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Stirling House

Following Royal Air Force Stradishall’s closure in 1970, one building which lay abandoned  was the old Officers’ Mess  located on the western edge of the main airfield complex.

This would ultimately change when most of the site was designated to become one of  Her Majesty’s prisons, “Highpoint”, a project which necessitated removing a large number of the original  RAF buildings.

Fortunately the bulldozers missed a few including the old   officers’ mess, the building was then used in a variety of ways, sadly none reflecting its original  historic role of 1938 when it was opened and the following dramas of Second World War bomber operations.

Happily, the situation changed when it was chosen to be re-furbished and to provide a Residential, Training and Conference Centre for the Prison Service. Apart from returning the fine old building  to structural good health it was decided to  retain a strong element reflecting its RAF History.

Advice from  members of both the Royal Air Force Memorial Trust and the  Haverhill Aviation Society helped in selecting an appropriate interior décor. Add in the various pieces of aviation memorabilia  which now adorn the walls and the effect is dramatic. “More RAF than RAF” was the favourable comment of one speaker who had actually served  at Stradishall and lived in the mess!

In May 1994 on the occasion of the unveiling of the Royal Air Force Memorial directly opposite the entrance (on a grass area graciously given by the Prison Service) the old  building proudly flying the  Union Flag and RAF Standard  became “STIRLING HOUSE” in honour of the RAF's first four engined heavy bomber.

Today it is a busy working building undertaking a very different but important role in  modern society.

Finally, it is certain that the wonderful offer from the Prison Service to our Aviation Society has ensured that the theme of  “on site”  aviation history lives on at Stradishall.

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