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Royal opening of Bentley Priory Museum, in Stanmore, only the beginning says trust chairman
Prince Charles, Patron of The Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust, will open the museum on Thursday
The chairman of a museum to be opened this week by Prince Charles says the the event is only the beginning.
Bentley Priory Museum, in Stanmore, will be opened by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall on Thursday, marking the culmination of eight years of work.
The Priory played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain during the Second World War and was where Air Chief Marshal Dowding planned the defence of the country.
Sir Brian Burridge has been chairman of trustees for the Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust, since 2006 and has overseen the work opening the museum.
He said: “To quote Churchill, I think it is the end of the beginning. The day will represent the huge amount of work which has gone into this project.
“It has been a long eight years but this is only the start. The museum and education centre will give future generations the chance to learn about the story of Bentley Priory and its role in the Battle of Britain.
“There is still more work to be done and we are still fundraising to finish the last part of the education centre.
“What has been tough throughout the project has been raising money during a recession but with our partnerships we have been able to get this far.”
The original priory, which housed Augustinian friars, was believed to have been founded in 1170, and the estate was sold to private owners in 1546 by Henry VIII.
In 1766 the estate was sold to James Duberly, who pulled down the original structure and built the building seen today, designed by Sir John Soane.
From July 1936 to April 1968 the priory served as the headquarters of Fighter Command, and played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain.
Up until 2007 the site was an RAF headquarters complex but was no longer needed by the military after a reorganisation of London-based units.
The Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust was founded in 2005 after it was announced that the site would be sold for redevelopment.
By working with Harrow Borough Council and the Ministry of Defence, the trust was able to secure public access to keep the priory and create the museum.
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