In late 2013 we were approached in conjunction with UGLY Studios, to produce a series of films about Langham’s Airfield and Dome. When we first began the project we had no idea what a rich and fascinating story we would uncover. After approaching BBC East with the idea, we edited the films into a half hour documentary, narrated by Stephen Fry. It was then shortlisted in the BAFTA qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2015 in the documentary category.
Originally conceived of after the inventor, Henry Christian Stevens, watched Stuka’s dive bombing civilians during the Spanish civil war on a Pathe newsreel in the late 1930s; the dome trainer provided a safe and realistic space for Anti-Aircraft gunners to hone their craft. By projecting a film onto the curved surface of the domes walls with a mocked up gunnery emplacement in the centre of the room, Stevens created the first example of what we now know as Virtual Reality technology.
After many hours of research and dead ends our director Clive Dunn and researcher Alex Black began to uncover the origins of the mysterious Dome structure, leading us to interview the grandson of the Dome’s creator. Along the way they met pilots, instructors, villagers and mechanics and gained an insight into a fascinating and forgotten relic of WWII.
Thanks to the hard work of the Friends of Langham Dome and funding from the Heritage Lottery, the Dome has been restored to its former glory and is now open as a Museum.