11th August 1910 - New Brighton visited by Claude Graham-White
Thursday the 11th August saw New Brighton visited by another Farman biplane, this time flown by another
famous aviator, Claude Graham-White. Graham-White, who also obtained his flying certificate (No.30) in
France, had sprung to national prominence in the Daily Mail London to Manchester air race, earlier in the year.
In this race, he had made a daring night flight in an attempt to beat Frenchman Louis Paulhan to Manchester.
Unfortunately, engine trouble had forced him to land at Polesworth leaving the Frenchmen to complete the
race and claim the £10,000 prize.
Graham-White had taken off from Blackpool at 6.45am and headed for New Brighton. The flight was
interrupted by engine trouble, caused by the breaking of a counterbalance on one of the valves. He land at St
Anne’s, where a telephone call brought aid in the shape of his assistants. Taking off at 9.45am, he reached
New Brighton a few minutes before 11 o'clock. He found the River Mersey shrouded in fog, but using New
Brighton Tower, was able to locate the beach between the Marine Park and the Red Noses and land. A crowd
soon surrounded him and the aircraft; some of them writing their names on the wings of the aircraft, a fact
that did not seem to annoy him.
|A Postcard of Graham White flying over Blackpool
|On the 29th November 1910, Compton Paterson (Left), took off from Freshfield in a Farman Bi Plane, accompanied by
R.A King (Right) the owner of the aircraft. They headed across the River Mersey, making it the first passenger flight across
the Mersey. Both men were wearing life vests in case the aircraft did not make its ultimate destination. At Hoylake they
circled the old race course and landed infront of the clubhouse. A large crowd gathered before they took off and headed
for New Brighton and then Freshfield.
|On the 11th August 1910 Claude Graham White flying another Farman, landed at New Brighton. He was competing for the
daily mail £1000 prize for the greatest total distance flown in a year and had flown from Blackpool. He returned four times
over the weekend. Unfortunately he did not win the prize.
Graham-White remarked that, “I thought I would just give you a call at New Brighton”. The golden sands of New
Brighton may not have been the real attraction for Graham-White. He and his rival from the London-
Manchester race, Louis Paulhan, were neck and neck for a £1,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail for the
greatest-aggregate distance flown across country in a year, the competition closing on Sunday, 14th August.
The knowledge that Paulhan was making every effort to capture this prize caused Grahame-White set himself
the task of flying 100 miles each day.
Having refuelled and had his logbook signed, he called for assistance to clear a way for his take off run. Then
climbing back into his aircraft, he looked over his shoulder and shouted “I think I’ll look in at Southport on my
way back” and with that he was off. He took just fifty yards to take off, then accompanied by cheers from the
crowd, headed for the other bank of the river and passed out of sight ten minutes later.
New Brighton and the sands between Marine Park and Red Noses obviously acted as a magnet to Graham-
White, for he returned four times over the coming weekend. On the Saturday morning he made flights to New
Brighton and Morecambe, adding 110 miles to his total. On Sunday morning, he landed at New Brighton at
7.30am and stayed four minutes, then took off back to Blackpool arriving back at 8.10am, in time for breakfast
with friends. By 10.37am, he was off again on his second trip of the day to New Brighton, but this time fog
caused him to land at Seaforth at 11.25am before continuing to New Brighton. In the afternoon he returned
for the third time that day. Unfortunately, he did not win the prize falling behind Paulhan by just 98 miles, with
a grand total of 703 miles flown cross-country in the twelve months.
29th November 1910 - Hoylake passenger flight
At 1.45pm on Tuesday the 29th November, Cecil Compton Paterson a director of the Liverpool Motor House
Company, took off from Freshfield aerodrome in a Farman biplane, and headed across the River Mersey.
Compton Paterson, who had once lived in Cable Road Hoylake, was gaining a reputation as an experienced
aviator, having assembled his first aircraft, a Curtiss-type biplane at Freshfield in 1909, and obtaining his
British flying certificate (No.38) there.
Accompanying Compton Paterson on this flight was Robert Arthur King of Neston, the owner of the aircraft.
King who was Paterson’s pupil had, following his first flight in Paterson’s Curtiss biplane, been so captivated
by flying, that he ordered a 50hp Farman aircraft from France. The aircraft had arrived at Freshfield on
Saturday the 26th November. It was test flown by Paterson, with King as passenger on Monday the 28th.
Compton Paterson was the North of England representative for Farman aircraft.
This was the first passenger flight across the River Mersey. Both men were wearing life belts, in case the
aircraft did not make its ultimate destination. Soon after leaving Freshfield, they reached New Brighton circled
the lighthouse and then swooped down over the promenade. King had telephoned some friends of his at the
Liverpool Victoria Golf Club, Hoylake, indicating that he was going to call on them. Little did they realise the
manner in which he intended to call on them. Having taken half an hour for the journey at a height of 500 feet
they arrived at Hoylake, circled the old racecourse and then landed in front of the clubhouse. A large crowd
had gathered before they took off and headed back to New Brighton where they landed, and again were
surrounded by another large crowd. Paterson happily explained the aircraft to the more inquisitive in the
crowd. On returning to Freshfield, Paterson nearly flew into a biplane, which was just taking off, but
fortunately, Robert Fenwick the other pilot saw the impending aerial collision and put his aircraft back on the
ground without injury to himself, but causing serious damage to the aircraft. Paterson later in the afternoon
took his own aircraft across the River Mersey again and landed at New Brighton where he had arranged to
meet a reporter from the Daily Post to describe the day’s events.