The flying boats to the end of the empire and back

This is the presentation that was due to be held on April 16th last year but had to be cancelled due to COVID restrictions.

Flying Boats are now extinct as a form of passenger transport, but for 20 years in the mid-20th century they were the ultimate mix of speed and luxury. Based in Southampton and carrying only a few dozen passengers, they offered ocean liner standards of comfort and cuisine at 200mph.

How long did it take to get to Australia? What was the in-flight entertainment? And why were flying boats in danger of crashing when the onboard cocktail bar opened?

Stephen Hoadley joined the staff of the National Railway Museum in 1995, then went on to work at the Museum of Science in Manchester and Hampshire County Council Museums Service. He now splits his time between working at the Crown Court Southampton and delivering a range of talks. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2016.

Attending the meeting in person

There will be 80 places available for this first meeting. We don't anticipate being over-subscribed so we're not asking you to book this time.

You should arrive between 2.15 and 2.30. Everyone must be signed in via the NHS App QR code reader or a paper register which can cause delays.

Teas and coffees will be available at the meeting – but you will not be able to drink standing and chatting. Tables will be available for people to sit in groups of no more than 6.

Masks will be required until you are seated. When you are moving around the hall masks must be worn.

Attending the meeting via Zoom

In addition to the live meeting, we will host a Zoom meeting alongside.

Requirements for joining the meeting via Zoom are:

  • A PC/Laptop, tablet or phone with a reasonable internet connection speed
  • Speakers (internal or external) or headphones

Full participation will also need a microphone and connected video camera.

The Zoom conference will not be time-limited, so there will be no need to log back in after 40 minutes. Attendance is, however, limited to 100 sessions. We expect that will be enough, but please share a session if you intend to join from the same household.

Click here to learn more about using Zoom. In particular, we strongly advise you to test your system and settings before the presentation by joining a test meeting at

Stephen is due to start speaking at 2.45. To join the presentation click this link from 2.30pm. You will be asked for a passcode, click here to log in to see it. We will publish the passcode and a link that doesn't need a passcode in our July update email.