Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Cardington Hangers - Bedford - April 2011

The Cardington aircraft hangers (or more correctly termed as ‘sheds’) dominate the surrounding countryside landscape of Bedfordshire for miles where they can be spotted looming out from the horizon.

Shed no.1 was constructed in 1917 and no2 was completed a few years later in 1928, both hangers contain their own micro-climates and if you are lucky enough to find yourself inside one of these on a dry day out you may find it raining on the inside.

The front sliding doors weigh over 80 tonnes of metal each and the hangers in length extend to over 247m and rise to just over 59 metres, both sheds still remain the largest in Western Europe and could house 2 Wembley Stadiums with leftover space for a hooligan bar.

These sheds which were designed and built by hand required vast space to house an aircraft significantly large enough to compete with the monstrous Zepplins, so steel portal frames were used with pin joints to hold up the crown and all side walls of the structure.

The death count during their assembly remains vague however inevitably dozens did fall to their deaths during the construction period.

Hanger no.1 was home to the famous R101 which crashed on its maiden voyage in Beauvais, north of France killing dozens of passengers flying over to India.

3 images of the R101 at Cardington

You can just make out my 15 year old daughter to the left of the join in the doors, this gives you some idea of the scale of the place

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