Frederick Handley Page (15 November 1885 – 21 April 1962)

From Wikipedia:

“Frederick Handley Page (later Sir Frederick) founded Handley Page Limited on 17 June, 1909. The British aerospace manufacturer was the United Kingdom’s first publicly traded aircraft manufacturing company. It went into voluntary liquidation and ceased to exist in 1970. The company, based at Radlett Aerodrome in Hertfordshire, was noted for its pioneering role in aviation history and for producing heavy bombers and large airliners.

Frederick Handley Page first experimented with and built several biplanes and monoplanes at premises in Woolwich, Fambridge and Barking Creek.

In 1912, Handley Page established an aircraft factory at Cricklewood after moving from Barking. Aircraft were built there, and flown from the company’s adjacent airfield known as Cricklewood Aerodrome, which was later used by Handley Page Transport. The factory was later sold off to Oswald Stoll and converted into Britain’s largest film studios, Cricklewood Studios.

The construction of aircraft at Cricklewood continued until 1964 (when the premises were sold to become the Cricklewood trading estate). During the First World War, Handley Page produced a series of heavy bombers for the Royal Navy to bomb the German Zeppelin yards…

With the Second World War looming, Handley Page turned back to bomber design and produced the HP.52 Hampden, which took part in the first British raid on Berlin. In response to a 1936 government request for heavier, longer ranged aircraft, Handley Page tendered the HP.56 design powered by twin Rolls-Royce Vultures and this was ordered, along with what became the Avro Manchester. However the Vulture proved so troublesome that – years before the engine was abandoned by Rolls-Royce in 1940 – the Air Staff decided that the HP.56 should be fitted with four engines instead. Therefore, before reaching prototype stage, the HP.56 design was reworked into the four-engined HP.57 Halifax…”

Extracted from Leavesden Aerodrome: From Halifaxes to Hogwarts (2011) by Richard Riding and Grant Peerless:

“Luckily the Halifax had been designed on the split-construction principle, originated and developed by Handley Page, which divided the aircraft into major sections, each of which could be sub-divided and manufactured at dispersed shadow factories. This system was ideally suited to the inexperienced LAPG.

The London Aircraft Production Group was led and coordinated by the London Passenger Transport Board (LT, Chiswick & Aldenham: fuselage/wing centres) between 1940 and 1945 to produce Handley Page Halifax heavy bomber aircraft.

The other members of the Group were:

Chrysler Motors Ltd.: rear fuselages;

Duple (Hendon): front fuselages;

Express Motor and Body Works (Enfield): intermediate wings/tail units;

and Park Royal Coach works (Neasden): outer wings/engine cowlings.

All of the selected companies were situated on or close to main roads in the North and North West areas of London, with the exception of Chrysler whose factory was just south of the River Thames at Kew. This was no doubt an important consideration as all the components, some sizable, would need to be moved by road to Leavesden Aerodrome for assembly. Until the latter part of the War, when V-1 and V-2 weapons became a menace, those areas were less liable to enemy attack, than East and South London.”

From Londonist website:

“…The American firm Chrysler Motors set up a factory just off Mortlake Road, Kew in the early 1920s. Like a great many American manufacturers, they were able to beat UK import restrictions by assembling shipped, pre-made parts – “Empire built” in Canada (low import duties) with local content and small bore engines. These were referred to as complete or partial ‘knock-down’ kits.

During the 1930s most British marques had small underpowered engines, reflecting the ‘Horsepower Tax of the time. American manufacturers saw a gap in the market for larger engined sensibly priced alternatives. ‘Plymouth was the Chrysler Corporation’s low-priced model. Next up was Dodge, then De-Soto, then Chrysler itself and, sitting imperiously on the top of the heap, Imperial.

Chrysler gave its UK cars the names of Surrey towns to make them more palatable to UK buyers, so there was the Chrysler ‘Kew’ and ‘Wimbledon’, as well as the DeSoto ‘Richmond’ and ‘Kingston’.

Chrysler also owned the Dodge truck company, and these vehicles were produced at Kew too. After the Second World War, truck manufacturing became the site’s main production and the vehicles were known as ‘Kew Dodge’.

The factory was closed in 1967, when production was moved to a factory in Dunstable. Chrysler stopped all UK production of vehicles in the late 1970s. The Kew factory site is now the Kew Retail Park.” (See image)

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