Testing and Manufacturing of the de Havilland Aircraft ([ 1958 - 1961 ])

1958 - Photo Album of de Havilland Aircraft - UK

Hatfield and Lostock Aviation Factories

Date: [ 1958 - 1961 ]

Hatfield, Lostock, 1958-1961. Album of photographs recording the works of de Havilland Aircraft Company, with photographs taken at Hatfield in Hertfordshire, in the Lostock production warehouse, and some at London Heathrow Airport, produced by the corporate photographer whose office was at the ee Havilland Headquarters in Lostock. Contains 411 gelatin silver print photographs and 5 small negative proof photographs, numbered and captioned in manuscript, some dated, mounted in series onto grey cardstock leaves, plus 1 additional large photograph loosely placed within. A handful are duplicates, and some views are similar, being taken in a series. Large Oblong Folio two-post album measuring approximately 44,5 x 32,5 x 4 cm, beige cloth boards, titled to front "Public Relations General Photographs". Photographs vary in size, the majority measuring approximately 10 x 12 cm, some measuring approximately 5,5 x 6 cm. The unmounted photograph is the largest at 16,5 x 22 cm and bears the stamp of the de Havilland photographic department at headquarters in Lostock, to verso. The proof prints measure 2,5 x 3 cm. An official viewing of de Havilland Aircraft Company's manufacturing and testing facilities, then state-of-the-art aviation equipment, and daily operations, is presented in a generous album of photographs from which the firm would have selected the very best for publicity. The album is largely centered at the Hatfield facility, where numerous important and experimental projects were undertaken, and when proven successful, would result in manufacturing at Lostock. Propellers are the first thing illustrated, including the 18-foot C.160, a model made by Napier Eland, the propeller designed for the Vickers Vanguard airliner, as well as the American made Convair unit. De Havilland was the first to examine the Vanguard propellers for safety in 1958, and one of the photographs herein shows propellers damaged in crash. Following these, are six images showing the Tyne/Vanguard propeller in the development stages, being mounted and tested on British aircraft. A page stamped "Classified" captures the inner workings of production at Lostock, whereas at Hatfield, active working scenes show the Transistor Inverter Lab, and nineteen photographs taken in July 1960 provide the rare opportunity to observe the installation of a Gnome Engine in a wind tunnel. Eight views show the altitude test chamber. Also at Hatfield, we find two views of a helicopter test platform, a demonstration of a hydraulic pump manufactured by Iangyes Limited, a hand pistol mounted on the wing of a small fighter plane, men working in various test laboratories, and an apprentice works on a firestreak. Sixty-one photographs provide a tour of the Hatfield Environmental Test Facility. A German delegate evidently visited Hartfied in July 1961, seen herein. An extensive series of images illustrates step-by-step the arduous process of shipping an aircraft overseas, in this case two Sea Vixen being dismantled and packed up Christchurch Airfield in Dorset, transported to the Southampton docks, ultimately bound for Australia onboard SS Ballrat. [Initially produced by de Havilland, designed at the Hatfield facility, this aircraft was known as the Hawker Siddeley Sea Vixen after de Havilland became a part of the Hawker Siddeley group in 1960.] British test pilot Alfred William "Bill" Bedford is seen in a photograph captioned "Hawker Siddeley 1127 first flight. Bedford. 14-3-61." [On 15 July 1960, the first "P.1127 Prototype V/STOL Strike Aircraft", serial XP831, was delivered to RAF Dunsfold, Surrey, to commence static engine testing. Bill Bedford would be the first to fly the aircraft. The first conventional flight of the P.1127 prototypes occurred on 13 March 1961, again with serial XP831. On 12 September 1961, the first successful transition from vertical to conventional flight was also performed at Dunsfold and piloted by Bill Bedford.] Aerial views show de Havilland factories at Stevenage, Portsmouth, Christchurch, and the Hatfield test site. Established in 1920 by Geoffrey de Havilland, at Stag Lane Aerodrome Edgware on the outskirts of north London, De Havilland Aircraft Company Limited was a British aviation manufacturer. Known for its innovation, de Havilland were responsible for a number of important aircraft, including the Moth biplane which revolutionised general aviation in the 1920s, as well as the 1930s Fox Moth, and the wooden World War II Mosquito light bomber, and the passenger jet service pioneering Comet. Operations were later moved to Hatfield in Hertfordshire, where in 1930 pioneering aircraft designer and the company's founder Geoffrey de Havilland purchased land. Flying commenced in 1930; the clubhouse buildings and adjacent recreational facilities, fuel pumps and sheds were completed in 1933; in 1934 significant works were undertaken at the site with a large factory and imposing administration buildings were constructed together with a flying school which also housed flying control. Later, an experimental block was added to the north of the factory. Production of aircraft was subsequently moved from Stag Lane to Hatfield, which at the time mainly consisted of a range of small biplanes. The de Havilland Aircraft Company was acquired by Hawker Siddeley in 1960, and the de Havilland name ceased to be used in 1963.

Age-toning and wear to boards, otherwise in Very Good Condition.


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