Eastchurch Aviation Shrine

Creating representations of aircraft in stone is very difficult to do effectively, something about the lightness of early aviation and the sharp edges of most aircraft often does not translate well to stone. The Memorial to ‘The Home of Aviation’, at Eastchurch, Kent, UK, is a fascinating effort.


Image: Eastchurch aviation memorial. Copyright Historic England Archive, DP177807.

A grade II* listed memorial, it relates to some remarkable early aviation in this part of the UK, part of an excellent list by ‘Heritage Calling’ an historic England blog, here. The blog says:

“An Aero Club was founded near here in 1901 by Frank Hedges Butler, Vera Butler and Charles Rolls (the latter of Rolls Royce). In the short period before the First World War, much of Britain’s early success in heavier-than-air flight can be attributed to the club, which in 1910 became the Royal Aero Club. In November 1910 the Club offered free flying instruction for Royal Navy officers; when the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was formed on 13 April 1912, Eastchurch became the Headquarters of the RFC Naval Wing.”

Unveiled in 1955, by the Lord Tedder, the Wiki page describes it as follows:

“The memorial was designed by the Kent county architect Sidney Loweth and comprises a curtain wall facing to the east faced with Portland stone, bearing allegorical sculptures and an frieze of early aircraft, sculpted by Hilary Stratton. It was constructed by G.E. Wallis and Sons of Maidstone…”

The Heritage England website provides full details, including the aircraft represented around Zeus in the centre a Short flying boat represented below. On the left: “Avro Triplane, the Cody 1, a De Havilland No 1 biplane, a Howard Wright 1909 biplane, the Dunne D.5 experimental biplane, a Bristol Aeroplane of 1911, a Handley Page Type E monoplane, and a Sopwith-Wright biplane.” While on the right “Short biplane, a Short seaplane, the Short Twin, a Short S38, a Short S27, the Short No2 (built for Moore Brabazon), and the Short No1 (built for McClean).”

Something a little different…

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

Image and blog here.

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