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London Gliding Club Building Totternhoe

London Gliding Club building November 2009
London Gliding Club building November 2009

Not all listed buildings are particularly old. The London Gliding Club premises off Icknield Waylies at the foot of Dunstable Downs near the boundary of Totternhoe with Eaton Bray. It is common to see gliders being towed up to a certain height by propeller driven aircraft then being freed to glide back to earth.

The Clubhouse and hangar were listed by the former Department of Environment in July 1995 as Grade II, of special interest. The listing reads as follows: "Designed by Christopher Nicholson in 1935 and officially opened in July 1936. International Modern Style combined clubhouse and hangar. Steel-framed and clad in brick and concrete, with hangar on ground floor and club rooms above, designed to accommodate up to 25 gliders. Hangar of steel frame construction about 90 feet by 90 feet with roof, back and side walls covered with corrugated asbestos sheeting. Opening of 60 feet at the front. Clubhouse built on to front of hangar is L-shaped with curved ends. Projection to right hand side of one storey steel-framed with concrete walls, original continuous casement windows housing the bar with tea terrace on flat roof above. Two storey range behind, also steel-framed with flat roof, has brick ground floor with large hangar opening to right, first floor lounge and restaurant of concrete with carved end to left, continuous glazed windows and 2 storey brick staircase wing with temporary dormitory/locker room on ground floor and cloakrooms on both floors. To left is clock face for convenience of pilots leaving the hangar and right hand projecting glazed screen to staircase. Interior fittings, including light fittings, glazed screen between hall and bar and bar joinery survive. [See "The Architectural Review", June 1936]".

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record notes [HER 18004]: "The London Gliding Club in Totternhoe was originally used as a workers hostel but in 1945 it became an Italian Prisoner of War Camp".