Old Warden, July 14th, 1997
This section is laid out in two pages. This page describes the pre-WWI and inter-war hangars we explored at the home of the Collection - the next page looks at the other other two hangars on public exhibit.
The oldest powered machine in the collection, a 1909 Bleriot XI can be seen on the previous page. This isn't the only pre-war aircraft on show.
The next oldest aircraft is a 1910 Deperdussin (G-AANH) which joined Richard Shuttleworth's collection in 1935, and is still flown today when conditions are 'ideal'. The next aircraft is a reproduction of a 1910 Bristol Boxkite. No original exists today, and the last example is reported to have flown in 1915. This replica was built for the film 'Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines'and was acquired by the Collection in 1966. The next aircraft, the Avro Triplane IV (G-ARSG) is also a replica of a 1910 aircraft built for the same film. The original Roe Triplane is in the Science Museum. The Blackburn Mercury monoplane (G-AANI) is an original, built for Cyril Foggin, and the seventh of its type. Acquired by Shuttleworth in 1938, it was not restored until 1949. The fifth picture I believe to be a Cody type kite - but I can't remember what the description said, and I can't find it in my references!
Moving onto the inter-war period, the Shuttleworth Collection contains a major example of the products of the De Havilland factory. From 1923 comes the DH53 Humming Bird (G-EBHX) which has been with the Collection since 1954. The aircraft was built for the 'Daily Mail' light aeroplane trials at Lympne. The DH51 dates from 1924 (even though the number is earlier in the sequence), and joined the Collection in 1972. G-EBIR is the third of three built, and as VP-KAA was the first aircraft registered in Kenya. The Granger Archaeopteryx (G-ABXL) is the sole example built, and was produced by two brothers (R.F.T. and R.J.T. Granger) who operated the aircraft from 1930 till 1936. Acquired by the Collection in 1967, the aircraft has been flown since restoration, but is not currently operated for safety reasons.
The Arrow Active Mk.II (G-ABVE) was the second aircraft from the Arrow Aircraft Co., and the sole example of its type. Built in 1932, it has been on loan to the Collection since 1982. The early history of the Flying Flea (G-AEBB) is unknown. but it is one of a number of Henry Minet's design constructed in the mid-1930's. This one was acquired by the Collection in 1967, and although capable of flying, is only taxied for displays. The DH88 Comet (G-ACSS) is one of the most famous aircraft in the Collection. Built to participate in the long distance air races of the mid-1930's, it joined the Collection in 1965. and was rebuilt in the 1980's. The Comet is a truely awesome looking beast, and I can understand its popularity at displays!
The B.A. Swallow 2 (G-AFCL) was built in late 1937, and has been on loan to the Collection since 1978. The Miles M.2L Hawk Speed Six (G-ADGP) is the sole survivor of three built. Built to race, at one time this aircraft held the Class C.16 speed record for a 100km closed circuit, at 192.83 mph. Also a fast-mover, the Percival Mew Gull (G-AEXF) won the 1938 King's Cup at an average speed of 235.25mph. The Comper Swift (G-ACTF) 'Scarlet Angel' may not be as sleek but it is an approprate member of the Collection. As a Director of the Comper Aircraft Co., Richard Shuttlworth flew an aircraft of this type to India on a marketing tour!
The Collection contains more than aircraft, as it has its roots in Richard Shuttleworth's purchase of a 1900 Panhard Levassor in 1928. Two of the images above show some of the automobiles in the Collection. An 1899 MORS Model A Petit Duc, a 1901 Locomobile, a 1902 Baby Peugeot, and a 1903 De Dietrich can be seen in the first image. The second image shows some of the 1920's and 30's vehicles. I was particularly impressed by the 1918 Huck's Starter (not shown), which is still used by the Collection! The last two images show the buildings at the Collection, as much part of the Museum, as the vehicles they contain - and the one aircraft operating during our visit. This is the Sopwith Dove replica (G-EAGA), built by Skysport engineering and on loan to the Collection since 1992. The aircraft was undergoing maintenance and we could hear the engine being run-up as we wandered through the hangars. Apart from the clothes and the cars, this could be a scene from 80 years ago!
Unfortunately the visit was all too short - only a mere 75 minutes, which was way to short! But we were constrained by our flight schedule and had to make our way back to the A1(M) and onto London to catch our flight. I'm looking forward to being able to visit again - and maybe on a flying-day this time . . .
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© 1997 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved