Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,364 pages of information and 245,906 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co

From Graces Guide
1911. Ref AA below
1914. Ref AA below
1916. Ref AA below
1917. Ref AA below
1917. Ref AA below
1918. Ref AA below
1923. Ref AA below
1924. Ref AA below
1924. Ref AA below
1924. Ref AA below
1924. Ref AA below
1924. Ref AA below
Pre 1930s. Blackburn Aircraft Badge.
November 1932.
Dec 1939.
1942. Pneumatic press for pipe bending.
August 1943.
Jan 1945.
August 1945.
July 1949. (Flight 1949/07/28)
June 1959.
A 'tool check' issued to shop floor workers.

Blackburn were makers of aircraft and engines of Brough, Yorkshire

Blackburn Cirrus engines, of Brough, East Yorkshire. Telephone: Brough 121. Telegraphic Address: "Ocirruso, Broughyorks". (1937)


1908 Robert Blackburn built his first aircraft.

1914 Blackburn set up a company, Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co, to build aeroplanes; moved to premises at the Olympia Roller-Skating Rink, Roundhay Road, Leeds, where they remained until 1929

1916 A new factory was built at Brough, East Riding of Yorkshire.

1920-26 Built bus bodywork

1921 The company supplied its first torpedo bomber equipment to the Fleet Air Arm.

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.

By 1933 all of the aircraft production was at Brough

1933 Constructors of all types of land and see aircraft and components. Head Office and Works, Brough, East Yorkshire. London Office: Amberley House, Norfolk Street, Strand, London W.C.2.[1]

1933 Advertisement in Who's Who in British Aviation.

1936 Public company incorporated: Blackburn Aircraft Ltd[2]. This acquired the 2 existing companies of Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co, and North Sea Aerial and General Transport[3] but the directors decided not to bring Cirrus Hermes Engineering Co, an associated company, into the group at that time because its new products (engines) were still in the development phase[4]. The company specialised in naval aircraft and flying boats.

1936 Agreement with William Denny and Brothers to establish a factory at Dumbarton to build aircraft which would be managed for Blackburn by Denny[5]

1937 Aircraft designers, constructors and operators. [6]

1937 Through the acquisition of the Cirrus-Hermes company, Blackburn started producing aircraft engines - the Blackburn Cirrus range.

1938 Acquired the shares not already owned in London Air Syndicate which controlled the flying rights for the London Air Park[7]. Another flying school was established at Sherburn-in-Elmet.

WWII : built the Skua dive bomber for the Navy, the Roc and the Botha, but much of the production was of aircraft designed by others including the Sunderland flying boat, the Swordfish and Barracuda. Also considerable amounts of work adapting American aircraft and repairing aircraft.

post-War: started building aluminium houses at Dumbarton at the request of the Ministry of Aircraft Production; also started building the Firebrand, a new naval strike aircraft[8]

1949 The company amalgamated with General Aircraft as Blackburn and General Aircraft as part of a post-war move to consolidate aircraft manufacturing. Reduction in demand for Percival Prentice aircraft and for Cirrus engines which were used in light aircraft. Subsidiary Humberside Agricultural Products Co Ltd delivered its first tractor[9]

1950 Board-room splits left the company without a permanent managing director for some time. The Feltham factory was closed and work moved to Brough. The Universal freighter had its first flight. Future work at Dumbarton was put in question because of change in government policy about building houses[10]

1951 Acquired Thomas Green and Son of Leeds, maker of lawn mowers and road rollers[11]

1953 Production of the Beverley, the military counterpart of the Universal, was being ramped up for the RAF. The flying school was shut because of change in policy for service training[12]

1956 Acquired Jowett, which had been a maker of cars[13]. One third of Group turnover came from sources other than the Government[14]

1958 Beverley production ended; the N.A.39 was only just at the prototype stage[15]. Set up separate unit to make and sell electronic equipment for industrial applications, making use of the experience of the company's electronics department[16]

1959 The group was renamed Blackburn Group - 3 new operating subsidiaries were created[17]:

together with existing subsidiaries[18]:

as well as an associated company: Megator Pumps and Compressors

1960 Absorbed into Hawker Siddeley as part of the rationalisation of British aircraft manufacturers

1961 Aircraft designers and manufacturers

1963 The Blackburn name was dropped completely.


See Blackburn Aircraft.


1919 Produced a small number of luxury cars.

1956 The company acquired Jowett


1937 Blackburn acquired the Cirrus Hermes Engineering Co from which was came the Blackburn Cirrus range of aircraft engines. The earliest Cirrus engine had been developed by the Aircraft Disposal Co as the first light-aircraft engine. After Blackburns took over manufacture of the Cirrus range, they produced a modified range of engines which were built in large numbers. By 1952 the Major series II gave up to 150 h.p., the Cirrus Minor had half the capacity of the Major and was used to power early Austers.

c.1936 The Hercules passed its first civil type-test. Nearly 58,000 of these engines were built between 1939-45

1945 A completely new Centaurus range was developed from the Hercules for peace-time use, principally for civil and military transport aircraft.

1945 the Cirrus Engine division started to develop a new series of low- and medium-powered in-line engines featuring fuel injection. The first of the series was the Bombardier, a four-cylinder unsupercharged, air-cooled unit of about the same capacity as the earlier Cirrus Major. The valves were actuated by an overhead camshaft with a vertical drive at the front of the engine. The crankcase was formed from a number of castings in magnesium alloy.

1959 The engine operation was incorporated in a new subsidiary company Blackburn Engines

See Also


Sources of Information

  • The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing) by J. M. Bruce. Published in 1982. ISBN 0-370-30084-x
  • Flight Archive Cirrus
  • The Encyclopedia of British Military Aircraft by Chaz Bowyer. Published in 1982. ISBN 1-85841-031-2
  • [1] Wikipedia
  1. 1933 Who's Who in British Aviation
  2. The Times Apr 03, 1936
  3. The Times, Thursday, Apr 02, 1936
  4. The Times, Jul 09, 1937
  5. The Times, Nov 07, 1936
  6. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  7. The Times, Jul 16, 1938
  8. The Times Sep 11, 1945
  9. The Times , Jan 08, 1949
  10. The Times, Dec 06, 1950
  11. The Times, Sep 11, 1951
  12. The Times, Sep 01, 1953
  13. The Times (London, England), Saturday, Sep 24, 1955
  14. The Times, Jul 31, 1956
  15. The Times, Jul 21, 1958
  16. The Times, Nov 20, 1958
  17. The Times Apr 01, 1959
  18. The Times, Aug 06, 1959