A £6m restoration programme which pays tribute to an unsung Yorkshire aviation hero and features a unique 2,060 sq ft tree house conference centre in the shape of an aeroplane wing – has got off the ground.
Serial entrepreneur Jonathan Turner appointed Conlan Construction to lead the multi phased project at grade II listed Bowcliffe Hall – the former ancestral home of Robert Blackburn, who was the first Yorkshireman to design and build a powered aeroplane.
The scheme’s centrepiece, the iconic Blackburn Wing, comprises an aeroplane-shaped copper and glass conference centre which accommodates up to 140 guests.
The project to restore the 200 year old hall to its former glory has also entailed converting a cricket pavilion and other redundant buildings into 3,452 sq ft of office space.
The design of a “Drivers Club” restaurant for business tenants and guests captures the nostalgia of the period when the Blackburns’ played host to guests including aircraft pioneers, media proprietors, RAF officials and national politicians such as Amy Johnson, Lord Northcliffe and Winston Churchill.
Jonathan Turner, CEO of the Bayford Group, said: “Conlon Construction have been consummate professionals in bringing my vision to create a fitting legacy to an unsung flight innovator to fruition.
“Robert Blackburn’s achievements included founding an aircraft manufacturing company that became part of Hawker Siddeley and, later, British Aerospace and the restoration epitomises design excellence.”
Neil Conlon, managing director at Conlon Construction Yorkshire, said: “Whilst this has been a challenging project, not least because of the logistical challenges of working within 38 acres of woodland, the Blackburn Wing is a particularly stunning building and the refurbishment is one we are very proud of.”