Wright Brothers Type A aeroplane on its launching rail, Sheppey, Kent, c 1910.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
In 1909 Short Brothers, the famous British aircraft manufacturers, acquired a contract to build aeroplanes to the design developed by Orville and Wilbur Wright. Their testing and building of the machines was carried out at initially at Leysdown, then at Eastchurch, both on the Isle of Sheppey, before the company moved to new premises at Rochester in 1914. The Wright Brothers visited the Shorts airfield at Leysdown in May 1909, travelling there in the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost of C S Rolls, himself a noted early aviation enthusiast.