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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Yorkshire Air Museum

AVRO Lancaster The Yorkshire Air Museum ( is a Nationally Accredited Museum and  Registered Charity and is home to The Allied Air Forces Memorial. It is located on a 20 acre parkland site adjacent to a 3220m (2 miles) runway, formerly RAF Elvington, within the District of York and is now the largest original WWll RAF Bomber Command Station open to the public, as well as a recognised international memorial.

Formed in 1985 the Museum was inspired by the earlier inauguration of a memorial to the only two French Heavy Bomber Squadrons of RAF Bomber Command, stationed at Elvington during WWll.

 The French in York

Promoting the History of Aviation

The Museum holds several important national archive collections of records, photographs and documents relating to aviation from the mid 19th century to the present day. Elvington was home to 2500 French airmen and the Museum works closely with the French National Archives. In addition to the 15 exhibitions, the Museum has over 60 historic aeroplanes and vehicles, many of which are maintained in running condition. 

The Museum also aims to expand awareness of the History of Aviation with special emphasis on the work of Yorkshire based aircraft pioneers, such as Sir George Cayley (the “Father of Aeronautics”) who is credited as building the world’s first man carrying aeroplane in 1853 near Scarborough. The work of aviation designers such as Robert Blackburn, Nevil Shute and pioneering aviators such as Amy Johnson are also fascinating stories, which changed the course of world history.


A Broad Educational Programme

The Museum has an extensive educational programme which produced and distributed the UK’s first Key Stage 2 STEM book on aviation to all 26,000 primary schools in Britain. The Museum’s annual Engineering Inspirations and Flightpaths events have attracted over 15,000 school children. It has a new Digital Theatre and undertakes film commissions, it co-produced the winner of the 2012 IWM London film Awards.

 Yorkshire Air Museum and Allied Air Forces Memorial Logo

Regeneration Scheme

The Museum has expanded greatly since 1999 and is presently undergoing another major regeneration scheme with a new Collections Centre, new pre WWl hangars and work to enable the operation of live aircraft through the centre of the Museum. A 5-acre woodland reserve opened in 2013. “The Nature of Flight” introduces visitors to the basics of flying as seen by early aviators in their observation of flying animals and insects. The reserve is continually surveyed by the British Butterfly & Moth Association, who are following the steps of the “Father of Lepidoptra”, the local vicar, Rev Francis Morris who surveyed this area back in the 1850’s. This survey is of great national importance in understanding the changing environment over the past 160 years.

The Museum continues to win national and regional recognition for its work across a wide range of activities, which is especially rewarding for the 120 unpaid volunteers who support a dedicated full time management team. We are especially delighted that Dr John Sentamu supports the educational work we do towards ensuring that the sacrifice of so many young airmen and women is not forgotten.

The Archbishop of York has been honorary Vice President of The Yorkshire Air Museum since 2011.