RNAS Cramlington was
chosen as a stand alone operation base located north east
of Cramlington Station, and adjacent to the existing aerodrome.
A single Coastal class airship shed was constructed which
was 358 feet long and 110 feet wide.There was a small hydrogen
gas making plant in a building behind the shed. It was intended
to eventually base four non rigid Submarine Scout Twin airships
coastal shed was unusual as it was pained brown to blend
in with the local countryside. Also unusually there were
no windbreaks fitted to the shed, despite its exposed
The station was not
completed by the time of the Armistice but work continued
on the construction of the planned airship shed, which measured
some 300 x 100 x 70 feet on a NE-SW axis that aligned with
the prevailing wind.
Four SST airships were operational from the Coastal shed
with some twenty officers, and 281 men were stationed at
the airship station. Further airships were to be station
here, however the armistice came in November 1918, and so
the station was no longer used. Like most other airship
stations in Britain it was hastily abandoned.
In the early 1920s a company considered using the
facilities to operate an airship service to Norway but nothing
came of this plan. Some of the buildings were used as a
hostel for miners. The closing years of that decade saw
a revival of its fortunes. A small enterprise which went
by the name of British Airships Ltd.; which later changed
its name to the Airship Development Company thought it could
revive the fortunes of the small non rigid airships.They
constructed an airship designated the A.D.1 in the airship
shed at Cramlington. The machine was 138 feet in length
and maximum diameter of 29 feet.
It was advertised as
being suitable for private flying, passenger flights, instruction,
advertising , aerial photography and surveying. The main
revenue was anticipated to come from advertising and for
this role it had panels on its side measuring 76 feet by
Based on the SS design
with a 75hp Rolls-Royce "Hawk" engine. It was
designated the "AD.1" and registered G-FAAX. Its
primary role was for advertising and aerial photography
and made its first flight on 13th September 1929 followed
by an appearance at the Newcastle Air Pageant held at the
Cramlington Aerodrome on 5th October.
During 1930, the work
continued including flights over London. Unfortunately on
5th October 1930 while flying in Belgium advertising a cigarette
company the airship was destroyed in a storm. The salvaged
remains were later sold at auction the following year on
The two envelopes which
had cost £1,000 each sold for £22 10s, the engine
for £13 10s (the new owner planning to use in a motor
boat) and the Gondola with all instruments fetching £2.
The Airship Development Company, however was liquidated
at the end of 1930 having overestimated the demand for its
services. Britain at the time was in deep recession. The
two airship envelopes were sold to be made into dust sheets
for furniture and the airship shed at Cramlington vacated
,never to be used again by airships.
Towards the end of its
days, the airship shed was used by a firm called Concrete
Utilities Ltd ., to make concrete lamp posts. It was eventually
demolished in 1967 having outlived its contemporaries by
many years. Most other airship sheds had in fact disappeared
by the outbreak of World War II.