Dick Shuttleworth was a wealthy collector who raced a Bugatti T51 and an Alfa Romeo Tipo B. He won the first British Grand Prix at Donnington in 1935. He quit racing shortly after a bad accident at the 1936 South African GP. He joined the RAF and was killed in a night flying accident in 1940. His mother opened the Shuttleworlh collection to the public in 1963.
Born in Biggleswade,England, Richard Ormonde Shuttleworth was always happiest when tinkering with cars and any other mechanical device that came to hand. He often got into trouble at school for arriving late to lessons covered in grease. He passed out of Sandhurst as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 16th/5th Lancers, and during his time in the army, he pursued various sporting interests like his father had done.
According to his father's will he finally came of age at 23 and inherited the family fortune and was then able to concentrate on the management of the estate. He was also then free to pursue his mechanical interests, which became more and more his main occupation.
Richard built up a sizeable collection of old cars, starting with a 1898 Panhard Levassuer in 1928, and somewhat later, added aeroplanes, restoring them to working order. These now form the nucleus of the Collection at Old Warden Aerodrome, which was also constructed by him.
He had a very successful racing career, occasionally racing under the pseudonym R.Ormonde, culminating on October 5th 1935 at Donington,when he drove his 2.5 litre Alfa Romeo Monoposto to victory in the first British Grand Prix, a 120 lap, 306 mile race around the 2.55 mile Donington Park circuit. Shuttleworth finished 45.8 seconds ahead of Earl Howe's Bugatti with Charlie Martin finishing 3rd in another Bugatti.
He raced at Grand Prix worldwide and participated in the South African Grand Prix where his car went out of control and he was badly hurt. He retired from driving shortly after this and he took up flying because 'it was safer'!
When war broke out in 1939 Richard joined the Royal Air Force and was posted to RAF Benson for night flying experience. On the night of the 1st-2nd August 1940 he was flying a cross-country training exercise in a Fairey Battle, but was killed when his aircraft crashed into a nearby hill.
Dorothy Shuttleworth, although devastated by the loss of her son, set up the mansion as a Red Cross Convalescent Home for injured airmen and created a small chapel, dedicated to Richard. In 1944 she decided to place the estate in a charitable Trust in memory of Richard; she wanted to ensure that it would continue as one entity to be used for the purpose of agricultural and aviation education, two interests that Richard was especially keen on.
Shuttleworth College first opened its doors to students in 1946 based inside the main house, today the College is thriving and is closely associated with Writtle College in Essex. The Collection did not open to the public until 1963, but has increased in size since opening and its regular air displays draw crowds from all over the world. As well as these principal activities, Old Warden Park is now also a renowned conference venue and is also home to the English School of Falconry.
The Shuttleworth Collection + hr