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I was speaking to an old chap in our village the other day who told me there used to be an aerodrome and aircraft manufacturer in Loughborough : he couldn't recall the name but told me they made seaplanes (hardly seems practical!) and were based where the new 3M building is.
Anyone know anymore?
31-08-08, 06:01 PM
If anyone knows the answer to that it will be Tony! I'm sure he will help you out.
Loughborough had two airfields at different times.
Loughborough Meadows were used to fly out aircraft built by the Brush Electrical Engineering Company in WW1.
Aircraft built were Farman 'Longhorns', Avro 504C anti- Zeppelin Fighter, Avro 504K trainers and one single Farman Astral bomber.
Not flown from here were Anti-U boat Seaplanes of Types short 184 and 829. these were crated and sent by rail.
Brush built de Havilland DH89 Dominies in WW2 (pic on the Members galleries).
Many of these were civilianised as Dragon Rapides post war and a number survive today (see our WIKI for surviving Brush products).
The Dominies Fuselages were towed to Derby Road airfield for final assembly.
Loughborough Derby Road
This airfield was built on the site of a former horse racing track and had a repair facility during WW2 and the Loughborough Colleges hanger.
Aircraft included Boston/Maurauder bombers one of which crashed at Dishley.
The Brush assy line was off Swingbridge Lane. kinchbus now occupy the site.
It interesting to note that the Hawker Hurricane IV preserved at the Birmingham Think Tank (KX929) is an ex Loughborough College aircraft.
In addition to the Dominies Brush also built Lancaster wing ans fuselage sections, repaired Hapden Bombers (including the one in which Sgt. Hannah won his Victoria Cross. Some work was also carried out early in WW2 on albermarle bomber components.
Local firms including Clemersons and the College built aircraft components.
Hope this is some interest
Thanks for the info Tony, will have a look round for photos.
09-04-09, 11:02 AM
The main 3M building on Derby Road was actually built around the structure of one of the old hangars. If you look at its shape then you will see the 'hangar' within ! This was because Riker Laboratories - as it was then - were not allowed to put a new building up, so the hangar structure was used and re clad and rebuilt inside (I was working there as the conversion was being completed and for many years after that). An advantage of using a hangar was that there were no internal roof supports. There was another hangar on the site - over where the car park and security building to 3M is now - Riker used it as a warehouse until it was demolished in the late 60's or early 70's.
I remember seeing the runway to the aerodrome (or maybe it was an access road ?) as a kid when walking over the site - probably in the very late 50's. Of course the Aerodrome runway areas were changed to football pitches etc. and I played there many times for Toothill Rangers from 1966 onwards. The sports pitches have now been moved over towards Hathern of course, but I can clearly remember playing on the pitch where Barclays Bank is now.
The Shuttleworth Collection's Mark Vc Spitfire AR501 was built by Westland Aircraft at Yeovil and was issued to No. 310 (Czech) Squadron at Duxford in 1942. AR501 is painted today in the markings it wore during this time. While serving with No. 310 Squadron, AR501 escorted many USAAF B17 and B24 bombers, indeed AR501 may well have escorted the famous B17 'Memphis Belle'. AR501 was later taken on the strength of the RAF's Central Gunnery School and was used postwar by Loughborough College as an instructional airframe. It was transferred to The Shuttleworth Collection in 1961 and was restored to flying condition for the film 'The Battle of Britain'. It was stored for a while after filming, until restoration to authentic wartime condition was carried out by a volunteer team at Duxford. It is the only Spitfire in the world still flying with an original de Havilland three blade propeller. Over the winter of 2000/2001 AR501 was repainted and elliptical wingtips were refitted, returning the aircraft to the condition in which it was delivered to 310 Squadron. Height: 9ft 11in Length: 29ft 11in Wingspan: 32ft 2in Engine: one 1440hp Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 Armament: four 0.303in Browning machine guns two 20mm cannon.
Great piece of research about the Spitfire..
A few years ago I visited Loughborough University to see the Jaguar and Jet Provost. These have both gone and the faclity resited (and gained a Eurofighter). The old site had a few pieces of the Siskin that was one of the Derby Road airfield College aircraft. Dont know if these relics survive. Perhaps anyone from the University who reads these threads could check this out.
Hi, I saw a photo of a Handley Page Halifax in a copy of the Echo a few years ago. It had over-run the runway on delivery to Loughborough for the Loughborough Technical College. This must have been the biggest aircraft to have landed at Loughborough and perhaps it was a bit too big for the runway !! Cheers Paul
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