Just outside Bedford in England are the Cardington Airship Sheds, which have been around since the early 20th century. These buildings are quite enormous and are still in use today.

These sheds have been part of some interesting developments in history. What is amazing is that they are once again in use today with a more modern airship.

Cardington And The R100 And R101

Britain’s large airships were designated the R100 and R101 with the first flying in December 1929. In 1930, the R100 made a trip to Canada with the journey from Cardington to Quebec taking 78 hours. This was far faster than travelling by sea.

Unfortunately the other airship, the R101, crashed on its maiden voyage to India with the loss of 48 people. At that time, Britain decided to get out of the airship business and the R100 was broken up for scrap.

How Big Are The Sheds?

It is difficult to see just how large the sheds are. The R101 was 223 metres in length and could fit inside one of the sheds so it gives you some idea of how large they are.

When it comes to height, they are 52 metres tall which means they dominate the landscape in the area. Cars and people look very small against the hangars.


The sheds are currently used by Hybrid Air Vehicles and their Airlander 10 airship. This is the largest vehicle flying today, with a length of 92 metres, height of 26 metres and a wingspan of 43.5 metres.

During 2017, Airlander has been undergoing flight testing. Unfortunately, the airship was damaged in November when it broke from its moorings and automatically deflated. It is presenting being reconstructed.

Overall Thoughts

It would have been very interesting to live during the age of the airships, with the Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg travelling across the Atlantic between Europe and the United States.

Of course, the Hindenburg disaster saw the end of the airship as a means of transport and nowadays we all travel by aircraft instead. I wonder what will happen in the future with the Airlander.

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Airlander image by Philbobagshot via Wikimedia Commons.
R101 image by the British National Archives via Wikimedia Commons.