Historical places, airship, Bedfordshire local history, airships, national heritage sites, historic preservation, attractions in the UK, heritage sites in the UK, historical monuments, historical landmarks, tourist attractions in the UK, places in UK to visit, tourist in England, historical tourism, R101 and R100 airships.

Shortstown Heritage

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Welcome to the Shortstown Heritage website. This site was set up in 2009 to celebrate our extraordinary past. Shortstown near Bedford was built in 1917 for the Short brothers to house workers on their airships originally intended to be used in the First World War. The houses still standing today were opposite the airship construction site. Work was halted on all airships following the crash of the R38 in 1921 and revived in 1925 when work began on the famous R101 airship. A little known fact is that sixteen of the crew who died in the R101 crash had lived in Shortstown.

April 2016 Updates

Here in Shortstown everyone is looking forward to a first glimpse of the Airlander 10 in flight as it is set to leave shed no 1 any day now. A new page has been set up in the Topic section for the Airlander and we will keep updating the page as and when the aircraft surfaces.
Gateway Funding Appeal Progress.

Our appeal now stands at £1,209. Our next fundraiser is a Table Top Sale in Shortstown village hall on April 30th.
We are pleased to announce that we are now selling sets of four notelets featuring iconic Shortstown scenes. These images were kindly produced by the Bedford Arts Society and we are extremely grateful for their support. The notelets cost £2.99 per set plus £1.25 postage and packing. Details can be found on the notelet page in the Gateway section.

Final centenary copy LT

Shortstown will be celebrating its centenary year in 2017 plans are already taking place to make this a very special year.


Emblem of the Royal Airship Works


The R101 Airship - many of the crew and design staff lived in Shortstown.

PF Men opening shed doors

Opening the doors of one of the sheds 1930's

Absolute final sheds Jan 2016

The two giant sheds in Jan 2016 - shed no 1 (left) now fully restored.

RAF Cardington1

RAF Cardington played a huge role in our history. The knowledge and experience gained through the airship years was not lost and research continued in balloon development. In 1936 the site became RAF Cardington.
For more about RAF Cardington visit the RAF section in this website for background information or visit our sister site www.rafcardingtoncamp.co.uk for more in-depth research.

Liz Walker Shorts Avenue Nov 2015 (2)

Liz Walker a great great niece of the Short Brothers visits Shortstown in Nov 2015.

Eustace Short
Hugh Oswald LW

Founders of Shortstown - Eustace (left) and Oswald Short

Shor thing 2

The Shorts Building restored to its former glory in 2011

Potter Meadows

Left is Sgt Walter Potter a survivor of the R38 airship crash who lived in Shortstown. Walter lost his life in the R101 crash. In June 2015 Potter Meadows in Shortstown was named in his honour.

Potter 2

Sgt Walter Potter

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