New retail park keeps its links with the past
A new hangar is being built on part of the site of the former Royal Naval Air Station Burscough Lancashire (HMS Ringtail) 1943 / 1946 as part of a forthcoming new retail park, but this time the building will not be housing Naval Aircraft, instead it will be home to a supermarket.
Booths, a Northwest supermarket chain, have had their new Burscough store designed to resemble a WW2 hangar out of respect for the history of the former WW2 air station. It is hoped that there will also be old photos dating back to Ringtails operational years displayed in the cafe area. The Booth family have also commissioned a truly unique piece of public art work with strong connections to the history of Naval aviation and Royal Naval Air Station Burscough.
The new supermarket is the first phase of the new Ringtail Retail Park, also named after the air station and providing a further valuable link to the past. The supermarket is due to open June this year.
Lawrence Critchley (Fleet Air Arm Association Honorary member) who back in 1999 campaigned and had a monument erected to those who served at Burscough said the following “Booths have made a wonderful and very unique gesture in the way they are recognising and respecting the location of their new supermarket”. He continued by saying “most new supermarket buildings are featureless structures, I believe that what Booths are doing is truly groundbreaking in terms of linking the modern with the past. In doing so they are depicting the history and heritage of a former Royal Naval Air Station in a totally new and enlightening way, illustrating how businesses can effectively incorporate the history of their locations into their building design and company culture”.
HMS Ringtail was commissioned on the first if September 1943 and was operational till 1946. Initially, it was used for fighter squadrons, but this grew to include night fighter, torpedo fighter, radar training and a fleet requirement unit. About 40 squadrons are believed to have operated for shorter or longer times during work up, conversion or dismemberment from aircraft carriers in the river Mersey off nearby Liverpool. A monument to those who served at HMS Ringtail was dedicated back in 2003 and is located close to the new supermarket / retail park. For safety reasons the monument will be moved a short distance to a new location and it is expected that there will be a re dedication ceremony later this year.