Events Archive






April 2015


On 17 April Jim Preston spoke an enthusiastic audience on 'Aviation in North Kent' from the earliest days.
In 1909 Short Brothers began manufacturing Wright Flyers under licence in a makeshift factory at Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey.
The next year they moved to Eastchurch and started building their own planes.
Twin-engine aircraft soon followed, and then a plane that could take off from a ship but had to land in the water and be hauled back aboard.
In the War, after a move to Rochester, they built the very successful S.184, a float plane for the Admiralty for naval recognizance. The S.184 was also the first plane to attack a ship with a live torpedo.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Vickers of Crayford, prompted by Hiram Maxim, an early enthusiast, began to take an interest in aviation.
In 1911 Vickers purchased land on the Dartford Marshes to test their prototypes.
The site they chose, near to the embankment of the Thames, was bordered on the west by the River Darent and on the east by Joyce Green Lane.
This airfield was in use throughout the War during the production of an armed biplane (the Vickers Gunbus) and a twin-engine bomber, later adapted to commercial use.

Vickers moved to Surrey after the War and the airfield reverted to farmland.
North Kent also saw the manufacture of flying boats at Strood, airships on the Isle of Grain, and gliders at West Malling; and in the 1930s Amy Johnson was associated with the ambitiously named 'Gravesend London Airport'.

Shoreham And District
Historical Society
Affiliated to
The Shoreham Society
The Kent History Federation and
The Kent Archaeological Society

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October 30, 2015

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Shoreham And District Historical Society