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Blackburn Aircraft

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blackburn Aircraft Limited
IndustryAviation, aircraft engines
FateAcquisition and merger
SuccessorHawker Siddeley Group
FounderRobert Blackburn
HeadquartersBrough, Yorkshire
Key people
Barry Laight

Blackburn Aircraft Limited was a British aircraft manufacturer that concentrated mainly on naval and maritime aircraft during the first part of the 20th century.


Blackburn Aircraft was founded by Robert Blackburn, who built his first aircraft in Leeds in 1908 with the company's Olympia Works at Roundhay opening in 1914.[1][2]

The Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company was created in 1914[3] and established in a new factory at Brough, East Riding of Yorkshire in 1916.[4] Robert's brother Norman Blackburn later became managing director.

Blackburn acquired the Cirrus-Hermes Engineering company in 1934, beginning its manufacture of aircraft engines. However an updated range of engines was under development and Blackburn wanted to wait until it was established before giving its name to them, so Cirrus Hermes Engineering was retained as a separate company for the time being.[5]

The company's name was changed to Blackburn Aircraft Limited in 1936.[6]

In 1937, with the new Cirrus engines now well established, engine manufacturing was brought into the parent company as an operating division, giving rise to the Blackburn Cirrus name.[7]

By 1937, pressure to re-arm was growing and the Yorkshire factory was approaching capacity. A fortuitous friendship between Maurice Denny, managing director of Denny Bros., the Dumbarton ship building company,[8] and Robert Blackburn resulted in the building of a new Blackburn factory at Barge Park, Dumbarton where production of the Blackburn Botha commenced in 1939.[9]

Blackburn amalgamated with General Aircraft Limited in 1949 as Blackburn and General Aircraft Limited,[10] reverting to Blackburn Aircraft Limited by 1958.

As part of the rationalisation of British aircraft manufacturers, its aircraft production and engine operations were absorbed into Hawker Siddeley and Bristol Siddeley respectively[3] in 1960/1961. The Blackburn name was dropped completely in 1963.[11]

An American company, Blackburn Aircraft Corp., was incorporated in Detroit on 20 May 1929 to acquire design and patent rights of the aircraft of Blackburn Airplane & Motor Co., Ltd. in the USA. It was owned 90% by Detroit Aircraft Corp. and 10% by Blackburn Airplane & Motor Co., Ltd. Agreements covered such rights in North and South America, excepting Brazil and certain rights in Canada and provided that all special tools and patterns were to be supplied by the UK company at cost.


The company had factories at Olympia in Leeds, Sherburn-in-Elmet, Brough (East Yorkshire) and Dumbarton. In the early days, Blackburn himself flew aircraft on the beaches at Marske and Filey,[12] with the company also using the former RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor.[13] Before production shifted to Sherburn-in-Elmet and Brough from the Leeds site, aircraft were flown in and out of Olympia works by an adjacent airstrip in Roundhay Park.[14]


Blackburn Beverley photographed in 1964. The type served the RAF as a heavy lift transport between 1955 and 1967. A total of 47 were built
Blackburn Beverley photographed in 1964. The type served the RAF as a heavy lift transport between 1955 and 1967. A total of 47 were built

The company also produced aircraft from other aircraft companies specifications such as the Sopwith Cuckoo (1918)[24] and the Fairey Swordfish (1942), both of which were built at Blackburn's Sherburn-in-Elmet factory.[25][26]

Piston engines

Gas turbine engines (with Turbomeca)

See also

Related lists


  1. ^ "Roundhay Ward Neighbourhood Design Statement" (PDF). October 2010. p. 9. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  2. ^ Fraser, Derek (1980). "VI: Industrial Development, 1780–1914". The History of Modern Leeds. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 164. ISBN 0-7190-0781-X.
  3. ^ a b "Unsung hero who reached for the sky gets another chance to fly high again". The Yorkshire Post. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  4. ^ Mistry, Pritti (1 March 2012). "End of an era for Brough workers". BBC News. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  5. ^ The Times, 9 July 1937.
  6. ^ The Times, 3 April 1936.
  7. ^ Bridgman 1943, p. 10d.
  8. ^ a b c d Bridgman 1943, p. 12c.
  9. ^ Sherry, Alan M. (1996). The Blackburn, Dumbarton's Aircraft Factory. Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing. pp. 9–10. ISBN 9781872074825.
  10. ^ Halpenny 1982, p. 33.
  11. ^ "Historic bi-plane in flying visit". BBC News. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  12. ^ "Memories of flight legend". Filey & Hunmanby Mercury. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  13. ^ a b Abraham 2002, p. 109.
  14. ^ "Roundhay Park (Leeds) - Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust UK". Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Blackburn, Robert (22 May 1995). "Obituary: Jessica Blackburn". The Independent. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  16. ^ Mason, Francis K. (1994). The British Bomber Since 1914. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books. p. 28. ISBN 0-85177-861-5.
  17. ^ a b c d Gunston, Bill (2005). World encyclopedia of aircraft manufacturers : from the pioneers to the present day (2 ed.). Stroud: Sutton. p. 61. ISBN 0-7509-3981-8.
  18. ^ Halpenny 1982, p. 32.
  19. ^ Halpenny 1982, pp. 32–33.
  20. ^ Buttler, page 301.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Buttler, page 302.
  22. ^ Stemp, PD, 2010. Kites, Birds & Stuff - BLACKBURN Aircraft. Lulu Publishing.
  23. ^ a b c Buttler, page 303.
  24. ^ Halpenny 1982, p. 170.
  25. ^ "History in the making as war plane returns to Leeds 74 years on". Yorkshire Evening Post. 19 September 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  26. ^ Stott, Ian G (1971). The Fairey Swordfish Mks. I-IV. Windsor: Profile Publications. pp. 24 25. OCLC 53091961.


  • Abraham, Barry (2002). Post-War Yorkshire Airfields. Stroud: Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-2390-8.
  • Bridgman, Leonard (1943). Jane's all the world's aircraft, 1942. New York: Sampson, Low, Marston & Co. OCLC 26177288.
  • Buttler, Tony (2017). British Secret Projects : Jet Fighters since 1950 ( 2nd edition) (Hardback). Manchester: Crecy Publishing. ISBN 978-1-910-80905-1.
  • Halpenny, Bruce Barrymore (1982). Action Stations 4; Military Airfields of Yorkshire. Cambridge: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 0-85059-532-0.
  • Otter, Patrick (2003). Yorkshire Airfields in the Second World War (4 ed.). Newbury: Countryside Books. ISBN 1-85306-542-0.

External links

This page was last edited on 7 January 2021, at 05:39
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