In 2009, Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre were awarded £50,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to fund A Magnificent Town and Its Flying Machines: Crayford’s industrial heritage and role in early aviation history Project. This project tells the story of Crayford’s role in early aviation history and the town’s industrial heritage. Over the course of this project a wide range of activities were held and resources developed to tell the little known story of how one small town made such a big impact on the world of aviation and industry.
June 2009 marked the 90th anniversary of Alcock and Brown‘s first non stop flight across the Atlantic in a Vickers Vimy designed and possibly built in Crayford.It was also the 115th anniversary of Hiram Maxim‘s Crayford built steam powered flying machine, which on 31 July 1894 became the first aeroplane to lift itself off the ground.
Through a range of learning and participatory activities these anniversaries were used as a way of engaging the people of Crayford and beyond, with the town’s industrial heritage.