Whilst the site at Cousin Lane, Illingworth was easily dismissed the one at Clifton was being spoken of as the possible hub airport for five industrial towns in the West Riding: Halifax, Bradford, Brighouse, Huddersfield and Dewsbury. This idea was put forward by the Brighouse Mayor Councillor Arthur Reeve.
The idea was given some prominence following the visit in June 1934 of Sir Alan Cobham’s Air Circus when it was estimated that 50,000 came to the fields of Clifton to watch the death defying daring deeds of the flying barnstormers.
Sir Alan Cobham airshow at Clifton in 1934
I well remember the late John Denham of Lightcliffe telling me about the days when the Cobham’s Air Circus also used the fields his family owned at the back of the Sun Inn at Lightcliffe. Being the owner’s son he was given his first ride in an aeroplane and whilst everyone else was paying five shillings for that privilege he went for free. He well remembered it being an exhilarating experience for someone so young at the time.
The final decision was that Yeadon Aerodrome should be the one to be developed and expanded and of course many readers will have experienced flights from what is now called Leeds Bradford International Airport.
Sir Alan Cobham died in 1973 leaving a business which is now Cobham plc and a multi-million pound quoted on the stock exchange and employs over 10,000 people across five continents. It was Alan Cobham who championed the idea of refuelling aircraft in the air, and started Flight Refuelling Limited in 1934. The Company which has prospered for over 75 years is now a major international aerospace and defence engineering company.
Now just think about, this summewr you could have been flying to a sunny destination from Terminal 1 at Clifton International Airport !!!