About Upham

Attempt at man powered flight in Upham

Upham’s early attempt at flight took place on the old Recreation Ground. The machine was built by blacksmith Mr Frank Primmer and Mr Leaman, the Butler at Blackdown House who gained the nickname “Cody” Leaman after Samuel Franklin Cody; who was a Wild West showman and early pioneer of manned flight. Mrs Primmer covered the wings and tail with calico. According to the account of the event that has been passed down the contraption actually rose into the air, before crashing into a hedge.

The Upham air disaster

The final picture shows “Cody” Leaman looking up through the wreckage in the middle of the field, with the Alma Pub in the background. Frank Primmer the blacksmith took these photographs of the event. The Recreation Ground was a small part of Stroudwood that was not enclosed. It was not suitable for this purpose as it was often very wet. There were other problems later with balls hitting traffic passing along the main road. It was eventually sold in 1960 for £160.