HRH Prince Richard Duke of Gloucester opens Engineering Quarter

Article courtesy of the Oxford Mail, 12th June 2015:

It has been graced by the likes of A-Listers Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley as a backdrop for some blockbuster movies. And yesterday a royal visitor joined the list at RAF Bicester to commemorate 50 years since Her Majesty the Queen toured the base. Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester who is the Queen’s first cousin and 28th in line to the throne, toured the site to see the restoration by Bicester Heritage and officially open the engineering quarter.

Bicester Heritage took over the RAF site in 2013 to restore the base and create a business park for vintage vehicles and aviation, a first for the UK. The Duke said:

“It has been a great pleasure to come to Bicester and to see what you are doing here. I think heritage means different things to different people and often it means architecture which is quite expensive to maintain. I understand this is a listed site for historic reason. It is an important part of heritage and to combine it with what you might call mobile heritage seems a stroke of genius.”

With about half of the wartime buildings now restored, Bicester Heritage hosted the visit to mark the 50th anniversary of The Queen’s visit ito the base in 1965. Fifty years on, Prince Richard was given a tour of the restored RAF site now a hub for historic motoring and aviation.

Managing director Daniel Geoghegan said: “It means a great deal to us. To receive a guest of such calibre is great and he was a car enthusiast also. I think it gives everyone here a sense of pride.”

The former Second World War bomber station’s 60 buildings have been restored by contractor Beard. It currently houses 17 companies such as Harry Fraser Vehicle Upholstery and specialists in vintage and classic cars The Motor Shed Ltd.

Yesterday a plaque was unveiled by the Duke at the Kingsbury Racing Shop for vintage Bentley engineering.