PIONEERS: 1910 London-Manchester race

PIONEERS: 1910 London-Manchester race

The cries of excited onlookers at Pytha Fold Farm near Burnage said it all — France had beaten Britain in 1910’s great race to become the first man to fly between London and Manchester. But both pioneering men, Henri Paulhan and Claude Grahame-White, were deserving of all the plaudits they received 

Frozen and exhausted, Louis Paulhan and his Farman about to finish the race at Pytha Fold Farm, on the borders of Withington, Burnage and Didsbury. 

In November 1906 press baron Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, created a remarkable piece of news which he promptly ran in his own paper, the Daily Mail. A strident campaigner for the advancement of flying in Britain, Northcliffe put up a glittering prize of £10,000 — today around £1.2 million — for the first person to aviate between London and Manchester. The contest’s rules, published in the Mail’s 17 November edition, allowed 24 hours for the 185-mile journey and just two stops along the way. Competitors would also have to pass within five miles of the newspaper’s London and Manchester offices.

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