Bellway Homes officially mark New Cardington’s link with the Air Ship Industry

Bellway Homes has joined part of a nationwide programme that marks sites of historical interest with Red Wheel plaques. The initiative is lead by the Transport Trust who aim to commemorate Britain’s rich and globally important legacy in the development of transport.

A ceremony at Bellway’s New Cardington development saw the installation of the Red Plaque on the Shorts Building, marking New Cardington’s links with the Air Ship industry.

New Cardington is famed for being the home of the R101, the largest Airship in the world. In 1916, the Short Brothers Engineering Company was awarded a contract to build two large airships the R101 and R102. The two vast sheds where the airships were built and housed -812 ft in lengthy and towering to 157ft in height remain as dominant structures on the landscape to this day.

Tragically in 1930, the R101 crashed outside Paris killing many of its passengers, the accident resulting in the demise of airship travel.

Commenting on the installation of the Red plaque, Bellway’s Managing Director Stuart Wallace, said:

“The restoration and preservation of the Shorts Building was an extremely important part of our residential scheme for New Cardington and we are extremely proud to be marking the buildings significance in what was at the time the fledgling aero industry.” 

The Shorts Building was originally constructed by the Shorts Brothers in 1917 as a design office for their Airship Industry.  With the demise of the airship industry, the site became an RAF Barrage Balloon Training Unit until 1945 and remained an RAF training centre until its closure in 2000 when it fell into dereliction.

Works commenced in 2010 on the sympathetic renovation of the Building to return it to its former glory. The renovation of the Shorts Building has provided 20 apartments for private sale and public facilities including occupation by Eastcotts Children’s Centre, a public Common Hall and community meeting rooms.

The Common Hall is the focal point of the building and boasts a display of 17 historic photos detailing the history of the Shorts Building and its most famous creation, the R101 airship.

As a mark of remembrance, a new Village Centre has been constructed around the Shorts Building and has been named after the crash site of the R101, Beauvais Square. There are continuing works to bring a new school and Doctor’s Surgery to complete the Village Centre which will form a new focal point for existing and new residents in the area.

For more information please call the sales centre Tel 0845 676 0258.