Naval and Civil Aviation at Windermere from 1909 to 1919 – event

SUMMER EVENING EVENT 

Naval and Civil Aviation at Windermere from 1909 to 1919

 

Unlikely though it might seem in an area known for its mountains, the Lake District and, particularly, Windermere has a proud aviation heritage which stretched through some thirty six years until the departure of the last Windermere-built Shorts Sunderland flying boat in 1945.  Windermere’s story of aviation started when two friends, Edward Wakefield, a lawyer, land owner and three-time Mayor of Kendal and Oscar Gnosspelius, a talented engineer and local resident, attended an air show at Blackpool in 1909. Having witnessed that flying is potentially hazardous, they pondered the possibility of flying from water, which would provide a softer landing in the event of mishap! Such an idea was ridiculed by the experts at Blackpool, but Wakefield and Gnosspelius were undeterred and returned home to the Lake District to put their ideas into practice. Both achieved success, with Edward Wakefield’s “Waterbird” taking the honours on 25 November 1911.

 

On the evening of Thursday 30 July, Lancaster Military Heritage Group will present an illustrated talk by Waterbird Project Director Ian Gee. Ian will show that Windermere was the birthplace of British naval and civil marine aeroplanes and his talk will explain the origin of the concept of flying from water, through to its achievement, and then the detail of aviation activities at Windermere, including the establishment of a Royal Naval Air Station. Also covered is the story behind the replica of Waterbird, which is programmed to fly from the lake in September. The audience will hear that there was considerable opposition to flying at Windermere, led by Beatrix Potter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, a founder of the National Trust.

 

The venue for this summer evening talk is a delightful location on the shores of Windermere, virtually next door to Hill of Oaks, the very place from which Waterbird taxied out to make that historic flight in 1911.

 

Venue: The Boathouse Cafe, National Trust – Fell Foot Park, on A592 near Newby Bridge, LA12 8NN (near the southern tip of Windermere lake).

Date and Time: Thursday, 30 July 2015, starting with buffet supper at 7.00 p.m.

Tickets: £10 including buffet supper. Booking essential. Order tickets from Adrian Legge – adrian.legge@hotmail.com 

(or text 07970 45 90 30 or call 01539 44 52 52)

Parking: in upper car park – free of charge. Disabled parking immediately outside Boathouse Cafe (wheelchair access)

Further information: please contact Adrian Legge.

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