Edward Wakefield’s hangar at Hill of Oaks, Windermere, which ‘had proved just right for aeroplane experimenting’, was considered too out of the way for business, hence him wanting to come to Bowness-on-Windermere. He took out a lease at £15 per year of glebe land within the living of St John the Evangelist (which church was open 1885-1995).
Wakefield obtained planning permission on 10 January 1912 from Windermere Urban District Council, for a location that was described as a ‘swamp’. The hangar at Cockshott was 80 feet by 48 feet, cost £321 and painted green. Aeroplanes were launched and retrieved on a ramp by way of winch-operated trolley.
On 29 March 1912, the hangar collapsed in a storm, causing Waterbird’s wings to be badly damaged. It was re-erected, with the benefit of shoring.
The location of the hangar can be identified by reference to the dome of the house on Belle Isle which is visible above the centre of the hangar, and from this photo of the site prior to it being built upon. The photo above left was taken by Gertrude Bacon during her flight in Waterhen on 15 July 1912 – the hangar is the first building at bottom right.
This photo, which includes Waterhen at the Cockshott hangar where it was built, is intriguing in that the background story is known. It was taken in August 1913 by Vida Bloede, who was 17 at the time and on vacation from Maryland, visiting Scotland and England with the rest of her family. In that Vida had photographed the Wright Flyer at Virginia in 1908, it might be assumed she wanted to have a passenger flight in Waterhen. The boy in the canoe is her 19 year old brother, Victor Bloede, Junior. Their father had become wealthy, having invented the process for dyed fabric that would not fade on exposure to sunlight and also the gum adhesive used on US postage stamps.
Cockshott was used for training pilots, head office and works, but in June 1916 the HQ of the Royal Naval Air Service transferred to Hill of Oaks.
In 1919, the hangar was used by two Avro 504’s which were operated by Howard Pixton for the Avro Transport Company, including joyriding, instruction, charter flights and delivering newspapers to the Isle of Man.