Sir Hiram Maxim prior to building the Captive Flying Machine. Also built the first powered flying machine and gave rides on it in 1894. 9 years before the Wright brothers flew in 1903.
Maxim built, a huge, 100 foot wingspan biplane in Crayford Kent. It was powered by two lightweight, steam engines that he'd designed for it. Each one generated in the neighborhood of 160 or 180 horsepower. He began flight tests in 1894. On the third try he powered the plane up to 40 mph. It left its track, flew about 200 feet, and crashed. Soon after Maxim built the captive flying machine as a fairground attraction and to study aerofoils
Hiram Maxim became a naturalized British subject and was knighted in 1901. Shortly afterwards he left Baldwyns Park and moved to 'Rycrofts', a house at Dulwich Common. In 1908 he designed a new flying machine, which he had built the following year. This machine looked airworthy, but under test it was beset with problems, so the project was abandoned. The engine of this machine was finally wrecked during trials undertaken at Joyce Green, Dartford in 1910.
Sir Hiram Maxim died on 24th November 1916, bringing to a close a very full and eventful life. Towards the end of his life, he was asked about the lack of monuments to his work at Baldwyns Park. He replied that the authorities had demonstrated their appreciation by building the largest, finest and best-equipped lunatic asylum in the world there!