A brief exploration of Biggin Hill….part two

7. BIGGIN HILL’S POPULATION In (1991): Biggin Hill population was around 11,468 based on the ten
yearly National Census. But it is when you look back to the early 1960’s and then track the growth of
population forward to 1991, that you can see the impact of the Biggin Hill Town Map on our Community.
Biggin Hill’s Population circa 1951 = 4,370 approx
population growth 1961 – 1971  = 93%
population growth 1971 – 1981  = 32%
population growth 1981 – 1991  = 3.1%
Other Interesting Statistics ( 1991 Census):
Percentage under 16 years of age = 23.6%
Percentage of pensionable age = 8.6%
Number of households/dwellings = 3,932
Percentage of owner occupied = 92.2%
Interestingly, the current population (2014), when you add in the out lying areas, amounts to approximately 16,000, the number originally provided by The Biggin Hill Town Map all those years ago.
8. MILITARY CONNECTIONS: The history of the Airfield and the village are closely tied to the RAF and its predecessor the Royal Flying Corps. In late 1916 the ‘War Office’ was looking for a new site to relocate the Wireless Testing Park, at that time situated at Joyce Green on the Thames near Dartford.
9. GROUND TO AIR WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS: The Testing Park was carrying out important war work, relating to Ground to Air wireless communications. One of the Officers charged with the job of finding a new site, lived at Limpsfield in Surrey, he remembered having seen a large field of about 80 acres sitting above a steep valley, on the North Downs, south of Bromley. It turned out that the field was already designated as a night emergency landing ground, although no record existed of it having been used as such.
10. ROYAL FLYING CORPS ARRIVE: The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) arrived in December 1916 with the first aircraft, an RE7, landing on the 2nd January 1917. The relocated Wireless Testing Station was to go on to perfect ground to air wireless communication, the advent of which was to prove invaluable in the Second World War.
On 1st April 1918 the RFC and the RNAS (Royal Navy Air Service) were reformed into the Royal Air Force (RAF). Thus RAF Biggin Hill was one of the founder stations of the newly formed service.
11. RAF BIGGIN HILL: The RAF’s historical association with Biggin Hill has been well documented by many others, but its particular role in the Battle of Britain must be mentioned. The Station is credited with the highest score of enemy aircraft destroyed during the battle which took place between July and October 1940. RAF Biggin Hill was also the heaviest bombed Fighter Station and although badly mauled the station claimed never to have been closed by enemy action.
RAF Biggin Hill’s fame as a Fighter Station was further added to when on the 15th May 1943 the 1,000th enemy aircraft was shot down when kills Nos. 1,000 and 1,001 were claimed simultaneously by a Canadian and a French pilot. Biggin Hill’s final score of 1,400 enemy aircraft destroyed was never
12. RAF BIGGIN HILL’s BADGE: The Station’s badge and motto commemorate the station’s roll in the defence of London. The Badge showed the up­right, sword, ancient symbol of London surrounded by a chain, representing the chain of fighter stations which defended it. Biggin Hill’s motto was ‘The Strongest Link’ .
13. RAF BIGGIN HILL, THE FINAL YEARS: In 1958, due to the growing demands on the crowded London airspace (London TMA) the decision was taken by the RAF Board to stop military flying at Biggin Hill. From 1958 till its final closure RAF Biggin Hill was to become the RAF’s Selection Centre for Officers and Aircrew.
RAF Biggin Hill also provided an aircrew selection service for the flying arms of both the Navy and the Army. The RAF Station was finally closed on the 4th October 1992 despite an international petition addressed to the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, which raised 16,500 signatures in just six weeks and requested the retention of the RAF at its most famous station. In the end the Selection Centre was transferred to RAF Cranwell.
The RAF were still making their contribution to the annual Biggin Hill Air Fair up till 2010 when the
decision was made to suspend Air Fairs in favour of a smaller Family Based Show for local folk.