A flying visit to the past as airport looks to the future

With the future of Gatwick flying across the news this week, what better time to take a look at its past.

These pictures come from the Observer archive (unless stated) and show some of the shenanigans which staff and visitors to the airport got up to in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Crawley History'Gatwick 1938

Crawley History'Gatwick 1938

We also have a couple of photos which show just how much the airport - and aerodrome - have changed in the past 80 or so years.

Imagine what it will look like in another 80.

Working through the pictures, we have a selection of Miss Gatwick winners from 1987 and 1988.

The group featuring the wonderful 80s perms are, from left: Julie Corbett, of Ifield, who was 28 at the time and worked in field promotion services. She came third.

Crawley History'Baa Sport Awards, Gatwick 1991

Crawley History'Baa Sport Awards, Gatwick 1991

Next was Frances Clark, of Brighton, who was 23 and worked as a stewardess with BIA. She won the competition in 1987.

Finally there was Julia Ramsay, of Horley. She was 29 and a BCal stewardess.

Frances can be seen cutting a massive ‘Mansell Airport Maintenance’ cake with the help of Bernard Adams.

Who Bernard was is anyone’s guess as the Observer photographer of the time decided not to write that information on the back of the photo!

The other Miss Gatwick photo was taken in 1988. The woman in question is, for some reason posing with Postman Pat’s cat, Jess.

Does anyone know what the winner’s name was?

Moving forward to 1991, we have a couple of pictures from the BAA Sport Awards.

The two young winners were Stuart Murray, who came first in the 16-18 years category; and Leanne Sons (or it might be Jons or even Song - the handwriting from the photographer of the time was adventurous to say the least). She won the 8-12 years category.

Does anyone know if Stuart and Leanne are still living in Crawley?

The two aerial photos show Gatwick c1930 and c1938 - The Beehive, which opened in 1936 and still stands today, dominates the more recent picture.

The caption for the older picture reads: “Gatwick aerodrome was set up in a field at Hunts Green Farm, which was licensed as an aerodrome in August 1930 and used by the Surrey Aero Club. The farm buildings are on the right.”