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HER Number:MDV78329
Name:Bellman Aeroplane Shed, Exeter Airfield


World War II aircraft shed still in use as aircraft storage.


Grid Reference:SX 997 943
Map Sheet:SX99SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishClyst Honiton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCLYST HONITON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Military structures; earthworks and archaeological remains of World War II, RAF Exeter and post medieval catchmeadows and orchard banks on footprint of modern Exeter Airport and to the east

Other References/Statuses

  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HANGAR (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))

Full description

Francis, P., 1999, Exeter Airport. Historic Airport Survey for Devon County Council & East Devon District Council, 91 (Report - non-specific). SDV323390.

Bellman Aeroplane Shed. A pre-fabricated design, using a system of standard lattice units whereby both wall stanchions and roof girders use the same type of units. These are joined at the junction of wall and roof by a corner unit. Stanchions are spaced at 12 foot 6 inch centres, creating a shed with a rectangular plan, covering a standard length of 14 bays. At either end doors in six leaves open full width along projecting door guides. Two types of shed were available with either a clear height of 16 foot 6 inches ("low shed") or 25 feet ("high shed").
This "low" shed example is of standard length, but five bays have been extended in height using the correct units to increase the height of the stanchions. The original door opening height has been retained. The building is currently used to store airworthy Hawker Hunter aircraft belonging to Classic Jets.
Clear heihgt 16 foot 6 inches, clear span 95 feet, clear length 175 feet. In poor condition. Other details: Site 107; Map 9; Plates 25 + 26.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Wessex Archaeology, 2011, Energy Centre at Exeter Skypark, Exeter, Devon. Historic Building Record (Report - non-specific). SDV348270.

The recorded example of a Bellman type hangar at Exeter airport has shown that the building was built in 1940 to accommodate the servicing of aircraft throughout World War Two. It was built to Air Ministry design drawings which are well documented. The plan and layout of this particular example fits the pattern well with only one significant variation from the design. The Exeter example has a raised section to accommodate taller aircraft. It is not entirely certain as to when this raised section was built. The framing and connecting elements would appear to have also been built to Ministry designs and from the correct standard units. Presumably, the hangar was either built deliberately to this pattern or it was altered very soon after. It is possible that, as larger aircraft were stationed at Exeter, the need to raise the height of the hangar became important so that these larger planes could be fitted into the servicing hangar.The hangar has survived well considering the nature of its build and up until recently was still used as a servicing and repair shed for more modern aircraft.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV323390Report - non-specific: Francis, P.. 1999. Exeter Airport. Historic Airport Survey for Devon County Council & East Devon District Council. Airfield Research Publishing Report. Digital + A4. 91.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #105218 ]
SDV348270Report - non-specific: Wessex Archaeology. 2011. Energy Centre at Exeter Skypark, Exeter, Devon. Historic Building Record. Wessex Archaeology Report. 78400.02. A4 Stapled + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV48842Part of: Exeter Airfield (Military) (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4774 - Historic Airport Survey, Exeter Airport
  • EDV5652 - Recording of World War II Hangar, Exeter Airfield

Date Last Edited:Jun 16 2021 1:35PM