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

SHORT BROTHERS - Aviation Pioneers

All the information on this page has been supplied by Liz Walker a great, great niece of the three brothers. Liz has begun a project to bring more recognition of the brother's achievements to the public eye.

In 1893 two brothers strained their necks from the roof of 15 Friar Gate, Derby..

“Breathlessly we scrambled up through the skylight on to the roof of our house in Friar Gate, from whence we trained a telescope on to a coal-gas balloon and watched every movement...................... This man had the world to himself – what a tremendous adventure waited for him who possessed such a balloon. The imagination of Jules Verne could not improve upon it” - Oswald writing in later years and giving an insight into his famous future.

Oswald and Eustace worked for a year on the theory and construction of balloons before Eustace went to Mexico to bring back their brother Horace – the wanderer, following the death of their father Samuel and subsequent pecuniary difficulties.

In 1898 Eustace and Oswald used five hundred pounds (from Horace) to buy a coal and coke business in New Maldon, South London. They bought a second hand coal gas balloon. 1901 saw the two brothers building their first balloon.

By 1903 they were selling balloons to the Indian Government, The Hon. Charles S. Rolls (of Rolls Royce fame) and other members of the Aero Club (later becoming The Royal Aero Club). They gave penny rides and balloon displays at county shows and galas (e.g. York 1905).

In 1908 Horace joined them and the world’s first aeronautical production line was established at Leysdown in Kent. This was the start of SHORT BROTHERS as pioneers and innovators in the design and assembly of powered aeroplanes. Their name lives on to this day in Belfast as Bombardier (Shorts) Ltd.

Short group lw
Short group names LW

2015 PROJECT – Restoration of Their Rightful Place in Aviation History

I am the great, great niece of the three brothers and have been on their ‘trail’ using material handed down by my mother Margaret Addie Short to explore our family history. I have found that the Shorts are far from being nationally and internationally recognised sufficiently for their pioneering work and achievements in aviation over many years at the turn of the 19th Century and through the two World Wars.

The Aims of The Project

Short Graves collage (2)

The graves of Oswald, Albert and Eustace in their current state.

To restore the Short Brothers graves at Hampstead Cemetery, London and Lynchmere Burial Ground in West Sussex.

To bring to the world aviation resources, unique to the Short Brothers, for schools, libraries and individuals through a website, blog, DVD and printed material.

To create a Short Brothers ‘Locations Trail’ with online leads to the wealth of material available and specific sites of interest.




Donations to this project and access to a wealth of further information about The SHORT BROTHERS can be made by contacting me at :

Elizabeth Walker. My email address is liz.m.walker@gmail.com

You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.

Get Flash Player