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Muswell Manor plaque unveiled in Leysdown in honour of Island aviation pioneers by the Transport Trust

By Hayley Robinson

A plaque which shows a holiday park’s ties to Sheppey’s aviation past has been unveiled.

The Red Wheel now takes pride of place at the front door of Muswell Manor.

It was awarded by the Transport Trust as part of an initiative to mark sites of special historic interest in the development of British transport.

Terry and Sharon Munns, owners of Muswell Manor, Mayor and Mayoresss of Swale, Cllr George and Brenda Bobbin, Liz Walker, Stephen Robson of Charles Memorial Trust and Stuart Wilkinson, Trust Chairman of The Transport Trust at the unveiling of the plaque

The 16th century grade II listed building in Shellness Road, Leysdown, which used to be known as Mussel Manor, is where the Short brothers Eustace, Horace and Oswald, built their first factory and constructed their first aircraft in 1909.

In the same year, the first recognised flight by an Englishman and the first circular mile in Britain was flown from the site by JTC Brabazon.

The manor was also the headquarters of aviation organisation the Aero Club, and was visited by flight pioneers such as CS Rolls, the Wright brothers and Frank McClean.

The Short brothers’ great-great-niece, Liz Walker, and her husband, Barrie, who are members of the trust and applied for the award, were at the manor on Saturday to see the plaque go on show.

Also in attendance were site owners Sharon and Terry Munns, Mayor of Swale Cllr George Bobbin and his wife Brenda, trust chairman Stuart Willkinson and Stephen Robson of the Charles Rolls Memorial Trust.

Mrs Walker, of Buxton, Derbyshire, said: “It means a lot to me. They were working class from mining backgrounds – ordinary people who were engineers and inventors against all the odds.”

Mrs Munns said: “I’m very pleased. It’s recognition of the importance of the building and the surrounding land.”

Last year a sculpture of the brothers was unveiled outside holiday park’s the front gates.

Learn more about the Transport Trust at www.transporttrust.com.

For more about Muswell Manor, call 01795 510245 or see www.muswellmanor.co.uk.

Long distant relatives of the Short Brothers are asked to email liz.m.walker@gmail.com.

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