I was recently invited by my cousin to help him shoot a movie for his YouTube channel. He’s always had an interest in the RAF and anything aeroplane related, some of which has rubbed off on me. He told me we were heading to an old RAF airforce base – Hooton Park – located in Cheshire. The site looks pretty derelict and has certainly seen better days. Thankfully, it is in the process of being refurbished, and celebrates 100 years in 2017 since its inception.
I was interested in the site for many reasons, one of which is the hand-made Belfast truss hangers that the site boasts. Wikipedia defines the Belfast Truss this way:
The Belfast truss is a cross between the Town’s lattice truss and the bowstring truss. It was developed in Ireland as a wide-span shallow rise roof truss for industrial structures. McTear & Co of Belfast, Ireland began fabricating these trusses in wood starting around 1866. By 1899, spans of 24 meters had been achieved, and in the 20th century, shipyards and airplane hangars demanded ever greater clear spans.
The architectural details
As architectural details go, these are incredible – a real testament to man-made achievements rom almost a century ago. Another fine example of this roof structure can be found in a WW1-era aircraft hangar in the Duxford Imperial War Museum.
I was primarily there as the Director of Photography on the movie shoot, and I tried my best to stay focused. However, with so much history lying around me, I just had to take a little time and focus on getting some great shots. I’ve posted a gallery here, but to follow are a few of my favourite images:
At the end of a great afternoon of filming, we felt like we had the shots required for the movie, and bid farewell to Hooton Park. I do have a couple of upcoming photo shoots, and will definitely be making enquiries to see if I can use this space again. The light that falls on a bright day through he truss roof is pretty magical, and with the right camera settings – and a little bit of imagination and creativity – I’m sure this place will work it’s magic again for me.
If you are interested in using Hooton Park for a film of photo shoot, contact them on 0151 327 3565 or take a look at their website. For a voluntary donation, you might find you’ve discovered a real gem of a location.
The YouTube video shot here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMdSx48-PD8
RAF Hooton Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Hooton_Park
My gallery of images: http://ianjmackie.com/portfolio/hooton-park/