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George Cayley's Curious Summer

By Mary Jones

Fact is mixed with fiction in this story of a young Yorkshire man who grew up to invent the first aeroplane, George Cayley.

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“I write to tell you how much I enjoyed George Cayley’s Curious Summer. I really cared about George, his ideas and whether they would bear fruit. I was mighty pleased when Fred came on the scene, not forgetting Garnet, to be his co-conspirator, as it were. Someone who understood him. Oh yes, and Ruth. What a remarkable man Cayley was. I don’t think I fully appreciated before quite how many things he invented. Gosh, aren’t people’s brains fascinating? Congratulations.”  

Lady Heather Ayckbourn

Who really invented the first flying machine? Who designed the first articulated artificial arm, the self righting lifeboat, the safety belt and the caterpillar track?

Where did a boy called George Cayley born in the 18th century get so many ideas from? He observed everything around his home in a Yorkshire village. From boyhood to manhood George developed flight and many other inventions fifty years before the Wright brothers flew in America.
This book imagines young George’s life during August 1784, when he was 10, nearly 11. Together with a village girl and a servant boy his curiosity leads them into all sorts of adventures such as building a model helicopter which lands in Lady Cayley’s wig. Fact is mixed with fiction but this is all made clear at the end, and once grown up Sir George Cayley really did invent the first aeroplane.

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