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Canopus Off Borstal By Billy Childish

Seaplane Works

27th July - 14th October 2023

Exciting exhibition celebrates pioneering aviators.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Short Brothers’ factory closing in Rochester.

A new free exhibition at Rochester Art Gallery, within Medway Visitor Information Centre in Rochester High Street, will celebrate the skill and creativity of a remarkable workforce featuring original technical drawings, film and memorabilia. At the centre of the exhibition will be a large oil and charcoal painting of the ‘Canopus’ flying boat by internationally acclaimed Medway artist Billy Childish.

The Short Brothers aeronautical company was founded in 1908 and was the first company in the world to make production aeroplanes. Originally based at Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey, the Short’s factory relocated to the banks of the River Medway at Borstal in 1917, for more than 30 years. 

At its peak, the company employed 12,000 people and tested its innovative flying boats on the river including the famous Empire and Sunderland models, as well as developing the World War II Shorts Stirling, the first four-engine bomber. 

The exhibition, which is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am - 5pm, has been created in partnership with Medway Archives. 

Find out more:

Tickets and Pricing

Admission free

Days and times

  • Tuesdays to Saturdays
    10am - 5pm



Rochester Art Gallery, 95 High Street, Rochester ME1 1LX

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