Britain’s first aeroplane manufacturers commemorated with blue plaque outside Battersea workshop


The plaque is the last in South West London until the scheme relaunches.


By Sean Conner, Hannah Stubbs, Tom Powell and Alice Todman

Workers are celebrating last week’s arrival of a blue plaque commemorating Britain’s first aeroplane manufacturers in Battersea.

Horace, Eustace and Oswald Short were honoured with a blue plaque, erected outside the site of their workshop, under the railway arches by Queen’s Circus.

The plaque is South West London’s last arrival until the English Heritage scheme re-launches in association with the Evening Standard under new funding next year.

Phil Brennan, co-owner of the neighbouring CrossFit Gym, said: “We are trying to build up humans and they were trying to build up planes.

“We do get a feel for the history, we can still see the curve of the old brickwork, I love it.”

The English Heritage scheme was suspended this January after government funding cuts of 34%.

Mr Brennan said that the cuts are ‘rubbish’, because people who don’t know about history rely on the blue plaque scheme to keep them in the know.

“The Short brothers were among the most outstanding British pioneers of air travel,” said Howard Spencer, Historian for the English Heritage Blue Plaques team.

“It is excellent to be able to commemorate them in Battersea, where their formal business partnership began, and where their first heavier-than-air machine was made.”

The plaque was unveiled by Jenny Body OBE, the first female President of the Royal Aeronautical Society, at 2pm on Tuesday September 17.

Ms Body told English Heritage: “Whilst aerospace is at the cutting edge of technology and innovation, it is built on a foundation of great heritage going back to the pioneers of aviation like the Short Brothers.”

The Short brothers lived nearby, with their mother Emma, in Prince of Wales Mansions.

The homes of David Lloyd George, William Wilberforce and George Eliot are all commemorated by blue plaques in South West London.

There are a total of 882 of the plaques in London, with each one costing around £4000.

Photo courtesy of kenjonbro, with thanks.

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