Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

October Newsletter

2006-10/October, 2006

£4,000,000.00 GARAGE SPACE AVAILABLE AGAIN / R102, R103 AND R104?

Richard C. McIntyre has written to alert us that Shed No. 2 (R100s home shed in Cardington) is has been put on the market for the sum of £4,000,000-. (US$7,500,000- or Aud$10,000,000-)
The shed was refurbished in the early 1990s and is in good condition, compared to shed number one.
The original shed had been originally constructed in Pulham, Norfolk in 1916 but later dismantled and then moved to Cardington in 1925.
You can see pictures and read articles at the Airship Heritage Trust's excellent website at:
The Airship Heritage Trust's site also has articles including one on the Airships that might have been built if R101 hadn't crashed.
See it at


On the subject of literary snobbery and what constitutes great literature, I would like to quote Len Deighton, a writer of very intelligent spy thrillers, histories and popular cookbooks.

I'd never had any childhood ambition to be a writer, so I had no ambition now to write 'serious literature'. My view has not changed. This is not because I think that serious literature is too serious; It's because I think that most serious literature is not serious at all.


Mark Holland of San Diego, California, The USA writes:

Your mention of Ernest Gann and Nevil Shute reminded me of Gann's 1946 Blaze of Noon, a "Yank" complement to Shute's early work, which I believe now stands as 1930's British novelized history.
"Blaze" follows American barnstorming pilots in the 1920's. It is written (perhaps consciously?) in Shute's storytelling style, but "Blaze" pales a little when compared to Shute's talent at combining rich and interesting detail with strong story lines.
I don't find Gann's later work as being written so much in the style of Nevil Shute, nor do I enjoy Gann's other work as much.
Are there other worthy authors or titles which are written in an identifiably "Shute" style?
65 copies of Shute works, and counting...

Editor's Comment: I agree with Mark but would still encourage those who may now not bother to chase down Gann's books to find his autobiographical Fate is The Hunter.


Steve Van Dulken of The UK has written that he thinks a 1946 airplane crash at what is now Crash Hill, Newfoundland, was a possible inspiration for No Highway.
Steve writes:

I believe it was the biggest civil airliner disaster to date.
The Times report says that on the 3rd of October 1946 a Pan Am DC4 came down on a 1,525 foot high hill near Stephenville.
Thirty-nine people died, including the father of an American friend of mine (he was a mining engineer).
See more about the crash here and here.
It was flying from New York to Berlin and had just taken off at 3 am in fog from nearby Harmon Field.
The parallels (with the events in the book) are not exact, nor were there dense trees in the area, just moss and scrub, but Shute would certainly have been well aware of the crash.

From your webmeister: As I compose this page, I notice that today, Oct. 3, 2006, is the 60th anniversary of the crash. (That and $2 may get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks)


John Anderson writes:

Last Monday Mike Meehan and I met in London and visited the British Library.
Our purpose was to look at the Society of Authors correspondence with Shute.
Shute joined the Society in 1923 and corresponded with them periodically even after he moved to Australia in 1950.
What we discovered in these files was fascinating to say the least and will be included in our presentation at Alice Springs next year.
We met Steve VanDulken, who works at the British Library and is a keen Shutist.
Steve has already summarised the contents of the file - particularly regarding the correspondence with the Ministry of Power about the petrol allowance in 1950.
Steve also introduced us to the Times Digital Index to which the British Library subscribe.
The Times Newspaper has been digitised and indexed.
With this facility one can enter words to search for e.g. "Nevil Shute" or "N.S.Norway" or "Airspeed" and the search engine comes back with all relevant entries. It really is remarkable.


I now suspect Northenden might have been a Shute-invented term for the pseudo-naming of places and objects in novels and that Northendton is just a reverse pseudonym of Southampton as Shute mentioned Southampton in the same letter.


In one of his speeches Shute mentions taking up painting after reading Churchill.
Dan Telfair says there are Shute paintings around. One is of the R-100 on lift which was displayed at the Centennial. Dan believes there is another of a sailboat as well.


From your Editor:
As a result of last month's newsletter I had a complaint about one letter that was stridently political in its tone.
Normally I savagely edit potentially annoying comments but as the letter was in regard to the political climate in the USA at the time that On The Beach was required reading in schools I made an exception.
However, content-wise, On The Beach itself is not a very political book.
On the other hand, In The Wet was an extremely political book within a British Commonwealth context as it disputed who owned the Queen and it savagely slammed the post-war British moves towards socialism.


Art Cornell writes:

Besides forming the Nevil Shute Chapters, I have been a little active trying to drum up interest in other ways.
In Colorado at Regis University they held a weekly conference on the Second World War. They found veterans who had served in the war and had them talk about their experiences.
I went to two of the sessions and set up at the entrance a Shute table with books and other literature. I talked to many people asking if they had read any of Shute's novels and encouraging them to check one out at the library.
Several times I went to the local library and set up a similar table.
At first I did not say anything. I just sat waiting for questions. None came. People walked past but their minds were absent. So I started asking people if they had ever heard of Nevil Shute. Few had. I then told them that Shute had written many novels and they are wonderful. I said that I was there with the display for the sole purpose of getting more readers of his novels.
I had a few people promise they would read one from the library. I felt that if I could get just one person to read The Chequer Board, I would be successful.
In the Cape Cod Times there is a column Write to Know. People write in asking questions or making some offer. Several years ago I asked if anyone knew about Nevil Shute coming to Cape Cod in 1939. From that question we got three members to our Chapter.
Just before the Gathering here last year, I put in a request to borrow a violin for the Gathering. I got five offers. It shows that people are looking at that column.
Now we are having a meeting in October and we are putting in a request for new members. Soon we will see its effectiveness.
I would like to encourage others to do similar efforts. Maybe our enthusiasts have other ideas.

Editor's Comment: Does anyone else have ideas for promoting the reading of Nevil Shute ?


A Florida, USA chapter is being formed.
If you live in Florida and would be interested in an occasional get-together, contact Jim MacDougald, a Board Member who lives in St.Petersburg, Florida. Jim's email address is

Editor's Comment: Remember that even if you are only visiting Florida or any other part of the world you can put a note in the newsletter to meet local Shutists.


Laura Schneider writes:

By November 1, the Registration Form and Fee will be available for your use.
It is the most important piece of information you'll need and you will have it soon!
Remember to check the Alice Springs Conference web site for updates.
If you have any difficulty contacting me at use
Seven months to go!


For once I am in Sydney at the change of the month so the newsletter comes out almost on time.
Spring advances strongly here and the weather is again perfect.
This global warming clearly has some temporary advantages.
I hope you are all well.

Richard Michalak
Nevil Shute Foundation Newsletter Editor and Historian


Write in if you want your name listed and would like to get together with other Shutists in your vicinity.


Jim Wells lives in Lindfield, Sydney
Richard Michalak lives in Paddington, Sydney
Ruth Pearson lives in Adelaide
Neil Wynes Morse lives in Canberra


Julian Stargardt


Bruce A Clarke lives in Bangkok


Jim & Kristi Woodward live in Broken Arrow (east of Tulsa), Oklahoma, USA.
Priscilla Pruitt lives near Bellingham, Washington State
Bill McCandless lives in Joliet near Chicago.
Joy Hogg, Harrietta Michigan (northern lower Michigan, near Traverse City and Cadillac)
David B. Horvath, dhorvath in the domain, near Philadelphia Pennsylvania, USA.
Al Benkelman Warrenton, Virginia