Thirteen years ago, there was a plan to exhibit one of the Concorde planes next to the London Eye, which never happened, and now a nearly identical plan is making a second attempt.
Back in October 2010, lots of newspapers carried a story about a £22 million project that would build a two-storey pier next to the London Eye, with an exhibition space in the lower deck, and sitting on top would be one of the Concorde planes — G-BOAB, which had become known as Alpha Bravo.
The plane is currently in storage at Heathrow Airport, sitting at the eastern end of the southern runway.
The 2010 scheme apparently had a lot of support from local organisations, doubtless eyeing up the additional tourist spending and had planned to instal the plane in time for the Olympics, but after a flurry of publicity, the scheme sunk without a trace.
But in 2023, would the scheme be back?
A new project called Concorde on the Thames and backed by the Club Concorde members group is putting forward very much the same scheme, with a double-deck pier structure with the plane on top and an exhibition space below.
However, the previous scheme, which was backed by some deep pocketed investors, failed to raise the funding needed, and this latest plan is based on crowdfunding to raise the money for the planning application alone. If they can raise the estimated £500,000 they need and get planning permission, they still need to raise the vastly larger sum for the pontoon deck itself and to move Concorde from Heathrow to central London.
The proposers say they have spoken to a number of people who would need to support their plans, and that they have backing if they can secure the planning permission first.
Yes, it would be wonderful to see the Heathrow Concorde moved somewhere that it can more easily be seen, and as a Londoner, I should be supporting the idea of this major tourist attraction popping up in central London.
However, there’s already a Concorde on display in London at Brooklands, and while it’s not central London, it’s pretty easy to get to.
There’s also a Concorde in Bristol at Filton, one near Cambridge at the IWM in Duxford, one at the National Museum of Flight in Scotland, another in Manchester at the Runway Visitor Park and a sixth is at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset
To spread the opportunities to see a Concorde more equitably across the UK, maybe the Heathrow plane should go somewhere in northeast England or Northern Ireland.
That would be a campaign worth getting behind.