#65 of 65

P51D Mustang being prepared for lowering at IWM London in December 2012

P51D Mustang being prepared by our team of expert conservators for lowering at IWM London.

This past week, the last of our 65 large objects, the P51D Mustang – which has been suspended 15m high in our Large Exhibits Gallery for over 20 years – was lowered by a team of expert conservators before being transported to IWM Duxford to be conserved in our public hangar Conservation in Action.

The P51D Mustang is the last of the large objects, from tanks through to towering rockets to leave IWM London as part of the museum’s preparations to temporarily close for six months from 2 January 2013 to enable major construction works to transform IWM London.

P51D Mustang being prepared for lowering at IWM London with the Focke Wulf in the foreground of the picture

P51D Mustang being prepared for lowering at IWM London and the Focke Wulf.

Entering Service in 1944 Mustangs, Second World War American long-range fighters, could operate from Britain as far as Berlin and beyond. This Mustang was presented to IWM by the Canadian government in 1968, and was the first aircraft to be restored for display by the IWM at IWM Duxford and is painted to represent the infamous ‘Big Beautiful Doll’ the aircraft flown by Lieutenant-Colonel JD Landers, who commanded the US 78th Fighter Group at RAF Duxford.

Mark I Spitfire being lowered to the ground at IWM London

Mark I Spitfire being lowered to the ground at IWM London.

Earlier this month, we also moved our British Supermarine Spitfire Mark IA to IWM Duxford to undergo conservation work. The Mark I Spitfire arrived at IWM London in 1946 and since the 1980s has been one of the iconic suspended objects greeting visitors to the museum.  The famous Battle of Britain fighter is being preserved in its original wartime livery. It will then return and take pride of place in our new Atrium which will be revealed in Summer 2014.

Overhead view of the Mark 1 Spitfire on the ground floor at IWM London

The team in action lowering the Mark I Spitfire to the ground at IWM London.

This aircraft joined No.609 (West Riding) Squadron who were stationed at Middle Wallop in Hampshire in July 1940.  It was flown by 13 different pilots on 57 operations during the Battle of Britain, accounting for  two German aircraft, shared in the destruction of two more and damaged a further four.

Mark I Spitfire after being lowered to the ground at IWM London

Mark I Spitfire after being lowered to the ground at IWM London.

My thanks to our expert team for the outstanding work they’ve done to safely move all of our objects to IWM Duxford for conservation and storage. Now on to the next stage of the journey.

Which of our large objects are you most looking forward to seeing conserved at IWM Duxford?

2 comments
  1. Issy says: January 2, 20139:55 am

    This is very interesting and looks like a lot of hard work.

  2. John Goodman says: May 23, 20133:08 pm

    I am relieved to hear the Spitfire will be retaining her original paint, there are only a handfull of aircraft remaining still with their WW2 paintwork.a

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