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 163,139 pages of information and 245,599 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.

Frederick Handley Page

From Graces Guide

Frederick Handley Page, CBE, FRAeS (15 November 1885-21 April 1962) of Handley Page was an English industrialist who was a pioneer in the design and manufacture of aircraft.

1885 Born in Cheltenham[1], the son of Frederick Joseph Page, a furniture maker and Non-Conformist Minister of the Plymouth Brethren, and his wife, Ann Eliza (nee Handley).[2]

Educated at Cheltenham Grammar School

1902 At Finsbury Technical College for a three-year course in electrical engineering under Professor Silvanus Thompson.

1906 Appointed chief electrical designer at the engineering firm of Johnson and Phillips Ltd at Charlton.

1907 Joined the Aeronautical Society and helped José Weiss construct an automatically stable aeroplane.

1908 His employers were displeased with aviation experiments being conducted on their premises and dismissed him.

He set up in business himself, to construct aeroplanes.

1909 he moved to Barking, where he established Handley Page Ltd, the first British company registered specifically to manufacture aeroplanes.

To earn extra money he did some evening teaching at Finsbury Technical College

1911 joined the Northampton Polytechnic Institute at Clerkenwell as lecturer in aeronautics. There he installed a wind tunnel, thus combining practical course work with investigation of design problems at Barking.

1911 His first passenger-carrying monoplane flew across London in July

1912 Completed another two-seater which competed in military trials on Salisbury Plain.

1913 he moved to Cricklewood and his first biplane was demonstrated at Hendon during the following year.

WWI In response to demand from the Admiralty, Handley Page produced a large twin-engined bomber for the Royal Naval Air Service

1916 Founding member of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors.

1918 Produced a larger four-engined machine to bomb Berlin

1918 Handley Page was appointed CBE.

1918 He married Una Thynne (1890-1957); they had three daughters, Helen Anne, born on 5th November 1919 (m. Manley Walker, d. 2001); Phyllis (Elizabeth “Buffy”), on 10th December 1921 (m. Winfield, d. 1987), and Patricia (Mary), on 14th June 1923 (d. 1992).

1919 Formed Handley Page Transport Ltd to promote a civil air service to the continent.

1923 He initiated sandwich courses for his apprentices, in conjunction with Northampton Engineering College.

The aircraft manufacturing side of the business incurred massive losses and for a while Handley Page lost control of his company which was run, until 1924, by a chairman appointed by his creditors.

Frederick Handley Page himself gained financially from his invention of the slotted wing, receiving £100,000 from the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors. Together with the company he was also awarded £3,500 by the Commission in respect of communication to the US government of inventions, designs, etc in relation to aircraft and aircraft accessories, specifically the O-type biplane[3]

Handley Page Ltd also produced civil aircraft, including the H.P.42, flagship of the Imperial Airways fleet and remarkable at the time for no passenger deaths.

1939 Elected as a fellow of the City and Guilds of London Institute

WWII Handley Page Ltd produced a series of military aircraft, including the Halifax bomber, of which around 7,000 were produced.

WWII Page was the uncle of the World War II flying ace Geoffrey Page.

1942 knighted for his contribution to the war effort.

Post-WWII: produced the first post-war civil airliner, the Hermes, and later the Victor bomber but by the 1950s the viability of the small independent aircraft producer was under serious threat.

1946 With Sir Roy Fedden, contributed to the establishment of the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield.

Refused to merge his company with other groups under the plan proposed by the Minister of Defence.

1962 Died at home in London; his company was the only remaining major independent aircraft manufacturer.

1962 Obituary [4]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
  2. , Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915
  3. The Times, Jan 13, 1925
  4. The Engineer 1962 Jan-Jun: Index
  • [1]Wikipedia
  • Biography of Sir Frederick Handley Page