New exhibit at Higgins Bedford explores our fascination with airships Bedford News

A new exhibit looks at Bedford’s relationship with the British airship industry, including Cardington Hangars and the R101.

It was commissioned by Bedford Creative Arts (BCA) in partnership with The Higgins Bedford and the Airship Heritage Trust (AHT) – and is part of Airship Dreams, a project exploring Bedford’s identity as a historic center of the industry British airships, past and present.

The R101 flying over Bedford seen from Silver Street

Artist Mike Stubbs, who grew up in Bedford, with collaborator Dave Lynch, led a weeklong workshop at Bedford Library in 2019. They invited locals to share their stories and experiences about Cardington and airships, directly inspiring the work.

Den Burchmore, a resident of Bedfordshire, worked at RAF Cardington Camp and was the curator of the Airship Heritage Trust collection.

And Mike captured Den’s story – with students from Bedford College animating snippets of his oral history as part of the exhibit.

Museum audiences will experience an audiovisual work and a newly composed symphony that rises and falls as a metaphor for the life of the R101 airship.

Artist Mike Stubbs

By the 1920s the airship was seen as the future of aviation and Bedford’s role as the UK’s world airship hub seemed certain.

The giants Cardington Sheds housed the R101, which at the time was the largest airship under development.

However, Air Minister Lord Thomson decided that the airship should sail before it was fully ready and on October 4, 1930, the R101 crashed en route to Karachi.

Forty-eight men are dead, including Lord Thomson. It was the end of the UK airship program and Bedford’s airship dreams.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-21 16:29:56

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