the market earlier this year.

Recent pages on this site give more information on Nevil Shute’s time in York, and include extracts from his autobiography Slide Rule:

Nevil Shute and Airspeed, York: part 1

Nevil Shute and Airspeed, York: part 2

Why we need to save that old ‘bus garage’ on Piccadilly

Update, 2014

For the latest updates see all pages tagged ‘Airspeed’


One comment

  1. timothy wynn werninck

    have tried to promote this airspeed museum a good idea as then York would have all transport covered from the Hansom Cab, railways and river transport. Problem seems who is going to fund surely their are Heritage grants etc.

    Anyway cheaper than yet another hotel and in a good location for another museum. By leaving it will cost more great progress is going on all over the city the doing up of the white swan etc.

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