Canberra bomber cockpit going home to Woodford after being bought by museum
The cockpit of a Canberra TT18 bomber, which was one of the eye-catching exhibits in a private collection on a Worcestershire farm, is heading back to the place it was made near Manchester.
The cockpit and the rest of the fascinating collection of militaria and aviation items assembled by retired farmer John Hancocks over 30 years at Rowley Farm, Holt Heath, near Worcester were sold at an auction this week.
The new owner is Avro Heritage Museum at Woodford, near Manchester whose trustees paid £8,600 to take it “home”. The Canberra cockpit, which was in remarkable condition and complete with flying log books, will become one of the museum’s star exhibits.
Terry Barnes, chairman of the museum’s trustees, said the Canberra was one of 75 built at Woodford and that was why the museum, which opened last November at Woodford Airfield, was so interested in it.
“The Canberra is going to a good home in the Avro Heritage Museum at Woodford, which was where it was built,” he said. “I can assure Mr Hancocks that it will be loved and looked after. Hopefully it will be joined by a Lancaster cockpit as the centrepiece of the main hall.
“We are very pleased to have bought it because it’s just fantastic. We are a charity and, as trustees, we have to be careful with our pennies but the price we paid was ok.”
Top selling lot at the auction, which attracted bidders from around the globe, was a Rolls Royce Griffon Mark 58 V12 engine from an Avro Shackleton surveillance aircraft, which sold for £14,500 to Julian and Roy Millington from Millington Racing Engines, Bridgnorth, who now plan to restore it to working condition.
Millington Racing Engines specialises in manufacturing engines for racing and rally cars but the company already has a Harrier Jump Jet which has been restored to running condition. Next project is to restore the Rolls Royce Griffon Mark 58 V12 engine, which Julian said is going to take a lot of man hours.
“I am very pleased we have got the engine, although it was bit more than we wanted to pay,” he added. “It would be nice to have it running again and it will have a shed dedicated to it.”
Mr Hancocks, 85, said he was thrilled by the high prices achieved for many of the lots and happy that his collection would be enjoyed by other collectors across the country.
“The collection has given me enormous enjoyment and now it’s time for it to be shared with other people,” he said.
Andrew Beeston, senior auctioneer and valuer, said: “We couldn’t have asked for more from the auction which was held in an improvised saleroom in a building on a Worcestershire farm which had satellite Internet connection and attracted worldwide bidding.
“This was a sale four months in the making and concluded with a very happy vendor and buyers who were as passionate about their purchases as Mr Hancocks was about his collection. The collection lives on with other collectors.”