EGCC Manchester (Ringway) Airport ATC, Manchester sub-ACC, PATCRU

Manchester Control tower circa 1965[37335]

Peter Steeden  was a visitor on a guided tour of Ringway control tower in the 1960s when he took the photo above showing three ATC staff. Anyone know their names?

From Phil Holt, he’s  recently come across these four photos. He thought it timely as MACCVETS are going to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the closure of MACC on 22nd January.

It is a little “off topic” being shots of the VCR, but this VCR cab has now passed into history twice over, first when the old VCR cab was replaced by a much higher, bigger one. Second when the VCR was abandoned in favour of a new stand-alone tower on the West side. That was inevitable on the closure of MACC as Apc Rad survived a few years in the old 4th floor but is all self-contained now in the new facility.

General description: A set of photos from ex Manchester ATCO Phil Holt. Taken, it is thought around 1992/3 and features the VCR that dates from the early 1960’s. It is “D” watch on duty. As always, feedback is valued to get accuracy.

Here are the descriptions of each photo:



A general shot looking SW across all desks. An ATC unit is not complete without the plastic strip basket! Original windows and frames that rattled when a BAC 1-11 (and Concorde!) took off on full water methane power!



Occupied the easterly (left) side of the VCR, as the prevailing wind meant the usual rwy in use was 24 (now 23 right!). Nearest the camera, ATSA John Dale (not to be confused with John Dale ATCO, who, for identification purposes, was named John Dale Quebec!). AIR ATCO is Phil Holt. Note shirts, ties and jackets! Next to John’s computer screen is the “emergency desk” where a spare ATCO would come and plug in. On the desk are 2 clips – one for notams and one for met warnings

Air Desk 2


On the right is the “(Not so) touch sensitive” lighting panel which often required 3 or 4 presses on the dark circles to light up a section of greens (just what you don’t want in complex LVP conditions!). Note that it stops at the northern edge of pier C (terminal 2 was under construction at the time). When it opened we got a new lighting panel! The air controller had a smaller panel to work the CAT 1 or 2/3 stop bars. Note the emergency grab boards above the anemometer dials complete with china graph propelling pencil. The upside down strip holder is to notify “Woodford Active” and had a slider to display their rwy in use. Above it is the ATM – what a difference from the old “DFTI”!



Still well positioned with a good view out across the 3 piers of Terminal 1 (domestic pier A, international pier B, and the “new” pier C constructed in 2 parts, the latter having a “satellite” added at the end and the IDLEX (International departure lounge Extension) added alongside the existing terminal. Not so with Terminal 2, (behind you!). So the decision was made to take this VCR down, put in a plinth and build up a new layout. Nearest the camera, GMC ATSA Pauline Winter. GMC ATCO, we think, is Alan Steele, guesting from either B or E watch.

For a snapshot of Manchester in  1984 (no second runway and the old sub centre still in operation) click on ATC at Manchester International Airport Brochure 1984

and courtesy of Paul Eite via Steve Balfour is a 1985 staff roll


Steve Balfour has added several comments to this post that help identify quite a few people in the photographs. I’ve also added a pdf document about the engineering changes at Manchester over the years. There is a link to the CAA retired staff association in the text, their current web site in 2015 is

for the engineering changes doc, click on  MCR Memories

Steve has also obtained from Manchester Library the following eight photos of Manchester tower and ATC between the late 30s and early  50s

EGCC 2 R150

CC0a early war pre 1939?

early CC (4)CC0aa 1957

CC 1950CC0b 1950

early CC (1)CC0c

_05_1957 L copyCC0cc 1957

CC 1950_2CC0d 1950

CC 1938CC0e 1938

_1950s LCC0ee 1957

Steve tells me that the 1950s panoramic shot featuring the Aerovan, (1950s L), is courtesy of Mark Williams, who runs ‘Ringway Publications’. Mark also provided the 1952 aerial shot, which was taken by ‘Airviews’, a company with a long connection to EGCC.

