National Museum of Flight, East Fortune, North Berwick, Scotland

East Fortune History

One day last month we visited The National Museum of Flight at East Fortune airfield in North Berwick for the first time. It’s a great place, there’s so much to see, including an actual Concorde!

East Fortune buildings

Quite a lot of the original buildings are still in existence, during both world wars this place was bustling with activity, and had thousands of men and women from many various countries stationed here. It’s obviously on a large rural site and the closest town is North Berwick, not that that is exactly a metropolis.

Below is a photo of the control tower.

East Fortune Control Tower

There’s a good mixture of civilian and military aeroplanes, below is a Hawker Harrier jet.
Hawker Harrier

A Messerschmidt Komet.
Messerschmidt Komet

A Vulcan.
Vulcan

A New Zealand War Memorial.
NZ War Memorial

An ejector seat from the 1960s.
Ejector seat

And beside it is displayed this actual World War 1 Sopwith Camel seat which is made of wickerwork and looks like a cut down garden chair.
Sopwith Camel seat

We had to visit the cafe of course and it’s decorated with lots of stylish replica posters. I had hoped that they would have some for sale in the shop but of course they didn’t. The poster below is displayed in the museum, from the days when air displays were all the rage, this one took place not that far from where I live.
Flying Display Poster

I took lots of photos, next time I’ll show some of the civilian aircraft – including Concorde.

7 thoughts on “National Museum of Flight, East Fortune, North Berwick, Scotland

  1. I visited an Air Force Museum earlier this year, a fascinating place and I want to return and spend much longer.

    The Memorial Alcove there included these words from Stephen Spender’s poem, The Truly Great:

    Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields,
    See how these names are fêted by the waving grass
    And by the streamers of white cloud
    And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
    The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
    Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
    Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
    And left the vivid air signed with their honour.

  2. I remember the days of the Leuchars Air Shows with very impressive technology. It quite contrasted with the post war technology I grew up with. As an air cadet I had a never to be forgotten relative of the Lancaster, the Avro Shackleton. My childhood had these magnificent beasts as an aerial backdrop.

    These museums could have been far better had we not as a nation been so quick to scrap our history. How I wish we had preserved many examples. I now live near the RAF museum at Cosford and will be back again and again.

    • H,
      We used to often see some of the Red Arrows flying around St Andrews, it’s a shame they’ve moved from Leuchars now, but we still have some low flying jets here from time to time. It must have been thrilling for you to be able to get up close to these machines as an Air Cadet. I’ve never been to Cosford but I see it has a Cold War Exhibition – that was the backdrop to my childhood, I’m quite nostalgic for it.

  3. What a cool place! I love old airplanes and the stories that go with them. It’s too bad that there were no posters to buy. Jack gave me a book that you would love: Looping the Loop: Poster of Flight by Henry Seerrano Villard & Willis M. Allen Jr. Maybe you can find it on line or at your library. It’s full of the kind of old posters I know you like.

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