The Start Of It All - The History of the Griffin Trust


1994 to Present Day

Wheels 94 1

Encouraged by its success again in 1994 the main content of the show stayed the same. The Queens House Hold Calvary Musical ride was successfully obtained to attend as the main arena attraction. They performed a display on both days of the show. The many horses, men and equipment where billeted at the hangar complex for 5 days as well as “Special branch” police contingent ensuring the safety of the display team special.

Wheels 96

The 1996 show once again had main attractions never seen in the area before, Wolds Wagoners Army Motorcycle display team, Prince of Wales' own regiment of Yorkshire's parachute display team and Powder Pastimes historic firearms display. The other unique attraction was the loan from the York railway Museum of the “Stephens Rocket” replica. Which was collected on a low loader by the show organiser. This attraction was tremendous, steaming up and running on a length of track. Being joined by a fascinating huge steam car and “Blodwyn” the steam roller supplied by Castle cement that sedately chugged around the showground all day.

Although the organisers had planned to obtain the Royal Horse Artillery for the next event in 1998 and the Dancing diggers in 2000. Sadly after 1996 the shows were curtailed due to the disposal of the Showground.

Six years of efforts by the Trust to obtain additional funding for the renovation of the hangars and ancillary buildings were unsuccessful because the term of the lease was too short so in 1996 and as the last show ended the ownership of the hangar complex was offered to the Griffin Trust, but the sponsorship package was deemed to be insufficient to attract match funding.


Soon after a partnership was formed between The Griffin Trust, Vauxhall Motors, English Partnership, and the Ellesmere Port & Neston Borough Councils to formulate a plan to restore the hangars and then a Vauxhall Heritage Centre, an event hangar and a museum hangar would have been established within project. The ancillary building being used as a cafe and training workshops.

In 1999 as the application for funding was about to be submitted for feasibility studies a change in climate a Vauxhall and as part of their expansion plans made them decide to withdraw their interest in the development of the hangar site. Within a month they applied to the Secretary of State to have the hangars demolished (because they were listed buildings).

The Griffin Trust spearheaded and funded the action named Save Hooton Hangars which produced a just wave of public protest which was far reaching and included Lord David Hunt and support from GM America. The negotiating committee was mainly volunteers from The Griffin Trust who worked as Business & Media managers thousands of written objections together with reports in newspapers, transport enthusiasts and the aviation press resulted in the reprieve of the hangar site...

In October 2000 the hangar complex and buildings was handed over to the newly formed Hooton Park Trust, who is now the new owners of the site.

The Hooton Park Trust none profit making company was set up, with £300 donated by The Griffin Trust, a member of the S.H.H. Campaign Committee. Most of whose members derived from the Griffin Trust and who were Broadcaster, Works manager and Griffin Trust Board members.

Immediately the nearly formed Hooton Park Trust decided that to generate more substantial funds that the events would stop and Griffin Trust would be asked to leave Hangar Two. The derelict MT Sheds were offered and the rear of Hangar One to be used as a workshop as the only alternative to staying on the site or disband.

Not daunted by the enormous project ahead they set to clearing the area which was used by Vauxhall Motors as a “bi products dump” and obtaining a small grant for roofing materials.

In 2001 The Griffin Trust embarked on preserving and restoring the Motor Transport Sheds. The first stage MT1 (Motor Transport) was completed in three years. MT2 was finished in 2006 and some Auto jumbles returned for a short period and Aviation Fairs were held in the local Civic Hall but where found to be none-profit making.

Work though still carried on. New mains water and electric were connected to the MT sheds all the back breaking work done by the ever enthusiastic Volunteer force and funded by The Griffin Trust. Port cabins restored and recycled for storage and yard and surrounding gardens clearer.

The Griffin Trust supports the Hooton Park Trust and has willingly placed it years of experience at their disposal. As well as continuing to this day supporting Hooton Park Trust with manpower, materials and equipment.

< < < 1986 to 1994