Catalogue description Records of the Bedfordshire Airport Resistance Association

This record is held by Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service

Details of Z 118
Reference: Z 118
Title: Records of the Bedfordshire Airport Resistance Association
Date: 1968-1971

Z 118/A Agenda papers & Minutes of Committees & Other Meetings


Z 118/A/1 Annual General Meeting 1970


Z 118/A/2 General Committee 1969


Z 118/A/3 BARA Council 1969


Z 118/A/4 Management Committee 1969-1970


Z 118/A/5 Finance Committee 1969-1970


Z 118/A/6 Publicity Committee 1969-1970


Z 118/A/7 Research Committee 1969


Z 118/A/8 Forward Planning Committee 1969


Z 118/A/9 Other Meetings 1969


Z 118/B Committee Files 1969-1970


Z 118/C Finance 1969-1971


Z 118/D Membership & Officers 1969-1970


Z 118/E Running the Association & Campaign 1969-1970


Z 118/F Advertising, Publicity and Advocacy


Z 118/F/1 Meetings 1969-1971


Z 118/F/2 BARA News 1969-1970


Z 118/F/3 Local Newsletters 1969


Z 118/F/4 Research Bulletins 1969


Z 118/F/5 Other BARA Circulars 1969


Z 118/F/6 Relationship with the News Media 1969


Z 118/F/7 BARA Press Releases 1969-1970


Z 118/F/8 Press Cuttings 1968-1971


Z 118/F/9 Photographs 1969


Z 118/F/10 Visitors Books 1969


Z 118/F/11 Publicity Material 1969


Z 118/G Relationship with Local Government Bodies 1969-1970


Z 118/H Relationship with Other Bodies 1969-1971


Z 118/J Other Sites 1969-1970


Z 118/K The Commission & Its Hearings 1967-1971

Held by: Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Bedfordshire Airport Resistance Association

Physical description: 29 series
Immediate source of acquisition:

3413, 7705


Gift from B.Lawson-Johnston of Melchbourne

  • Bedfordshire
  • Interest groups
Administrative / biographical background:

By the end of the 1960s it was felt that a third airport in the vicinity of London was needed to supplement Heathrow and Gatwick. Four possible sites were chosen - Foulness, a coastal site in Essex and three inland sites: Nuthampstead in Hertfordshire, Wing, also known as Cublington, in Buckinghamshire and Thurleigh.


The Roskill Commission was set up to investigate the potential of each of the possible sites for the Third London Airport. The Inquiry held by the Commission was held in five stages between 1968 and 1970. For an extensive set of records relating to the work of the Commission and evidence given at each stage see CS/LA series, derived from the involvement of Bedfordshire County Council County Secretary's Department in fighting the proposals for an airport at Thurleigh. This series includes almost all the proofs of evidence and statements delivered at Stage II and Stage V of the hearings concerning Thurleigh (see entries Z 118/K/3-4 below for those not included in CS/LA) as well as numerous proofs of evidence and statements concerning the other three sites.


The Bedfordshire Airport Resistance Association (BARA) was set up to fight the proposal to build the Third London Airport at Thurleigh. It was a non-political group independent of Local Authority bodies although co-operating with them where relevant. BARA membership was not restricted to Bedfordshire and a large number of people and institutions such as Parish Councils from Buckinghamshire, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire were members.


BARA was divided into a number of committees as reflected by the minutes in Z 118/A and files in Z 118/B below. The Association worked at local level through "Link Men", responsible for raising awareness and recruiting members in towns and villages throughout the area affected. The Association worked with Members of Parliament and experts in various fields, such as Bob Westley, late of Riseley, then living in Ottawa, Canada, an international expert on aircraft noise.


Two important features of the campaign were the use of Francis Schuster Limited, Professional Communications Services and the BARA Commandos. Francis Schuster supplied press cuttings from news agencies and provided a person responsible for the administration of BARA, Hugh Bennett. Mr.Bennett's association with BARA was brief and he left his post in somewhat acrimonious circumstances, Francis Schuster continued to supply administrative support and guidance. Unfortunately the relationship between BARA and Francis Schuster was not altogether smooth, there being a number of disputes about payment for services rendered (see Z 118/H/1 below). The BARA Commandos were instituted by Mrs.Helen Corbett and consisted of young teenage women dressed in brief, paper minidresses with the words HANDS OFF printed on chest and seat, who were used for publicity photographs such as posting letters of protest to the Prime Minister and delivering a petition to No.10 Downing Street (see Z 118/F/9/8-16 below). The activities and appearance of the Commandos caused a significant amount of attention from the news media and letters of disapproval from some sections of the public.


This archive, when studied alongside the campaign against the Third London Airport by Bedfordshire County Council in CS/LA provides an important study of a national lobbying campaign. In this respect it may be compared with a similarly high level campaign by both local government and public associations to resist the siting of a repository for nuclear waste at Elstow in the 1980s (see PL/NIX catalogue).


Note: original BARA File references are given in square brackets at the end of relevant entries.

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