Heathrow Airport began in the 1930s as the Great Western Aerodrome privately owned by Fairey Aviation and used for aircraft assembly and testing.
The airport was named after the hamlet of Heathrow was demolished to make way for the airport and was now where terminal three now stands.
In 1944, the airport came under the control of the Ministry of Air. Heathrow was initially secretly intended as a base for long range transport aircraft in support of the war with Japan. The Royal Air Force never made use of the airport and control was transferred to the ministry of Civil Aviation on January 1, 1946.
The first civil flight was to Buenos Aires via Lisbon. The airport opened fully for civilian use on May 31, 1946 and soon had three runways with three more under construction.
In 1953, the first concrete slab of the first modern runway was ceremonially placed by Queen Elizabeth II. She also opened the first permanent terminal building, now known as terminal two in 1955. Terminal three opened in 1961. At this point, the airport had helicopter service from central London and gardens on the roof of the terminal building.
The most recent of the cluster of main terminals was opened was Terminal One, opened in 1968. Terminal four, built away from the cluster, was built in 1986.