It seems more that it’s been designed as a venue than a museum. The building is so tightly fitted around the aircraft that even the guides tell you it’s near impossible to take a photo of the Concorde. The guided tour was not the best either, rudimentary knowledge and the organisation of the tour wasn’t brilliant, just poor planning. The tour at the Brooklands Museum in south London is the best by far, largely because they’ve had participation from local former crew and been supported by former captains.
BA isn’t making life easy – they still own the aircraft which are basically on permanent loan. The Manchester Concorde, G-BOAC, has had it’s cockpit co-pilot front window smashed during a building maintenance accident, and although they’ve found a replacement, BA refuses to allow them to lower the nose – the only way of fitting it.
Now I have to be honest, I’ve flown on Concorde, four return trips in the glory days, my first ground tour of it was back in 1992 while it was still in service on a Citroen SM Owners Club event. I’ve been on the Edinburgh one (I organised its transport to the site from London), and I’ve been on 6 of the BA ones. G-BOAC was the last one I flew on, and it was very strange being able to sit on an aircraft that’s now in a museum, in the very seat I flew in. It’s even stranger listening to the people on the tour with you as they marvel at the idea, never mind the reality of it. You realise how lucky you’ve been. At the same time, I can’t help feeling slightly guilty at the amount of pollution created so I could save a few hours, because that’s all Concorde really was, a time saver. You can barely see out of the windows, you don’t know how fast you’re going until you look at the readout, and the seats were never that comfortable, though the food was something else!