Chester Branch

Serving the North-Wales, Cheshire and Wirral area, and catering for professional and leisure aerospace interests, the Branch holds diverse monthly lectures, including occasional, joint lectures with other societies.

Contact Details:

President: Vernon Clarkson
Chairman: Carl Mann AMRAeS
Treasurer: Nigel Deeks CEng MRAeS
Secretary: Keith Housley
Contact: keith@khousley.com
Tel: 0151 348 4480/ 0776 6225645 

Branch Profile:

The inaugural meeting of the Branch was held in the Blossom’s Hotel, Chester, on 22 November 1950 to an audience of over 100 including RAeS President Major Bulman. The speaker, Mr D B Smith, AFRAeS (Branches Committee), outlined the history and function of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He explained how Branches facilitated the dissemination of information and stressed that Branch events were open to members and non-members of the Society. Following the success of the meeting it was proposed that formal permission be obtained from the Council of the Royal Aeronautical Society for the formation of a Chester Branch. On 5 February 1951 the Chester Branch became the 21st Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Under the guidance of its first President, Mr J C Corby, General Manager of the de Havilland Aircraft Co, Broughton, the Chester Branch flourished and expanded. Over the coming years, most of the RAeS members and Branch supporters were drawn from the de Havilland Aircraft Co, Broughton; Electro-Hydraulics Ltd, Warrington; and The Thornton Research Centre; but substantial numbers also came from RNAS Stretton and RAF Hawarden.

An ambitious Aeronautical Show and Garden Party took place on 31 May 1958. It was the first time that a Branch of the Society had organised a show on such a scale and it proved to be a great success. Over 1,200 people attended the event which was opened by the President of the Society Sir Arnold Hall.

In 1996 Chester Branch had the honour to host the annual Branches Conference, with representation from as far away as India. Many hours of planning were rewarded with a successful conference that was enjoyed by all. It was also in 1996 that the Branch transferred the site of its lecture venue from the Grosvenor Museum to the Lecture Theatre at the Airbus wing production site at Broughton. Twenty years later another move was made to facilities at the University of Chester. 

In 2003, to celebrate 100 years since the Wright brothers’ first powered flight the Chester Branch held a two-day exhibition in the Town Hall, with the opening ceremony carried out by the Lord Mayor and the RAeS Director, Keith Mans. Also in 2003 to further celebrate the centenary, the Chester Branch joined the Manchester and Preston Branches in organising a special one-day seminar and dinner at Manchester Airport. In 2006 the Chester Branch once again teamed with the Manchester and Preston Branches, this time to host the inaugural Annual Northern Aerospace Forum (ANAF), also in partnership with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the North West Aerospace Alliance. In 2012 the three RAeS Branches jointly hosted the Branches Conference in Accrington.