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British Industrial History

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Short Brothers (Rochester and Bedford)

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September 1925.
1926. Omnibus with body of light-alloy members
November 1927.
August 1928.
May 1929.
1930. Ref AA below
December 1939.

Seaplane and aircraft builders, Coach builders of Rochester, Bedford and London.

1916 Short Brothers concentrated on the construction of heavier-than-air aeroplanes in the Isle of Sheppey/Rochester area, whilst balloon and dirigible construction was concentrated at Cardington. The housing estate built by the company in Cardington to house its employees still bears the name Shortstown.

1919 The Short Brothers partnership was incorporated as Short Brothers (Rochester and Bedford) Limited with Oswald Short as chairman and joint managing director

1919 Nationalisation ended the Short Brothers' involvement with the airship company, which became the Royal Airship Works.

1926 Built a fleet of six 14-seat omnibus for Maidstone and District Motor Services including the first all metal body omnibus. Full article see [1]

1932 Oswald became sole managing director on Eustace Short's death.

1933 Constructors of seaplanes, aeroplanes and flying boats. Head Office and Works: Seaplane Works, Rochester. London Office: Whitehall House, 41 Whitehall, S.W.1.[2]

1935 Public company incorporated; principally involved in manufacture of large flying boats for civil and military purposes[3]

1936 Short Brothers (Rochester and Bedford) and Harland and Wolff agreed to form a new company to build aircraft in Belfast; Shorts would own 60 percent of the company; the shares would be distributed to existing shareholders[4]. The company was named Short and Harland.

1938 First flight of the innovative Short-Mayo composite aircraft.

20 July: The first "heavier than air" commercial crossing of the North Atlantic took place using the Short-Mayo composite - Imperial Airways's Short S20 floatplane G-ADHJ was launched from the Short S21 flying boat G-ADHK near Foynes and flew non-stop to Montreal, a distance of 2,930 miles in 20 hours 20 minutes. The return flight was via the Azores and Lisbon.

1939 Established Kent Alloys Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary, to handle the company's activities in non-ferrous metal casting[5]

1943 Company nationalized[6]; after much delay it was decided that the price should be the mid-market price before the announcement[7] but many shareholders disputed this and went to arbitration.

1946 The arbitrator decided a much higher price would have been appropriate[8] but this was overturned on appeal[9]

1947 Decided to concentrate its activities at Belfast. Short and Harland Ltd changed their name to Short Brothers and Harland and decide to acquire parts of Short Brothers (Rochester and Bedford) which was then liquidated[10]. Oswald Short became Life President of the new company.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1926/08/20 p 206
  2. 1933 Who's Who in British Aviation
  3. The Times, Oct 18, 1935
  4. The Times, May 20, 1936
  5. The Times, Dec 13, 1939
  6. The Times, Mar 23, 1943
  7. The Times, Jun 02, 1943
  8. The Times, Dec 03, 1946
  9. The Times, Jan 18, 1947
  10. The Times, Nov 06, 1947