`Stapleford opened as Essex Aerodrome in 1933 as a base for Hillman's Airways who provided a service to Paris and other European cities using De Havilland DH.84 Dragon and DH.89 Dragon Rapide biplanes. Amy Johnson was one of the Hillman Airways pilots. After running into financial difficulties, Hillman was bought up by Whitehall Security Corporation Ltd and merged with three other airlines that they already owned to form British Airways Ltd. Operations began in 1936, but after 4 months all flights were moved to Heston Aerodrome, leaving just a small number of private aircraft.
The RAF took an interest in the airfield in 1937 and in 1938 No 21 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training school was established at Stapleford. Flying training was provided by Reid and Signist Ltd, under contract to the Air Ministry. One of the most famous students was J.E. "Johnnie" Johnson who became the RAF's top scoring pilot and reached the rank of Air Vice Marshal.`
................. It might explain the hangar looking more like a factory type rather than maintanance type..??? (If that makes sense...??)
If anyone has a plan of Stapleford showing buildings that might be extant, other than the hangars (eg Battle HQ) post it here and I will try to find and photo them. Its not far from me.
Its still quite a lively airfield with a flying school and a couple of light aircraft flight sims rated to keep hours up I believe.