Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,372 pages of information and 233,518 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Hanworth Aerodrome

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of Feltham, also known as London Air Park, the first airport in Middlesex

c.1916 John Alexander Whitehead, of Whitehead Aircraft Co purchased Hanworth Park, plus an area northwest of the park. The Longford River was partly culverted and covered, to allow aircraft to taxi over it. Large factory buildings and assembly sheds were constructed to accommodate production of an order from Sopwith Aviation Company of Kingston upon Thames.

The original company was taken over by Whitehead Aviation Construction Co Ltd, that later became Whitehead Aircraft (1917) Ltd. The first Pups were flown from Hanworth aerodrome in early 1917.

1917 the aerodrome was officially designated an Aircraft Acceptance Park, a location where aircraft were finally assembled and tested before delivery to RFC squadrons.

1917 the Whitehead Flying School was formed

1919 final aircraft production was of 500 Airco D.H.9s.

1928 National Flying Services Ltd was formed, under a proposal by the Hon Frederick Guest for a central organisation to co-ordinate a national network of flying clubs and aerodromes.

1929 National Flying Services developed Hanworth Park as a functional aerodrome, renamed London Air Park.

1930 National Flying Services started operating Desoutters for air-taxi and charter work.

1931 On 18 August, the German airship Graf Zeppelin visited Hanworth

1932 Cierva Autogiro Co moved most of its UK final assembly, testing and sales from Hamble to Hanworth. It also operated the Cierva autogiro flying school.

1932 the British government withdrew its subsidy from the flying services.

1933 the British Klemm Aeroplane Co Ltd was formed, and produced aircraft in rented premises in the northeast section of the former Whitehead factory.

1934 National Flying Services closed. The flying club re-formed as the London Air Park Flying Club.

1934 General Aircraft moved to Hanworth

1934 London Air Park was taken over from General Aircraft by the London Flying Syndicate which planned to improve the facilities[1]

1935 British Klemm was renamed British Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd

c.1936 Flying Training Ltd established to train RAF and Reserve pilots

WWII Construction of Fairey Fireflys, Hamicar Gliders and many other planes at the airfield.

1944 The freehold of Hanworth Aerodrome was acquired by London Flying Syndicate[2]

Post WWII Some production activity continued but the Hanworth factory and airfield were too small

1946 Heathrow came into use as the principal London Airport, and for several years flights at Hanworth were subject to Heathrow air traffic clearance, eventually growing to delays of several hours

Within a few years fixed-wing flights had ceased.

1956 Feltham Urban District Council purchased Hanworth Park; the factory was taken over by Thorn (or was it EMI?).

Today the Air Park is used by the public for recreation. Some of the hangers are still visible.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jan 08, 1935
  2. The Times, Sep 01, 1944
  • BBC Domesday [1]
  • Wikipedia [2]