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You are here: Home Page / Exhibitions-1 / Past Exhibitions / Airships at Cardington 2010

Airships at Cardington 2010

Airships at Cardington Exhibition Image of R101 at Cardington

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R100 & R101: Airships at Cardington

2nd October - 19th December 2010


The exhibition coincided with the 80th anniversary of the R101 disaster and was  organised with the support of the Airship Heritage Trust.


R100 & R101 Airships Blue by Paul CatherallIt charted the story of how a small village two miles from Bedford became the country’s major airship centre. Starting with the building of the huge airship sheds at Cardington and the village of Shortstown, it then explored the government’s grand plans for long-distance airship travel across the British Empire. Film, photographs and objects brought to life the construction of the R100 and R101, the stories of the staff and crew and the R101’s final fateful flight to India in October 1930.


The exhibition included a wide variety of objects on loan from museums and private collections, on display together for the first time in Bedford. Personal belongings, unique documents and objects - including a passenger bunk bed from the R100 - showed what life was like on board these giants of the sky, designed to be "floating hotels".


The Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “Cardington is of course famous for its connections with the airship industry. The iconic sheds, which housed the R100 and R101 airships, are visible for miles around, and are striking reminders of this significant feature of Bedford’s history.”


A limited linocut by Paul Catherall was commissioned by Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the R101 disaster. (pictured)


R100 and R101: Airships at Cardington is supported by the Airship Heritage Trust.

The Airship Heritage Trust was set up in 1985 by a group of dedicated enthusiasts and relatives of the original crew members. Over the last few years, from its humble beginnings, the Trust has grown and worked very hard to where it is today, with its membership of over 300 worldwide.