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Evening News 14th October 1929(Late Extra Edition)
THROUGH MANY EYES
By a Special Correspondent
Suddenly there came a shout of "R101". And the hurrying people and the sauntering people alike stopped and "sky-gazed" in the days of old, when Zeppelins came.
It was the hour when the City was at lunch.
There was, of course, a very large crowd outside St. Pauls, and in such buildings as Adelaide House and on the roofs of the City banks there were crowds to watch her as she seemed to swim like an enormous fish.
It was vastly amusing to hear how many comparisons were made between her and the contents of an aquarium.
One voice said she looked like a gigantic trout, another said that she was more the shape of a salmon, and altogether there was so much difference of opinion as to the particular form of fish she resembled that one humorist outside St. Pauls exclaimed: "why, to hear you all, anybody would think she had escaped from Billingsgate Market."
Every office window was crowded in the neighbourhood of the Cathedral, and there were a few cheers, which did not last long, for it seemed to be realised that her crew could not hear any cheering.
She was not, apparently, going at a strong pace, but was allowing Londoners the treat of seeing her.
When she first came into view the sun caught her, and she was of silver brilliance, but when she turned off in a north-westerly direction above Holborn the sky was grey, the sun had disappeared, and she was only a faint phorescent mass against the clouds
The last observations were that she looked like an immense fish, but an unemotional Londoner settled it all by saying "To me she looks more like an airship"
Then the policeman said, "Move on, people; look out for pickpockets," and the crowd disappeared after its twenty minutes of skygazing.
Actually there seemed to be some disappointment among spectators at the design of the ship.
Some people thought she looked too squat, that her head was too large, and that the thinning away of her body towards the tail was very abrupt; a rather ugly fish someone called her.
Then another onlooker said: "Yes, I think shes ugly all right, but at the same time she looks pretty". And that was about the average opinion of the crowd.
Then again the criticism made beforehand about the airship caused a number of spectators to say, "Yes, but how would she behave in a strong wind?"
However, it was a treat for everyone, from office boys to members of the Stock Exchange, the big banks, and other City institutions, and they were grateful for it.
LOG OF THE CRUISE
|11.31||First Wireless message received from commander : "Everything going well. Ship behaving splendidly"|
Crossed over Bedford and circled over town for 15 minutes or so.
Over Hitchin, Herts.
|12.25||Over Luton, flying low.|
|12.40||Over Leighton Buzzard.|
|1.15||Over St. Albans|
|1.35||Over Hampstead and Golders Green|
|1.40||Over the City and West End for 20 minutes|
|Passes over Mill Hill on return journey|
|3.00||Back over Cardington|
IN THE WEST END
People Rush to the Roofs of the Bid stores
By a Special Correspondent
A woman stopped suddenly on the corner of the Haymarket and gripped the arm of a policeman.
"Look! Look!" she cried. "There it is up there!" and she pointed to the huge grey shape of R101, drifting sleepily over the roofs of Piccadilly.
Immediately all movement stopped. The traffic policeman with both arms outstretched threw back his head to watch the giant floating gentle across towards Westminster. Bus drivers leaning forward in their seats peered up into the sky to catch a glimpse of her as she made her first flight over the Capital.
In Piccadilly Circus hundreds of people crowded into the road and all traffic was temporally stilled until the big grey shape had passed away.
At the big stores there was a helter-skelter rush for the roof or any other point of vantage. It was only with difficulty that officials were able to keep a skeleton staff in the shops to look after premises. Sometimes the officials themselves had gone.
The Evening News 14th October 1929 Late Extra Edition
Page last updated: 3rd February 2014