Call for Airship Stories and Artifacts for Exhibition in 2021

Airship Dreams is searching for stories and historic artifacts relating to the Golden Age of the Airship during the 1920s and 1930s, to commemorate   the 90th anniversary of the final flight of R101.

Airship Dreams is an artistic enquiry into Bedford’s identity as the historical center of the UK’s airship industry, led by award-winning artist Mike Stubbs. Following a call-out to the local community to share memories, artifacts and ideas around the airship for an online archive, the project will culminate in an exhibition at Higgins Bedford (England) in 2021, featuring commissioned airship-inspired art installations alongside a selection of community contributions.

Bedford Creative Arts (BCA), The Higgins Bedford Gallery, the Airship Heritage Trust, and award-winning artist Mike Stubbs have joined forces to launch the project, and are inviting people across the UK and beyond to share their personal airship connections, family tales, objects and also dreams for the future. Contributions will be included in the Airship Dreams program of exhibitions and events that will celebrate this beautiful, graceful, arcadian and romantic form of flight.

R101 hauled to mast 1929. Courtesy – Airship Dreams

  “We want you to ‘unbox’ those items tucked away in your shed and loft, share your photos, talk to us about your and your family’s memories, and show us your airship-inspired creations,” explained BCA Director Elaine Midgley. “Perhaps your grandparents have memories they could share of Bedford’s Cardington Sheds, where the R101 was built, during your online family chats or while on your socially distanced daily walk?”

Airship Dreams will feature many fun activities for people to take part in throughout the project, as well as provide an opportunity to learn from experts at the Airship Heritage Trust and The Higgins Bedford about the history of the airship. Throughout the summer, BCA will be offering exciting creative opportunities through a series of activities people can do in their own home and share with others through a variety of social media channels and platforms.

“From creating your own animations to taking your own airship flight from the comfort of your living room, there will be lots of ways to get involved,” continued Midgley. “This project is hugely significant for Bedford and airship enthusiasts worldwide. Particularly now, when we consider how travel is changing today both due to current circumstances and because of a desire for greener options, the question and exploration of new modes of travel is very timely.”

Airship Dreams Community Champion Sita Thomas (better known as a presenter from Channel 5’s Milkshake) will be releasing various videos online, including a short film about Bedford’s airship history, as well as presenting the ‘unboxing’ videos received from the public. “I’m very excited about being part of Airship Dreams,” she said. “It is a wonderful opportunity for people to explore airship heritage and dream of where we might go next!”

Airship Dreams is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and The Harpur Trust.

More information can be found at the Airship Dreams website at, while stories can be shared on social media using #AirshipDreams or emailed to

2 thoughts on “Call for Airship Stories and Artifacts for Exhibition in 2021

  1. I have a small painting of the r101, unframed, which belonged to my parents. Painted 1936, signed but I can’t read who by. Is it of interest to you?

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