Historical places, airship, Bedfordshire local history, airships, national heritage sites, historic preservation, attractions in the UK, heritage sites in the UK, historical monuments, historical landmarks, tourist attractions in the UK, places in UK to visit, tourist in England, historical tourism, R101 and R100 airships.

Shortstown Heritage

"Made in Cardington"

Now for a bit of fun!
I have heard many tales of items that were clandestinely made on the camp over the years do you have any pictures or stories of anything made? To get the ball rolling here are a few snippets picked up whilst researching.....

"Between the wars many women from Wilshamstead worked in Cardington hangers on the airships. The task they were doing was called doping which involved covering the linen with a chemical that produced the silver colouring on the airships. A number of people recalled how this particular fabric made wonderful curtains for the home. However, when an audit enquiry was held an inspector went out to make house to house calls. The appearance of the village changed overnight as all the houses removed their curtains for fear of being caught. Supposedly, department store Braggins in Bedford sold out of curtains that weekend!

(This story is taken from Wilshamstead Homestead of Friends by Christine Papworth and Gessie Della Ripa from their collection of personal memories of the people they interviewed- thank you ladies!)

"I remember my father bringing home parachutes (he worked for the Air Ministry) and my mother would make clothes for us - father also made us shoes by plaiting rope (bright red and orange) and used the material from barrage balloons cut into strips and sewn to make straps to fasten them. We thought they were lovely and now in 2004 I still have some of this coloured rope!'

Sylvia Baker (nee Roberts) Clapham, Bedford (Taken from BBC Archives)

" Most homes had various items of precision engineering from fire grates/pokers/fenders to other items of home hardware. Silvery covered fabric made and covered kids canoes or made superb weather proof cycle covers. Items were truly ‘Made in Britain’ in fact ‘Made in Cardington/Bedford’. Anything you needed at home was made there – (unofficially!)"

Colin Crane Cardington Rd, Bedfrod (Taken from BBC archives)

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