CC1957CC0f 1957

_27.04.57CC0ff 1957

The aircraft above is Miles Aerovan G-AISF. Meridian Air Maps operated Aerovan 4 G-AISF on aerial survey work from October 1955 until it crashed on takeoff from Manchester (Ringway) on 29 April 1957. The accident killed the pilot Jean Lennox Bird and two passengers. Jean Lennox Bird was the first woman to be awarded full Royal Air Force pilot’s wings, in 1952. Jean learnt to fly in 1930, aged 18, and served as a delivery pilot during the Second World War. She flew types such as Wellington bombers, Spitfires, Dakotas and Hurricanes. After the War, she qualified as a flying instructor, and earned her RAF pilot’s wings. She later became a civilian commercial pilot.

early CC (2)CC0g

early CC (3)CC0h 1957

and has followed them up with a few more

Steve says he thinks the history of EGCC is divided into 11 or 12 distinct ‘phases’. These are more photographs showing the ATC facility at Ringway, (which was a building comprising the first passenger terminal, ATC and a hangar), during the late 1930s. The airport opened fully on 25/06/1938.”

latest CC 1938 (1)CC0i

latest CC 1938 (3)CC0j

latest CC 1938 (4)CC0k

latest CC 1939CC0l 1939

The hangars were numbered L-R as 1, 2 and 3. They were there during the 1940s, as pictures show them camouflaged, and they survived until the 1958-62 tower was built.

from Barry Davidson

aEGCC 2_2






and Steve has found another five early Manchester tower/terminal photos



and a print of wartime Ringway from  both Barry Davidson and Steve Balfour

EGCC 1_1


12_05_1946CC0n 1946

12_07 1946CC0o 1946

1946 L from the SWCCOp 1946

1948 2LCC0q 1948

G-AGHL in the early BEA colours, would be named Lanoe Hawker after the WW1 RFC fighter pilot.

_EARLY 1950s LCC0r early 1950’s

_1952 LCC0s 1952

_EGCC 1950sCC0t 1950s

egcc airspace mapCC1

egcc atcas 9-59

CC1a from Les Tranter August 1959 ATCA and ATCO positions in the tower. Note the lighting panel under the desk

Lampson tubes were a pneumatic system that delivered containers around ATC containing flight orogress strips and weather information, notams etc.CC2

Lamson tubes were a pneumatic system that delivered containers around ATC containing flight progress strips and weather information, Notams etc.

PAR farleft, approach radar in shadows, approach procedural controller nearest - Martin Halverson of Jim Rogers perhapsCC3

PAR far left, approach radar in shadows, approach procedural controller nearest now identified as Don Binks – Steve Balfour.

egcc approach radarCC4

Manchester ATC Approach radar, controller Doug Handley?

EGCC Radar


now three views of the sub-centre dating the 80s (?) from Dave Smith. They are of Manchester TMA East sector when it was using mediator type flat screens and suites. Some names would be welcome. Those already received from Pete Hargreaves, Steve Balfour and John Pilling

Manch Sub-Centre 1

4a Sitting L-R Dennis Gabriel, Pete Holland, John Pilling standing.

Manch Sub-Centre 2

4b L-R Pete Holland, Jim Rankin and wings ATSA Kevin O’Grady.

Manch Sub-Centre 3

4c L-R Pete Holland the CSC, Dennis Gabriel. Andy Whittaker, (leather jacket) and another John Pilling

aEGCC 1_1

CC4d from Barry Davidson

Manch VCR

CC4e from Dave Smith. Photos originated with CAA PR dated 1988 and supposed to be “recent” photos. L-R Phil Jackson, Steve Bartley and John Harrington.

egcc control tower 2CC5

EGCC 1967

CC5a EGCC 1967 from Paul Funnell

CC - BEA Vanguard & Manchester Tower, 1967CC5a BEA Vanguard and Manchester Tower 1967


CC5b  1971 BUA HP7 GAVEZ

egcc control towerCC6


CC6a bring the tower story up to date

CC6b from Barry Davidson as are the next three

EGCC 1_2


EGCC 2_1


EGCC 2_2


egcc fitting monopulse radar headCC7

egcc more modern tower control positionCC8

The colour shot of the VCR shows the air controller’s position, occupied by ‘C’ Watch ATCO Alan Steele. (Ex EGPB).

