The Airman ~ Henlow Bedfordshire

It seems fitting that I’m sitting in The Airman in Henlow, not too far away from Old Warden and Shuttleworth and even more of a coincidence that Google have a picture of Amelia Earhart on their search page to celebrate her 115th birthday. She disappeared in 1937 in her attempt to be the first women pilot to fly around the world.

Why am I in The Airman? BT have decided that it will take until 5pm on Thursday to fix both my phone and internet. Yesterday I tried unsuccessfully to find a local internet cafe. I spent an hour in the local library which helped, but in order to use my own laptop, in desperation I drove to Baldock Services. It was on the way home that I noticed The Airman.

Being a pub, restaurant, hotel close to Shuttleworth and Henlow Base and Henlow Airfield it was a perfect spot to decamp to. In fact, in the pre lunch time hour it has been calm and peaceful and I’m tempted to stay to lunch.

What have I learnt through this frustration without the internet and now Sans telephone too? Firstly I have focussed on my other project, a biography of a wonderful gentleman who is 102, since I feel the urgency to complete it this summer. Secondly I have learnt not to give up. In order to make arrangements and market your novel effectively you need both the inernet and a telephone, but with a little resourcefulness another way can be found!

Next posts will ‘Booksigning at Shuttleworth’ and ‘Exciting Events in the Southampton Area 2nd to 4th August.’


Filed under Marketing your novel, Southampton, The Shuttleworth Collection

10 responses to “The Airman ~ Henlow Bedfordshire

  1. I am just musing on The Airman myself as I am writing my memories of steam trains in the 1940s and Southill station in particular. My mother was a railway porter there in that period and she knew the signalman Arnold Rainbow who later took over the Airman pub. I remember sitting outside drinking lemonade we were not allowed inside in those days. There was a huge propellor on the wall I have not been back since to see if it is still there

    • I can’t recall it but it was a few years ago that I went in for a spell. Always meant to go for Sunday lunch but then we moved to Fife! Good luck with your memoirs. Do let me know more about it. D

      • I am writing my memoirs from the war years living in Old Warden Bedfordshire going to the village school with a separate account of my interest in steam railways. Hopefully the grandchildren will appreciate the things that I have set down before all memory is extinguished. Travel writing is difficult with so many people in that arena but I am running a series in my village newsletter under the sobriquet ‘The Reflective Traveller’ Even A A Gill had to start somewhere!

      • Oh do keep in touch. I’d be really interested to hear how you are getting on. D

      • To begin at the beginning……. We were evacuated to Old Warden and for a time we lived with the Shuttleworth’ s long before its present ownership when it was still a private house. Later we lived at Warden Abbey Farm and used to play in the remnants of the abbey a small Tudor house and now a Landmark Trust property one of three such in Old Warden parish. I well remember Southill station and Shefford too and we sometimes had a ride home in the guards van to get off by the farm and scramble up the bank to get home..

      • I often thought that the disused line would make a fantiastic path. Would you like to write me a blog post of your memories. It would be wonderful, especially if you have any pictures. If you do then my email address is

      • Unfortunately I do not have pictures although you can get a good impression from Google Earth and Street View. I am not sure of the status of this line for a railway path but many bodies are at work in this arena, Railway Paths Ltd, Railway Ramblers ( of which I am a member) and Sustrans ( cycle paths) to name just three.
        Old Warden tunnel was interesting and the road bridge just before it by Manor Farm. The spoil from the tunnel is now a nature reserve. The north stretch beyond the tunnel was used for filming ‘Those Magnificent men in their Flying Machines’ On the south side we used to scramble down on to the line to place copper coins on the line and then come back after the train had flattened them. No H and S considerations for these three ‘railway children’!

      • What a lovely story. Maybe we shouldn’t encourage children with today’s fast trains though. I know the bridge of the real train robbery near Leighton Buzzard but I did not know they filmed it near Old Warden. Interesting!

      • Not The Great Train Robbery but the film with Terry Thomas called Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines in which he lands the aircraft on top of the train. Filmed I believe on the Cardington side of the tunnel. If you visit the site of Southill station and take the road to the village of Ireland look out for the obelisk n the woods. This is to commemorate the Whitbread family who allowed the railway to be constructed through their land. To think this was planned as the Midland Railway main line via Hitchin to connect Leicester to London,!

      • Oh I expect they took off at Old Walden, Shuttleworth did they? I know the area well. I’ll look out for the obelisk next time I’m down.

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