This summer I happened to holiday, among many other places, in Kent. My two children had resolved a few years ago to ruin their father financially by exploring a passion for horses. It was for this reason that I happened to be in Kent - my children were enrolled in a week-long residential at Standford Hill Equestrian on the Isle of Sheppey. Having enjoyed the supreme calm that can only be afforded by the absence of one’s noisy children, my wife and I returned to collect Lucas and Ella on the final day of their camp. Too early, as it turned out.
Trying to fill the hours before my children were to be released back into my care, we took a walk down the road. No more than one hundred metres into our journey, we came across the Eastchurch Aviation museum - a small, unassuming building set back from the dirt road. In we went. Well, were we in for a surprise.
The elderly gentleman running the one room museum was already explaining a story of how the Wright brothers had visited the area on May 4th 1909 to look upon a workspace that had been given the contract to produce six Wright Flyers. The company awarded the contract was Short Brothers - already a well known name in British aviation. Arriving at Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey, the Wright Brothers issued from a Silver Ghost Rolls Royce driven by none other than Charles Rolls himself. The Wright Brothers were Impressed with what they saw. As was Charles Rolls, who asked to purchase a Wright Flyer in order that he might learn to fly. Rolls later rented a hill (who knew that was something one could do) and learned how to fly. That hill was Standford Hill, where our children were learning to drain their parents of money.
Dr. Elliott L. Watson
Co-Editor of Versus History