22 January 2022

10:30am to 5pm

IWM Duxford


Book online by midnight on 21 January. Includes entry to IWM Duxford.

Calling all aviation enthusiasts keen to learn more about Britain’s most iconic fighting aircraft, the Spitfire.

Join expert speakers at IWM Duxford for an all-day conference delving deep into the details of the Spitfire’s evolution, as part of a season of events surrounding our Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon exhibition.

Find out about the development of the aircraft, the people involved in its inception, and the history of three unique Spitfires in IWM’s collection.


Spitfire MH434 in its hanger at IWM Duxford


Spitfire People
Paul Beaver will kick off the day by exploring the people behind the Spitfire and their influence on the aircraft’s development, as well as the challenges of its production and dispersal to airfields around the south of England.

IWM and the Spitfire
Then, IWM Head of Technological Objects Rebecca Harding will delve into the history of three Spitfires in our collection, exploring the unique story behind each and how they came to IWM. We will then screen a selection of period footage from our archive, some of which has never been seen before by the public.

Spitfire Mk Vb BM597 in AirSpace

Spitfire Evolution
After guests have visited the exhibition, Paul Beaver will speak about the development of the Spitfire through 73 variants and its journey to becoming the legend it is today. He will explain why there are growing numbers of airworthy Spitfires and how ordinary people can fly in one.

Spitfire Documentary
We will then screen the documentary film Spitfire, in HD and on the big screen for the first time since its release in 2018. The film tells the story of the Spitfire and the pilots that helped win the Battle of Britain in 1940.

A Chance to Reflect
The day will end with a chance to return to the exhibition and reflect in the company of twelve unique Spitfires of varying marks. Guests will also be able to put their questions to our experts.


Spitfire floodlit against a dark backdrop artwork


Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon celebrates how this aircraft captured the hearts of the home front and became synonymous with the hope and protection of the British Isles.

In a world first, twelve airworthy Spitfires of varying marks have been brought together under one roof, for a limited time only.

IWM Duxford’s historic airfield was the base of the first RAF fighter squadron to receive the Spitfire in 1938. This historic exhibition brings these iconic aircraft “home” this winter, for your enjoyment. 


  • Paul Beaver

    Paul Beaver

    Paul Beaver is an aviation historian, broadcaster and writer. He is very much a hands-on historian with the Spitfire, Harvard and Mustang in his pilot’s logbook. He trained in the Army Air Corps, rising to Colonel before he retired in 2013. He is now Honorary Group Captain of No 601 Squadron; vice-president of the Spitfire Society and the author of several books on Spitfires.

  • Rebecca Harding Portrait
    © IWM

    Rebecca Harding

    Since joining IWM in 2001, Rebecca has worked extensively with IWM's collections as the curatorial champion for IWM's aircraft, vehicle, maritime, weaponry and communications equipment collections. Based at IWM Duxford, Rebecca's areas of particular interest include the RAF during and following the Second World War, the development of nuclear warfare and the history of Duxford.


Spitfire evolution by Paul Beaver book cover


Paul Beaver will be signing copies of his books Spitfire Evolution and Spitfire People, which will be available to buy at the event.

Spitfire Evolution is a definitive history of the development of more than 70 variants of Spitfire and Seafire with more than 80 illustrations and numerous additional diagrams.

Spitfire People examines the contribution to the Spitfire’s development and achievements by over 65 people - some famous, others not - ranging from politicians to pilots.

Limited availability

Secure your spot for this limited capacity, all-day event now.

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