Avro flying school at Shoreham Aerodrome, c1914

This postcard shows an aeroplane and two sheds occupied by the Avro flying school at Shoreham Aerodrome. The aerodrome was on the site of today’s Brighton City Airport, more commonly known as Shoreham Airport.


In 1910 a pilot named Harold Hume Piffard used a plot of grazing land in Shoreham to conduct a series of short hops in a Boxkite plane named Hummingbird. After he gave up flying, other aviators began to use the site. On 20 June 1911 the Shoreham Aerodrome was officially opened.

Before WW1, hangars were known as ‘sheds’. Six to ten sheds and a grandstand where constructed for the Circuit of Europe and Round Britain Air Races in that year.

Several of these sheds were acquired by the A V Roe company (Avro) after receiving an order for four of the company’s Type E biplanes in 1912 from the War Office. With the prospect of further orders, the company needed to free up space in their premises at Brooklands in Surrey by moving its flight school to Shoreham.


The aircraft in front of the sheds is an Avro Type D biplane. The first of these aircraft were built at Brooklands during March 1911 and first flown on 11 April that year.

The main body of the aircraft (the fuselage) consisted of two separate halves of triangular girders made from ash. The two halves where bolted together behind a cockpit that could seat a pilot and one passenger.

The aircraft was steered by a technique known as ‘wing warping’, which relied on cables and pulleys to twist the edges of the wings to achieve control.  Seven of these planes were built, each powered by a different type of engine.

Charles Paddick, Collections Assistant


  1. Looks like the man standing in the middle of photograph could be Cecil Pashley. A flying instructor for many years at Shoreham.

    1. An interesting idea. at the time he would have been 23. In 1913 he helped set up the Shoreham Flying School, one of many flying schools at the aerodrome during the pre grate war years. It is a little difficult to know for certain whether it is definitely him in the photograph. I did attempt to identify the person in the cockpit, who could possibly be Mr George Lusted. He later flew passenger flights for the Daily Mail.

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