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Gads Hill, Gillingham

Technical Information

Catalogue No: PM32139
Picture Type: Rochester Photo Negative
Topic: Sites/Facilities
Title: Gads Hill, Gillingham
Date: 21 Oct 1976
Width (mm): 127
Height (mm): 102
Copies: 1
Location: Negatives Cabinet PM ("54/") [RAA Office]

When the Company was expanding it had little room at the Rochester site so various outposts were established around the Medway towns. Gads Hill was for some years the home of a large Drawing Office.

There have been a number of piecemeal additions to the Rochester site after a long period of stability with the Hangars and Assembly Shops together with a miscellany of buildings up at the South end of the Airport. The first major additions were in the early 60's when the three Towers were constructed and completed in 1966. At the same time the offices along the South side of the Assembly factory were made double storey. As the site expanded various sites around Rochester and Chatham were acquired such as the New Road Building for the research centre (FARL), a Training School at Hopewell Drive and a Drawing Office at Gads Hill in Gillingham.

The next new building was the Corsair Building named after the A-7 Corsair HUD programme which was opened in 1978 on the South side of the site. This was a largely prefabricated construction estimated to have a lifespan of some 15 years but it is still going strong. By 1980 the new Phase III Building dedicated to the growing business in flight controls was operating and finally on that strip the Falcon Building, for the growing research and development of diffractive optical elements, was completed in 1983.

As the site began to contract the outpost buildings were closed down and some considerable refurbishment was done on the main site. The Restaurant was developed into a modern facility and the Towers had significant improvements such as new windows and air-conditioning.

However the basic structure of the site is showing its age and in reality most of the buildings are not suitable for the modern era. The Hangars in particular are very expensive to maintain. An attempt was made in 2004 to plan for a glossy new factory complex but nothing came of that,  and more recently the site management has been looking at constructing a number of new buildings. The downturn in the UK economy due to the Covid issue will probably put this plan on hold.

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