The SHORT BROTHERS, Horace, Eustace and Oswald were true aviation pioneers and made many highly significant contributions to UK and modern world-wide aviation and yet the importance of their pioneering work and their innovations in the design and manufacture of early aircraft and the impact of these innovations on modern aviation is not widely recognised.
The Brothers set up the worlds' first aeroplane factory at Shellbeach on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent in 1909 and started production with a licence from the Wright Brothers to build six Wright 'Flyers' and their own Short No.2 aeroplane. These aircraft were all bought by The Aero Club members e.g. The Hon. Chrales Rolls; Frank McClean; Griffith Brewer et al.
The famous aviator and aeroplane manufacturer C.F. Fairey wrote of Horace Short....
"I joined Messrs Short Brothers. Here I had the privilege of working with the greatest engineer I have ever met, the late Mr. Horace Short."
J. Lankester Parker, one-time Chief Test Pilot and later Company director, wrote of Oswald Short.....
"The contribution made by Oswald Short to the technical side of aviation is, I think, far greater than is generally realised and in my view he has never received the rightful tribute for his imaginative and practical work in this connection."
Oswald feared this lack of awareness of the important role Short Brothers played with their contributions to aviation. This fear is, even now, reflected in the shocking state of their graves. They are in such a poor condition and almost unmarked in terms of their importance to our heritage. They are three national monuments.
Oswald's grave has been restored at Lynchmere Burial Ground. Funds are still needed to restore the graves of Horace and Eustace, together with family members, at Hampstead Cemetery, London.
The installation of stainless steel plaques on each grave has given investigators the information and the help needed for them recognise the importance of these remarkable brothers, highlighting the enormous contribution they made to aviation.
The main outcome of our Project would be the raising of awareness and provision of free access to information hitherto 'buried'. We are bringing together the myriad strands of ‘stories’ from SHORTS BOYS - the men women and boys employed by Shorts into a coherent 'SHORT' STORY told on this website and so engage aviation heritage researchers, from school age to old age, with the materials and knowledge needed to place the Brothers in their true position in aviation history.
We have set up this website to give not only many details of the Short Brothers that are not too well known but include a geo-trail and an e-trail for online researchers.
There will be an overlap of the two trails and they can be ‘picked’ for information. The website will be shared with our transport heritage site ‘partners’ who will be listed .
Leaflets and information packs have been placed in Kent libraries, archive and information centres.
A special offer will be made to all Kent schools of a cost-price copy of the new book and is available for others on request using the details in the green box on this page.
A new book by Liz Walker...
The long-awaited new biographical book about the three Brothers has now been printed and is available to buy for £12.50
at Muswell Manor
at Eastchurch Aviatrion Museum
by post (£12.50 + p&p) via the email address below
The planting of the two memorial plaques took place at Hampstead Cemetery on September 29th 2017.
The event was attended by Liz and Barrie Walker, the grand daughters and great grandaughters of Horace and Alan Smith from Australia.
A SHORT talk (Thursday evening) and exhibition at THE HIGGINS, Bedford from Thurs. 17 May - Sunday 20th May
A talk and display to the AEG group of engineers at the Shuttelworth Collection
An Aviation heritage group meeting at Portsmouth University
For details contact us by email...