Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 162,842 pages of information and 245,375 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.

William Verdon Smith

From Graces Guide

Sir William Verdon Smith (c1877-1957) of the Imperial Tramways Co, Bristol Aeroplane Co and Bristol Tramways and Carriage Co

nephew of Sir George White, brother to Henry White-Smith.


1957 Obituary [1]

WE record with regret the death last Tuesday of Sir William Verdon Smith, C.B.E., at the age of eighty.

After losing his father when he was thirteen, he worked with his uncles in a stock-broking firm: on the death of one of them in 1916 he became managing director of Bristol Tramways.

Soon after the Great War he extended the services into the surrounding country with motor buses.

In 1927 he succeeded his other uncle as chairman of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, Ltd., and held that post until he retired in June, 1955. During this time the company expanded immensely: at the beginning of it the radial air-cooled aero-engine was adopted and, by applying the principle of the single valve sleeve to this, engines of high efficiency and long overhaul life were developed. The last Bristol piston engine, the eighteen-cylinder "Centaurus," is still in use for civil and military transport aircraft.

The aircraft division of the company concentrated principally on military aircraft, and during the second world war produced numerous machines to its own designs: the "Beaufighter" is still in use with the Royal Air Force.

After the war the company took up the manufacture of helicopters and of motorcars: it also began to build civil aircraft, both a small passenger/freight machine and the largest British land-plane to date, the "Brabazon." Utilising the free turbine engines which the company advocated from the first, passenger-carrying machines are now the main product.

Sir William was knighted in 1946: he is survived by a son and daughter and his second wife.


See Also

Loading...

Sources of Information