The demolition of the EKCO complex began in March 2008 – a casualty of the changes in law on tax on empty buildings. The site was fenced off as the Kent-based company Downright Demolition Ltd started a nine-month contract to raze the buildings to the ground, and it was while this was going on in May that I arranged through their head office for Chris Poole, an ex-employee of the company, and myself to have free access to the EKCO air raid shelters some 20-25 feet underground.
On the morning of 2 July, 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, took off from Lae, New Guinea, on one of the last legs in their historic attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Their next destination was Howland Island in the central Pacific Ocean, some 2,500 miles away. A U.S. Coast Guard cutter, the Itasca, waited there to guide the world-famous aviator in for a landing on the tiny, uninhabited coral atoll. But Earhart never arrived on Howland Island. Battling o
The 1929 stock market crash and ensuing worldwide depression, coupled with more stringent safety regulations, caused many of the flying circuses and barnstorming circuits to fold. During the decade, options for women pilots in the United States and Europe were limited mainly to sales, marketing, racing and barnstorming and being an instructor pilot. In 1930, Ellen Church, a licenced airplane pilot and nurse, who was unable to secure work flying proposed to airline executives
U.S. Army Air Force Glider Aerial Retrieval System in the Second World War. Military gliders have been used by the militaries of various countries for carrying glider infantry troops and heavy equipment to a combat zone, mainly during the Second World War. These engineless aircraft were towed into the air and most of the way to their target by military transport planes, e.g., the Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota, or bombers such as the Short Stirling, which were relegated to s
London Southend Airport (LSA) passenger terminal closed its doors in November 2020 for the second lockdown. Most airlines had already suspended or cancelled flights at the start of the month due to the restrictions imposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stop the spread of Covid-19. Many of its staff remained on furlough due to the challenging economic times. LSA had already reduced the number of cargo flights it handled each night following a campaign from the local commu
Every publishing company acquires its books from similar sources, such as literary agents, direct commissions from editors to authors and, occasionally, from unsolicited proposals taken from what is known unceremoniously as the ‘slush pile’. The commissioning editor finds a book from among his or her regular weekly reading, and makes a case for taking on a book at an ‘acquisitions meeting’, which is attended by all the other departments directly involved in publishing the boo
On 20 August, 1920, the United States opened its first coast-to-coast airmail delivery route (the Transcontinental Air Mail route), just 60 years after the Pony Express closed up shop. There were no good aviation charts in those days, so pilots had to eyeball their way across the country using landmarks. This meant that flying in bad weather was difficult, and night flying was just about impossible. The Postal Service solved the problem with the world’s first ground-based civ