Much has been written and recorded about the R101 and it's subsequent crash and there are numerous websites for those wishing to find out more about the ship notably the Airship Heritage Trust. But the purpose of this site is to record the contribution and history of the people of Shortstown so will not include in depth details and technicalities of the ships.
In 1924 the government took the decision to revive the Airship programme and it was agreed to build two new airships - one would be government sponsored (the R101) and the other designed by the Private Sector (the R100). The R101 was to be designed at the Royal Airship Works at Cardington and the R100 at Howden by the Airship Guarantee Company headed by Barnes Wallis. The plan was for both ships ultimately to be based at Cardington to use the mooring mast so a second shed had to be built to house the R100. The shed at Pulham (a site previously used as an airship base) was dismantled and brought to Cardington to be re-assembled in 1926/7 and in the meantime shed no 1 was lengthened to accommodate the R101.
After the hard times of the First World War and the high unemployment in the following years the prospect of work was very welcome for Bedford with many hundreds of people finding work at the great sheds. It was envisaged that the airships would carry people on a commercial basis for long distances and that this would be the start of a great new industry for Britain.