This new exhibition traces the amazing feats of the very first aviator – a sheep called “Montauciel” who ascended in the Montgolfier Brothers hot air balloon in 1783 – to the mighty World War One “Zeppelin” airship bombers and the effects this new form of warfare had on civilian popultions. It traces the development of airships through to the 1920’s and 1930’s which ended in spectacular disasters due to the use of inflammable hydrogen gas.
With the advent of the First World War, Britain came under air attack for the first time in history, as German airships bombed Britain from the air. Through original archive sound and film recordings, plus unique original material and artefacts from the Museum’s extensive archives, we look at the history of this new terror weapon, the panic created amongst the British public; the innovative ideas to counter the threat, as well as the people involved in defending Britain against them.
The exhibition also considers the fast moving technology during wartime which developed to counter the threat, before the mighty airships were finally defeated.
After World War One, we look at the super-airship developments in Britain and Germany – their successes and their dramatic accidents which ultimately marked the end of hydrogen airships as a developing technology.
Opened on March 15th by Dr Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, the Museum is very grateful to The National Lottery/HLF for it’s support in the creation of this exhibition which allows the Museum’s unique exhibits of this period to be displayed publically for the first time.
After visiting the exhibition, do visit the Eastchurch Kitten and SE.5A biplanes in our Aircraft Collection – two early examples of interceptor aircraft developed to combat the “new threat from the air”.