The Gloster Aircraft Company (the original name has been Gloucestershire Aircraft Company) has been active from 1917 to 1961. The most remarkable achievements were the Gloster E28/39 and the Gloster Meteor, the first jet airplanes manufactured in the United Kingdom. Thus, it is not too surprising that close to their home grounds, there is a privately driven museum, which is majorly illustrating this era. When I have been in the Gloucester / Cheltenham area, I thus had to have a look into the Jet Age Museum.
Jet Age Museum – Location & Admission
The museum is located on the North edge of Gloucestershire Airport (GLO), which is nowadays only used for private aviation. There are a couple of car and motorbike dealers around as well as other commercial services, but no other touristic attractions. The best way to reach the museum is by car, there is a major car park in front of the museum. You may also use the 94 gold bus line between Gloucester and Cheltenham, Safran stop, to visit the museum.
The museum is only opening on the weekends. Saturday and Sunday, the doors open between 10:00 and 16:00 hrs. Admission to the museum is free. Of course, for the admission and the cockpit tours, a donation is very welcome.
Jet Age Museum – The Visit
I visited the museum right around Remembrance Day (on 14th November 2021). Thus, the museum was driving a memorial for the fallen pilots and soldiers around Gloucester.. The museum itself is split into a covered exhibition space and some outdoor exhibits. There is just a replica of the E28/39, because the original is preserved in the London Science Museum. However, the museum owns some 20 planes. The first one you see on the pictures is the 1952 introduced Gloster Meteor F8. There are also other interesting models of very different eras like a reproduction of the 1925 Gloster Gamecock or the rather modern 1959 Gloster Javelin FAW9. You can also explore engine parts and other pieces of equipment.
There are also a lot of showcases. Some of them “only” show some model planes of all kinds and eras. To me, one of the most interesting parts is however the section A Time Line 1942 to 1963, which is not only dealing with the history of jet planes from Gloucester, but goes far beyond it. There are a lot of pictures, items and also memories about specific people, business and pilots. Outside this section, there are also the flags with coat of arms of some squadrons of the RAF:
Jet Age Museum – Outdoor Exhibits
Unfortunately, I could not visit all outdoor exhibits. There are two cockpits which you may explore. The jet fighter cockpit facing right outside the exhibition hall is the Avro Vulcan B2 XM569, which was in service at the Royal Air Force from 1956 and 1984. There are also other outdoor exhibits like a Gloster Meteor T7.
The only piece of original civil airplane in display, however, is the Hawker Siddeley HS-121 Trident. The original plane, G-AWZU, used to operate between 1972 and 1986. Similar to the Vulcan, you can explore the Trident for a small charge as part of a guided tour. Unfortunately, I would have had to quite quite a while for the tour and could not align that with my flight schedule.
Jet Age Museum – Services
The museum drives a small souvenir shops with books and models as well as a cafe in the entrance area. The staff was absolutely friendly, I loved to get in contact with the people (even though I was a bit of afraid being a German visitor on Remembrance Day celebrations).
Jet Age Museum – The View
The Jet Age Museum is a neat, really beautiful place. The amount of exhibits is really impressive. It gives you a great opportunity to get a deep dive into the aviation history of Gloucester. More than that, I have been amazed by the friendliness of the people. If you are in the area on a weekend, I definitely recommend a visit.
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