1909 – 1917
Shellbeach / Muswell Manor: 1909 - 1910
Shellbeach / Muswell Manor Timeline: 1909
The early flights of their heavier-than-air machines…
Lessons were learnt and experiments continued with the pioneering zeal and attention to detail and the quality that Shorts were noted for throughout their years manufacturing aircraft.
A sign of the progress was when J.T.C. Moore Brabazon flew his Short No.2 and won the £IOOO Daily Mail prize for a mile closed circuit flight in a British aeroplane.
This 16th Century Grade Il listed building, now known as Muswell Manor, on Shellness Road, Leysdown on Sea, Isle of Sheppey, has had other names in the past — Muscle Manor and Mussel Manor.
The Manor was chosen by The Aero Club as their meeting place and was visited by many notable aeronauts during the time Shorts were producing aircraft nearby.
The adjacent ‘flying grounds’ were however, as flights became longer, quite restrictive. The area was originally chosen because it was well away from prying eyes and flat but the drainage and the ditches proved to be a real problem and eventually the flying gentry moved to Stone Pitts Farm at Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey and the Short factory very soon followed in 1910.
Today the Manor serves as the bar and reception for the adjoining caravan park but the present owners, Terry and Sharon Munns, have gone to great expense and trouble to make the place a ‘shrine’ to the Short brothers, aviation pioneers and the distinguished members of the Aero Club.
It is well worth a visit if you have an interest in aviation heritage and is to be found on Sheppey at the far eastern end just before the Shellness S.S.I. nature reserve.
The Wright brothers visited Mussel Manor and the Shellbeach works on 4th. May and this historical picture was taken outside the Aero Club meeting room door.