Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Alexander Whitehead

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of Richmond and Ashtead, Surrey, Whitehead was an aircraft maker and planned a car

1888 Born[1] but it seems likely the name Alexander was not registered at his birth.

1901 Eliza Whitehead 38, lived in Oldham with John Whitehead 12, who was a worker connected with cotton (indistinct) and Frank Whitehead 2</ref>

1911 A John Whitehead married Eleanor Ethel Richards (b.1888) in Oldham[2] (they had a daughter, Edna May Whitehead in 1917 which fits with the 1939 register so maybe this is the same person)

In his youth, John Alexander Whitehead worked for the Aircraft Manufacturing Co (Airco) at Hendon.

Later, he emigrated but when WW1 commenced he returned to the UK

Using funds from his mother, Whitehead bought the old Richmond Drill Hall for his first premises. After building an initial batch of small B.E.2bs, he quickly secured a large contract to build Maurice Farman trainers.

He acquired Hanworth Park which became the site of Hanworth Aerodrome

1917 In financial difficulties, on the strength of the Sopwith contracts, the company acquired capital in the City to promote Whitehead Aircraft Ltd, with himself as managing director.

1917 John Alexander Whitehead of Grena Road, Richmond, was chairman of Whitehead Aircraft Ltd when it was reconstructed as Whitehead Aircraft (1917) Ltd[3]

1920 of Feltham and Richmond when he was made bankrupt[4]

1921 The company announced plans to produce 100,000 cars per annum.

1939 John Whitehead (b.1888) a mechanic, engine fitter at Gas Works, lived at Grena Road, Richmond, with Eleanor E Whitehead (b.1888), Edna Whitehead[5]

1950 John Whitehead died in Richmond, Surrey[6]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1939 register
  2. BMD
  3. The London Gazette 11 September 1917
  4. The London Gazette 2 November 1920
  5. 1939 register
  6. national probate calendar
  • A-Z of Cars of the 1920s by Nick Baldwin. 1994. ISBN 1 870979 53 2