Photos remember 90 years since R100’s maiden overseas voyage

R100 on the Cardington Mast upon its return from Canada.
R100 on the Cardington Mast upon its return from Canada.

On this day (29 July) 90 years ago, the R100 airship set off from Cardington Sheds, Bedford, to embark on its first Transatlantic flight to Canada.

To commemorate this important step in aviation history Bedford Creative Arts (BCA), the Airship Heritage Trust, and The Higgins Bedford are releasing a series of images.

On July 29 1930, the R100 set off from Cardington Sheds, Bedford, to embark on its first Transatlantic flight to Canada.

The airship arrived in Montreal 78 hours later, staying in the city for twelve days. It was estimated at the time that over 100,000 people each day came to see it moored there.

While the images will give an insight into what the voyage was like, it also serves as a preview to a new exhibition.

‘Airship Dreams’, in collaboration with award-winning artist Mike Stubbs will be a community-sourced exhibition opening at The Higgins Bedford in 2021.

“We want you to ‘unbox’ those items tucked away in your shed and loft, share your photos, talk to us about your memories and show us your airship-inspired creations,” said a spokesperson for the project.

“Perhaps your grandparents have memories of the Cardington Sheds they could share with you during your online family chats or whilst on your ‘socially distanced’ daily walk?

“We are asking all those curious about the huge sheds that dominate our Bedfordshire skyline to get involved.

“There will be many fun activities to take part in throughout the project, as well as an opportunity to learn from our experts at Airship Heritage Trust and The Higgins Bedford about the history of the local area.”

You can find out how to take part in the community-sourced exhibition at

BCA will also be offering opportunities to get creative through a series of activities you can do in your own home.

This includes creating animations of your own airship flight in your living room. You will the be able to share your creations with others across social media.

The 90th Anniversary of the final flight of the R101, the largest airship built in the UK, will also be remembered on 4 October.

The exhibition is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and Harpur Trust.

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