Cold War exhibition draws huge crowds to Banbury Museum

Visitors flock to Banbury Museum to see an exhition of RAF Upper Heyford and the Cold War
Visitors flock to Banbury Museum to see an exhition of RAF Upper Heyford and the Cold War

An exhibition about RAF Upper Heyford is attracting huge crowds to Banbury Museum.

Cold War Frontier tells the story of Little America with first-hand accounts and artefacts from the period.

RAF Upper Heyford is probably the best-preserved Cold War base in Britain.

Although it was situated in north Oxfordshire countryside, it was on the frontier of Cold War tensions and by July 1971 it could be claimed that Upper Heyford housed the largest fighter collection in Europe.

The exhibition was produced by Chris Prescott whose keen interest stems from spending much of his childhood at the base with his uncle. He runs his business from Cherwell Innovation Centre and he has taken an active role in heritage efforts on site.

His passion, together with that of the volunteers involved, comes from a desire to raise awareness and support the protection of its history – a mission started by Don Todd which resulted in English Heritage listing and scheduling many areas of the former base.

Museum spokesman Dale Johnston explains: “This is one of those rare exhibitions that combines an international story – the Cold War – with local stories.

“So many people seem to have memories of the Upper Heyford base and it gives visitors the chance to relive them or discover for the first time the history of this special place.”

Mark Levene will lead a talk on November 5 focusing on the intense period in the second great phase of the Cold War and how it might be interpreted through a local Oxfordshire lens.

On November 12 and January 7, the Museum will welcome ‘Experts on Hand’ to provide further information relating to Upper Heyford’s fascinating past. The exhibition will be open until January 7,