The Beehive is not that well known, unless you are an airport enthusiast but today is where you will find the best Gatwick Taxi provided by JAGS Executive Taxis. It is where JAGS have their head office and control the fleet of executive Mercedes taxis in Gatwick and accross the UK. This amazing building has an enormous part in Gatwick Airport's history. The Beehive is the original terminal building that was opened in 1936. Although it has been obsolete since 1950, it still remains on the Gatwick Airport site. In 2008 the building was transformed into offices which are still used today. The Beehive is seen as a world class example of airport terminal designs.
Gatwick Airport began its life in 1930, receiving the first aerodrome license in the area. A.M Jackman acquired the aerodrome in 1933; he had grand ideas for its future. Although there were many different designs discussed for the new terminal buildings, the beehive's circular design was born from a throw away comment that his father made. Jackman submitted the plans and patent for the new terminal building in 1934. The design was claimed to be better than any others, due to its unique shape and style. Jackman believed that the shape allowed for greater ease of movement for the aircraft, with an efficient use of space.
The Beehive was constructed from reinforced steel and concrete frames, with brickwork internal walls. The designers wanted to create a modern Art Deco feel and look to the building, concentrating on the exterior vision. The interior consisted of several concentric rings, with corridors between them. This design allowed the arriving and departing passengers to be kept separate. Six main telescopic corridors, extended from the center one. This allowed six different aircraft to be used at any one time. The beehive rises from one central point, which originally contained the control tower.
Alongside the amazing design a subway was developed; this would transport the passengers into the terminal from the surrounding area. The beehive was officially opened in 1936, boasting to be the first circular terminal that the world had seen. There were many new features included in the terminal building when it opened. The beehive offered the first subway in an airport. This facility offered passengers the ability to remain undercover from London, until they boarded their planes. The 130 yard long subway was seen as revolutionary and offered passengers something no other airport could.
Redevelopment of Gatwick Airport took place during the period of 1956 to 1958. The existing railway station was closed to make way for the newer one. The railway station was relocated, causing the Beehive to be cut off from transport links. Although it was still within the airport boundaries it was very soon redundant from main use. The beehive continued to be used for helicopter traffic for several years. Although the interior of the building has been adapted to accommodate offices, the overall look of the building is the same.
The Beehive today is classed as a Grade II listed building; this allows it to be classified as an important building in the country. There are limits concerning the building's use, alongside the restrictions of demolition or removal. The Beehive is recognized as the first interrogated airport building in the world. It is a piece of world class history, as well as a massive part of Gatwick Airport.