Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life

1909-1914 Pre Airport

1909: Leigh-on-Sea V.F Forbes & A.J. Arnold built their unconventional single seat tractor monoplane. Successful flights were made of a scaled down model.  The real aircraft was made from bamboo the aircraft was fitted with a water cooled car engine it was reported that the aircraft made a few hops but never actually flew.

1909: The London Aeroplane Corporation & The Southend Corporation entered talks in to the opening of an aircraft manufacturing facility in the town, the project would have seen a number of large hangers and a runway being built costs of the project began to climb and in the end became so high that it was deemed to be too expensive and was scrapped.

Thursday 11th November 1909: Robert Macfie an American aviator of Scottish parents re-located his tractor monoplane from the airfield at South Fambridge to Maplin sands.

Sunday 28th November 1909: The War Office ordered Robert Macfie off the Maplin Sands, he re-located his aircraft to the Kursaal, it was to move on again to Paris.

June 1910: The Royal Aero Club approached Southend Corporation seeking sponsorship of £8000 to host the National Aviation Week the Corporation decided that it could not afford to cover the costs of the event.

Saturday 9th July 1910: The first true aeroplane flight in Southend.
Local aviator George Barnes made the first ever recorded flight from the borough. The flight was not from the site that has today become the town's airport, but Roots Hall Home of Southend United football Club. More than 2000 people some of whom gathered at the top of St Mary's church watched the flight, which was made in a Bleriot. The event was hampered by strong winds which affected the light aircraft a number of attempts were made but due the winds it was decided not to try to fly the aircraft. When the winds drop in the evening the aircraft was rolled into position and fired up its engine it got 50 yards off the ground and flew in to the next field before coming back down. The event was open to spectators who had to pay an entry fee to get in to the Football clubs ground, but because of the low height of the fence many people simply jumped over the fence. , Sadly a few weeks later Barnes was seriously injured when attempting another flight this time flying at Folkestone.

October 1910: Mr Stanton an American member of The Aerial League was touring the UK when he came to Southend and set about setting up the National Flying Club once again it failed due to lack of funds.

August 1912: Short S.14 Tractor seaplane visited Southend on coastal survey.

Friday 23rd August 1912: Claude Graham-white and several other pilots put on a flying demonstration in their new seaplanes.
White who was flying his Henri Farman Hydro-plane landed just West of the Pier he was joined by two other aviators who had flown from Margate in Kent, they arrived in Bleroit seaplanes. The same month saw a number of other Seaplanes visit the town including a Short S.14 Tractor on a Coastal Survey.

1914: Royal Flying Corps surveyed the Borough of Southend and list it as a Potential Landing Ground.

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