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Arts | By Huon Mallalileu | July 2017

Blue Sky Thinking: the Short Brothers Airships; and Romance and Rebellion: The Art of the Victorians

The Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford, to 17th September This year marks the centenary of airships being built for the Admiralty in far-from-the-sea Bedfordshire. The Short Brothers, Eustace, Oswald and Horace, had begun building balloons in 1897, before turning to aircraft, so they had the relevant experience for dirigible airships. They started building the first, the R 31, at the Cardington sheds in 1917, and they also built a village for their workers, which lives on today as Shortstown. This branch of the Shorts’ business was nationalised in 1919. The exhibition also tells us of the Zeppelin airship raids during the First World War and the impact of early airships on Bedfordshire and the wide world. The second summer exhibition drawn from the Higgins Art Gallery’s own Collection is a romp through Victorian art. Cecil Higgins was a philanthropic local brewer who left his collections of ceramics, glass and works of...

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