Grahame-White Watch Office - Exploring the RAF Museum London Part II

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Grahame-White Watch Office RAF Museum

 The original wooden cantilevered staircase - note the carved decoration on the newel post (the vertical post at the bottom of the banister)

Last week I made a return visit to the RAF Museum London this time introducing its delights to my twitter friends. During our visit we were shown around the Grahame-White Watch Office by one of the museum's volunteers.

The office which was built in 1915 was part of the Grahame-White factory, the UK's first purpose-built aircraft factory. It was located at the time on the London Aerodrome in Hendon. During World War I the site was used by the military and after that by the RAF until it closed in 1987. Both the factory and Watch Office were later dismantled and re-constructed on its present site. A clip of “Brick By Brick: Rebuilding Our Past” a television documentary featuring Dan Cruickshank showing the restoration of the buildings can be seen here.

Grahame-White Watch Office RAF Museum

Watch Office - wished my office looked like this

The watch office has been carefully re-created using an old  black and white photograph showing the original layout of the room in 1915.

The room is beautifully decorated in an Art and Crafts style which was fashionable in the early 1900s. The style focused on high quality and hand made goods and was against mass production. Most of the furnishings in the room are wooden from the beamed ceiling, wooden wall panels to the floor boards.

Grahame-White Watch Office RAF Museum

 Bespoke reproduction furniture included the table with its ornately carved bulbous legs

All the replica wooden furniture was hand made and hand carved by skilled craftsmen from Distinctive Country Furniture. I loved the attention to detail such as the bin under the table matches the backs of the chairs.

The unusual design of the replica table lamps, wall lights and pendents, made by Great British Lighting, in black painted steel and parchment, were particuarly attractive.

Grahame-White Watch Office RAF Museum

Loved the attention to detail and the choice of small objects

On the table were an assortment of objects including old newspapers, a cup and a candlestick telephone.

Grahame-White Watch Office RAF Museum

 The fireplace - an attractive feature of the room

The redbrick fireplace made an attractive focal point for the room and above is a wooden mantlepiece where Claude Grahame-White's initials are carved. 

Grahame-White Watch Office RAF Museum

 Claude Grahame-White name carved into the mantlepiece

Grahame-White Watch Office RAF Museum

 The door on the left of the photo - as well as the staircase are original 

Grahame-White Watch Office RAF Museum

 A portrait of Claude Grahame-White (1879 – 1959) sitting in his office - he was one of the 1st people to qualify as pilot in England

Practical Information 

Address:  Royal Air Force Museum London, Grahame Park Way, London, NW9 5LL

Nearest Tube Station/ Train Station:  Colindale Tube Station is in Travelcard Zone 4. The RAF Museum is 12 minute walk from the station or take bus number 303 from the station. Alternative is Mill Hill Broadway Train Station is in Travelcard Zone 4. The RAF Museum is a 25 minute walk or take bus number 303 from the station.

Opening Hours:  The RAF Musuem is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Please note we were advised that the Grahame-White Watch Office is only open when volunteer staff are available. Please check with the Musuem for details before travelling.

Prices:   Free admission

Wessex Cafe is located in the Historic Hangers and the Wings Restaurant is in the Battle of Britain Hall.


To find out more about the rest of the RAF Musuem London read Exploring the RAF Museum London which I wrote following my original visit in April 2013.

The author of this blog is a qualified City of London and City of Westminster Tour Guide who leads guided walks combining world famous landmarks with hidden treasures often missed by the crowds.