Images of Industry

Charles Horace Watkins with his monoplane, the Robin Gôch

photographer unknown

Charles Horace Watkins with his monoplane, the Robin Gôch

Date: circa 1910

Media: photograph

Size: 110 x 165 mm

Acquired: 1998; Gift

Accession Number: 1998.1/5

The original Robin Gôch is on display at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

Comments (9)

Janie Watkins
18 October 2020, 00:32
Charles (Horace) was my Great Uncle. Sadly I never met him but it is wonderful to hear other people's memories and to see any photos and stories they might have.
The Watkins family originally came from Swansea with Horace's branch of the family setting up a branch of the Watkins Printing Co. at North Road Swansea. The Swansea branch was run by Howell Watkins JP, who was mayor of Swansea in 1896.
Jacqueline Richards
13 September 2018, 17:53
I believe my father lead the team that rebuilt the mono plane at RAF St Athan. I remember him talking about it and I have a few photographs of them working on it. There is also a photograph of Mr Watkins himself.

Coincidentally, my late husband lived in Column Road, Cardiff and remembers Charles Watkins.

I have two copies of Mr Watkins' post card, one given to my father and one to my husband. They are both signed. My husband's copy has a lot of information about the plane on the back such as span, length, take off distance, landing speed, cruising speed, etc.

What are the chances of a person coming into possession of one, let alone two copies of this unusual treasure?
Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
22 June 2018, 11:12

Thank you for your comment, Owen - it sounds like Mr Watkins remains quite an inspiration!

I hope you enjoy your visit - and thanks again for sharing your memories of our museums and this trailblazing aviator.

Happy gliding

Digital Team

owen elias
20 June 2018, 20:22
I met Mr Watkins during the war when, as an air cadet, I visited an aviation exhibition at the National museum, Cardiff He explained how he made the engine, which I found incredible at the time.
I remember him as a quiet modest man.
Many years later I read that Robin Goch was under restoration at RAF St Athan
I hope to visit Swansea Museum this year to see it.
I started gliding last year at 89 and am still progressing - my aeronautical ambitions now being achieved!
Anthony Burt
22 July 2016, 23:44
Two houses down from my grandparents (Thomas David Rees and Eleanor Wilcox), who lived on Colum Road, I met Mr. Watkins, known to me as "Uncle" Watkins. This was during the period 1960 to 1963 when we would visit my grandparents while living in Sutton Coldfield. I did have a photo of his plane but I fear the photo was damaged and destroyed in a flood in our basement a few years back. Inside Mr Watkins' front room was a "death ray" with which he managed to scorch a hole in the wallpaper from several feet away. As for the plane, I was lead to believe he was the first person to fly over Cardiff. He was certainly an inventive sort!

Thank you
Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
4 May 2016, 09:27

What an amazing photograph and story too - thanks for leaving a comment!

There is some fascinating history to early aviation in south Wales and the museum is proud to represent it in our collections.

Thanks again for getting in touch

Digital Team

3 May 2016, 23:38
When I was a boy about 1957 I used to collect and deliver repaired shoes. I lived in Herbert St. Maindy at the time. Part of my route was along Column Rd. Mr Watkins used to talk to me and told me he had an aeroplane in his garage. After a few months he invited me to cycle around to the back of his house to see the aeroplane. It was suspended in parts from the rafters. I told my father who had lived in Maindy since 1898. He remembered the plane and it flying in a field next to the railway. He told me that some trains going past stopped to see the aeroplane.
Mr Watkins met with my dad a nd talked about the plane.
At that time I beLonged to archeology club at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff and I told them about the aeroplane. They were very interested and talked to Mr Watkins and my father. I am glad the plane has found a home even if it is in Swansea
Jack Jenkins
22 October 2015, 13:25
I've recently discovered I'm living in the same place he lived and died, crazy to think he used to walk around the same house as me.
Janice (Watkins) Jones
4 December 2014, 01:47
I have visited Y Robin Goch in the Museum in Swansea - and am amazed at the fragile appearance while knowing that my first cousin (thrice removed) actually flew this contraption!! The very thought of soaring over Swansea, seated in a dining-room chair is, as my grandchildren would put it, "Awesome!"
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