The VCR shot is taken inside the new VCR cab that was added in the early 1990s to facilitate the visibility of Terminal 2. This was necessary as the 1962 VCR had a wall on it’s north side, behind which Manch’ approach was located. The new VCR was originally all on one level, as in this picture, but it was re-engineered sometime around The Millennium to accommodate the Air 1 and Air 2 positions required for Runway 2.

Steve Balfour

egcc new acc ops room maybe or simulatorCC9

The centre colour shot is the MACC ‘West Bank’. L-R ATSA Tony Jones, Co-ordinator, (green pen), Mike Molyneaux, Radar, James Russell, then an unidentified lady. The gentleman at the far right (on what was then the simulator), is believed to be the late Brian Smith – Steve Balfour

egcc new approach radar control in acc maybe simulatorCC10

The colour picture with the 17 on it is Bernard Curphey, (ex EGPH, ex CATC/EU ex 39 ATC Cadet Course, -(‘The Animals’), manning ‘Final Director’. Steve Balfour

Precision approach radar at Manchester (Talk Down)CC11 Type 2000 PAR

Precision approach radar at Manchester (Talk Down)

egcc patcru 2CC12

PATCRU - Preston Air Traffic Control Radar Unit located at manchester and provided lower level area radar services for the North.Took over form Antrobus at RNAS Streaton. Upper air servcie provided at various times by Northern radar at Hack Green and LindholmeCC13

PATCRU – Preston Air Traffic Control Radar Unit located at Manchester and provided lower level area radar services for the North. Took over from Antrobus at RNAS Stretton. Upper air service provided at various times by Northern radar at Hack Green and Lindholme

egcc simulator input display maybeCC14

egcc subcentre outbound west and sector 2CC15

egcc subcentre sectors 6 and 1CC16

Al Lewis, manager ATC manchester airport and sub-centre is seen accepting the new temporary Area training facility from Project Manager Keith Donald, Deputy Director of Projects (SCATCC and Manchester)CC17

Al Lewis, manager ATC Manchester airport and sub-centre is seen accepting the new temporary Area training facility from Project Manager Keith Donald, Deputy Director of Projects (SCATCC and Manchester)

the ATCOs are Bob Roalfe and Tony McAndrew, who were both active in IPCS/IPMS. Steve Balfour

egcc tower 1CC18

egcc tower 2CC19

egcc tower 3CC20

manchester tower CC21 1970

Manchester Runway Caravan & S264 Radar 1970s

CC22 Runway Caravan from Bryan Brough

NW 40

CC23 from Phil Holt

Taken close to GATCO’s 40th anniversary, somewhere in South East Manchester.

From left to right:

George Jones (last Centre Superintendent of PATCC), Phil Holt, Max Hundleby, Morris Hotchkin, Tim McKay, Gordon Butler, Pete Perry, Alex Patterson, ????? (did the last transmission from PATCC), ?????, Dave Schofield, Steve Balfour, Jack Day

Seated:  Nigel Green, Fiona Hough

No 8 Cadets board VC15 GASGC EGCC July 1967

CC24 the first of three photo from Paul Funnell showing members of No 8 course at EGCC 1967

No 8 Course tour hanger EGCC





CC27 the first of  three charts via Colin McKeeman, a landing chart for 1964.


CC27 and the first of two SID charts from 1976



26 thoughts on “EGCC Manchester (Ringway) Airport ATC, Manchester sub-ACC, PATCRU”

  1. In Peter Steeden’s picture, I’m fairly certain the mentor ATCO on the left is Bill Pratt. Bill was on B Watch in the early 1980s.


