Market Weighton Civic Society to commemorate aeronautics pioneer Hilda M Lyon with Blue Plaque honour

Pioneering engineer Hilda M Lyon.
Pioneering engineer Hilda M Lyon.

A Market Weighton shopkeeper’s daughter who became a pioneer in aeronautics is to be commemorated with a Blue Plaque.

Hilda Margaret Lyon MA, MSc, AFRAeS was a gifted mathematician and engineer who helped design the ill-fated R101 airship, a rival to the Howden-built R100.

She continued to pioneer research into aerodynamics and developed the “Lyon Shape”, which is still used in aviation and submarines to this day.

Hilda was the first woman to receive the Royal Aeronautical Society’s R38 Memorial Prize.

The unveiling will be held at Market Weighton Town Hall at 3pm on Thursday, June 27.

It will be performed by the Lord Lieutenant for the East Riding of Yorkshire, The Hon Dame Susan Cunliffe-Lister, DCVO.

A relative of Hilda, Valerie Lyon, will be travelling from her home in Australia to enjoy the event with other Lyon family members, including seven from the United States.

Also attending will be engineering historian Dr Nina Baker, who runs the Women in Engineering History Blog and has been a prime mover in the campaign to have Hilda recognised with a Blue Plaque.

Dr Baker said: “Hilda Lyon was an outstanding engineer and well known for her expertise in her lifetime but has been a bit forgotten after her untimely death.

“She was an active member of the Women’s Engineering Society whose centenary is being celebrated on Sunday, June 23, so this is a wonderfully appropriate time to be recognising Market Weighton’s talented engineering daughter.”

Hilda was born in Market Weighton in 1896. Her father was Thomas Green Lyon, the proprietor of the town’s most prosperous grocers’ shop.

The shop still stands in the heart of Market Weighton, now McColls, where the Blue Plaque will be sited.

After hearing Hilda’s remarkable story in the Pocklington Post, Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies (YHACS) decided her achievements should be marked with a Blue Plaque.

The association also hopes the event will spark interest in reviving Market Weighton Civic Society, which has been semi-dormant for the last two years, under the stewardship of the YHACS committee.

The chairman of YHACS and acting chairman of Market Weighton Civic Society, Kevin Trickett, said: “When it was suggested that we put up a blue plaque, it was something we could agree to do with enthusiasm. It’s a great example of what civic societies across the country do on a regular basis.

“I’m grateful for the support we have had from the local community and others who are aware of Hilda Lyon’s achievements, including members of the Lyon family, some of whom will be present to witness the plaque being unveiled.”

Anyone who is interested in joining Market Weighton Civic Society and helping to form a committee should contact Kevin Trickett on info@yhacs.org.uk