On Sunday, 9 March The British Embassy Cairo and the Children’s Civilization & Creativity Centre “Child Museum” jointly held a ceremony on Sunday March the 9th at the Museum’s Cinema Hall to commemorate the centenary of Sir Francis McClean’s Nile Flight from Alexandria to Khartoum. The flight took off from Alexandria in northern Egypt and landed in Khartoum, Sudan crossing a number of cities over the course of the River Nile in 1914. The flight was conducted in the Short S80 seaplane which, at the time, was the largest successfully built British aircraft. The Children’s Museum contains a scaled down replica of the plane. It is also built on the site of one of the first airfields in Africa.
The British Ambassador to Cairo, James Watt, Brigadier Tarek Mohsen, General Manager of the Aviation Culture at the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the head of Children’s Civilization & Creativity Centre “Child Museum, Dr. Osama Abd El Wareth inaugurated an exhibition where rare photographs of the flight from 1914 were displayed. The exhibition was followed by speeches delivered by special guests invited by the Embassy to celebrate the flight. Guests include Dr. Farouk El Gohary Chairman of the Board of Directors of Heliopolis Association, Dr. Nabil Helmy Secretary General of Heliopolis Association, Hon Rupert Carington, grandson of Sir Francis McClean; Tom Fletcher, British Ambassador to Beirut and great grandson of Gus Smith, one of the engineers who built the Short S80 plane; and Michael Mallinson, the architect who designed the Children’s Museum. The British Ambassadors to Cairo and Beirut, James Watt and Tom Fletcher respectively, were awarded the Ministry of Civil Aviation shields by the Ministry of Civil Aviation during the ceremony.
The celebration of the flight’s centenary commemorates the deep-rooted history that connects the United Kingdom and Egypt. “It is with great pleasure that I celebrate today this historical event. I thank the Children’s Civilization & Creativity Center, formerly known as the Children’s Museum, for hosting this event and coordinating it with the Embassy. It is the best site to hold such a celebration. The Centre stands on a historical site – one of the first airfields in Africa – and the fact that it houses a scaled down replica of the plane make it all the more right that we should be holding this event today. I admire the activities that the Centre has for children, introducing and developing the concept of interactive learning to Egypt, and I am proud that it is a British architectural firm, represented here by Mr Michael Mallinson, that has designed this highly successful institution.” said the British Ambassador to Cairo, James Watt.
See the photos