  2. CC21 1970 Tower Manchester the controller next to the radar scope left looks like Dave Waugh.


  3. The 1960’s tower the controller left looks like Bill Pratt the female assistant looks like Val Clearly don’t recognise the other controller.


  4. Does anyone know what has happened to Carol Mellor -if anyone has any contact details or news that would be great


    1. Graham, Carol was on C Watch from when EGGP closed until her retirement. I can’t remember when that was, but I think she still lives in Eccles?


      1. Hi Steve

        Thanks i would love to get in contact with her again but have lost any address/contact details . If you know any way to get in touch with her I would be grateful


  5. Does anyone know when Jack Day worked here ? He’s on a 40th. anniversary photo on this site.
    I’m doing research for his wife’s nephew.


    1. Jack retired, I think, in1989. He wasn’t operational when I arrived as an ATCO. Subsequently, I became the secretary of the NW Branch of the Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers. Jack was our Retired Members rep. He had joined the Guild in it’s founding year, 1954 – the year I was born! That is why he’s on the photo as the “40th” referred to is GATCO’s anniversary which I helped to organise. I also knew Jack at Preston Airways in the 70’s where he was the training officer. Great guy, well liked.


  6. Further to my previous..forgot to mention the night a SABENA DC7c slid off the runway -much to the surprise of the runway controller who woke up to find the wing of the aircraft over the top of the caravan..

    .Same chap who complained after a runway inspection that an aircraft had run off the Fairey Aviation taxiway (as it was known (the Western) & unlit. The controller Tony Turner nearly went ballistic as everyone had been at it all night as a London/Manchester/New York BOAC Brit 101 had slide off the taxiway and a tank transporter tug had to be brought in to pull it out..nothing else would move it…..
    This particular assistant crossed the runway one night to use the GCA toilet…on his return cross the runway the electricians doing the lights inspection decided to give him a fright and zoomed past him just missing him…result..the police turned up as he complained they tried to kill him…
    Of course everyone thought it a hoot………..


  7. well I remember that Control Room of the 1950s…altho I never had a chair like that one shown (Assistants desk- in 1958
    ..I well remember how the ashtray used to be emptied down the Lamson tube much to the chagrin of the Teleprinter crew below!! and that climb up the rickety wooden staircase inside the hangar upon which the CR was built…and the walls of the CR being stuffed with newspapers to plug rhe gap and the wind!!…and then I moved to the Pig Farm called ANTROBUS (Manchester Zone)..bussed from the airport…..and from there to Hack Green to cardiff to Birmingham AIS and retirement in 1986……(anyone remember Ron Newton)??


    1. Delighted to come across these photos. CCOa 1957 – the control tower – This shows my lovely Dad, Ken Little (d. 2005) standing to the right in the photo . Who is the guy standing to the left ?


  8. 4a – Peter Holland – nearest camera // 4b – Jim Rankin, Peter Holland, Kevin O’Grady // 4c – Peter Holland as CSC with (I think) Dennis Gabriel // CC4e – John Harrington nearest camera // CC23 – definitely Tim McKay. CC11 – Type 2000 PAR – Lillian Pring (nee Evans) and myself were the last to go from Manchester to do the PAR course. That was in early 1971. The PAR was withdrawn on 1st April 1974 when Aerodrome Control became Air Control and GMC. Interestingly, not long before they took the PAR out, we had an ILS outage one morning and a lot of inbounds were given PAR approaches. The other use of PAR was to monitor aircraft flying the ILS when certain weather conditions applied. Very belt, braces and piece of string you may think but back in the day equipment (both ground-based and airborne) was not as reliable as it later became.


    1. The gentleman standing and then sitting next to Andy Whittaker is John Pilling….i.e. me. Just stumbled on this webpage …some great memories stirred!!!
      Regards to all,


      Liked by 1 person

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