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The north side of the site here at Duxford is where people lived, ate, slept and socialised. It is separated from the technical side by the A505.

Now most of the buildings are occupied by museum departments and other companies but the feel of the place is amazing!

Did you know there was a cinema there which is still kitted out with stage, screen and seats (although not the originals)? Like all RAF station cinemas, it is called the ‘Astra Cinema’. This is taken from the RAF motto “Per Ardua ad Astra” which can be translated in different ways, but in relation to the RAF is often reported as: “Through Struggles to the Stars”.

Cinema at Duxford

The building that housed the cinema was also used as a gymnasium and church. It was built in 1940 and extended in 1941. An annexe, to house the projection equipment for the cinema, was added in 1955. In more recent years, many staff remember it as being a rather grand location for meetings and presentations!

the cinema building

If you want to see this intriguing place for yourself then you can book on an ‘Unseen Duxford – North Side tour’. It is well worth a visit and the guides that conduct the visits have some great stories to tell!

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Just a quick update to post some links to some good online videos. First, Captain Burt Newmark’s presentation to an American school group. Burt flew with the 78th Fighter Group from Duxford, and has got an amazing story to tell.

http://vimeo.com/8792168

Second, here’s a clip telling the story of a German raid on Duxford’s satellite station, Fowlmere, during the Battle of Britain. It’s from our Duxford: The Second World War Years DVD:

Third, here’s a link to a piece filmed by the Museum for the recent Battle of Britain anniversary, showing our very own Steve Woolford, Project Director for the Historic Duxford project. Over to you, Steve…

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