History Palmers Green Uncategorized

New air terminal for Palmers Green?

Jean de Manio on the roof of 75 Derwent Road in his Bleriot monoplane. Image by kind permission of James Birtwistle

This was the scene in a recently built Palmers Green street on 6 December 1912.

Pilot Jean de Manio had been on his way from the aerodrome at Balls Park (on the outskirts of Hertford, now part of the university campus) to Hendon in his Bleriot monoplane when he lost his way before getting into engine touble. He aimed for Broomfield Park, but fell short and crashed into the roof of no 75 Derwent Road, at that time the residence of a Mr Andow. Sustaining only cuts and bruises, he was thence rescued by two schoolboys, who went and got a ladder from Southgate County School while de Manio calmly puffed on a cigarette. Those, indeed, were the days of aviation.

The spectacle was reported on by the Recorder on 19 December 1912

All ways led to Derwent Road, and the inevitable crowd gathered. I think it may he said that the majority of the inhabitants of this usually peaceful suburb felt the importance of the occasion, and I verily believe that they were even imbued with a feeling akin to pride that the first aeroplane to fall—I beg pardon, to fly—on to a house-roof should have performed that feat in their own neighbourhood.

Sadly, de Manio died in a further accident a year later, before the birth of a baby son, also called Jean. As Jack de Manio, Jean Jnr became one of the most famous and controversial radio presenters of the 50s and 60s.