Aviation History

Vacations for Aviation Enthusiasts

"The birthplace and cradle of British aviation"

Muswell Manor is a 16th Century Grade II listed building steeped in unique early aviation history. It was the First headquarters of the UK Aero Club, The Short Brothers constructed their first factory on adjacent land and the first recorded flight/circular mile in Britain was made here by JTC Brabazon in 1909. A commemorative exhibition of these events and connected famous aviators is displayed in our Bar.

It has always played an important part in the history of Leysdown, none so as in 1909 (then known as Mussel Manor) the Short Brothers, who will be remembered for their historic links with the Medway Towns, and constructed their first aircraft here namely the Wright "Flyers". At the same time, the Manor was being used as the headquarters of the Aero Club of the United Kingdom and was visited by many distinguished pioneer aviators such as C.S. Rolls, J.T.C. Brabazon, the Wright Brothers and Frank McClean. In 1909, the first recognised flight by an Englishman and the first circular mile in Britiain was flown from here, both by J.T.C. Brabazon. An exhibition of these events and biographical details of the main personnel involved is displayed in the Bar.The Manor
house hosts many functions, from History Societies' and Aviation Associations' meetings to Business seminars and celebration parties.

British aviation’s historic events which happened at Muswell (mussel manor) some recorded in the Guiness book of records.

In February 1909 the first British aerodrome was here on the land of Mussel Manor. Official in the Guinness Book of Aircrafts on p83

Worlds first Aeroplane factory was adjacent to Mussel Manor Shellness in the Guinness Book of Aircraft p83.

Mussell manor became the aero club for the aviation pioneers. In the Guinness Book of Aircraft p79.

Wright brothers gave the short brothers the rights to build their aircrafts in this country. The short brothers and their colleagues decided that mussel manor isle on the Isle of Sheppey, Shellness, in Kent would be the first to have a factory building aircrafts in the world February 1909 as in the Guinness Book of Aircraft p83.

Orville & Wilbur Wright visited England, Shellness Leysdown on the 4th may 1909 driven here by Charles Rolls in his silver ghost car. They were extremely impressed by the progress of the worlds first factory. They had lunch in the Aero club and had the only photograph taken outside Mussel Manor along side all of the other important aviators. Officially recorded in the flight magazine. This picture is on the walls.

2nd may 1909 Moore-Bradazon was the first British man to fly in a British built aircraft called the bird of passage. He flew 500yds, & height was 40/50 feet here on the grounds of mussel manor, p84 in the Guinness Book of Records of Aircraft.

The first official pilots certificate No1 license was given to Moore-Brabazon in recognision of the above. Issued this in 1909 but awarded in 1910 by Mussel Manor Aero Club. In the guiness Book of Aircraft p84

On the 30th October 1909 recorded in the Guinness Book of Aircraft p84 in a Short/Wright flyer costing £1,500 built in the factory and flown from the grounds of Mussel Manor, John Moore Brabazon was to be the first English man in a British built aeroplane to fly a circular mile. The daily mirror awarded the prize money of £1000 & this story was covered by Charlie hands. All the information and pictures of this important event are on the walls here.

On the 5th November 1909 Lord Brabazon christened a pig Icrus the 11 & they flew from the grounds here to stop the worlds famous phrase “pigs might fly” he took the baby pig up in a basket & said “now pigs do fly”. Officially recorded on p87 in the Guinness Book of Records.

They built two aeroplanes & named them after the manor, mussel1 & 11. Eustace short learnt to fly the first two seater sea aircraft which was also used for experiments. The modified mussel ii was primarily developed twin float sea-plane, & was made of part metal, & was used for testing their theories. Unfortunately on the 8th April 1932 whilst landing in mussel 11 he had a heart attack & died. Pictures and information on all of the historic aviation events are all recorded and on the walls of the bar at Muswell/Mussel Manor.