Handley Page

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Handley Page Limited
Industry Aviation
FateVoluntary liquidation
Successor Scottish Aviation
Founded17 June 1909
DefunctMarch 1970 [1]
Headquarters Cricklewood, Radlett
Key people
Frederick Handley Page, Hedley Hazelden, Charles Joy, Gustav Lachmann, Reginald Stafford, George Volkert,
Subsidiaries Handley Page Transport (until 1924)
Atlantic in flight, non-stop from New York to Chicago, 1919 Handley-Page 1919.jpg
Atlantic in flight, non-stop from New York to Chicago, 1919

Handley Page Limited was founded by Frederick Handley Page (later Sir Frederick) in 1909 as 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 British aerospace engineer

Sir Frederick Handley Page, CBE, FRAeS was an English industrialist who was a pioneer in the aircraft industry and became known as the father of the heavy bomber.

Aircraft machine that is able to fly by gaining support from the air other than the reactions of the air against the earth’s surface

An aircraft is a machine that is able to fly by gaining support from the air. It counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines. Common examples of aircraft include airplanes, helicopters, airships, gliders, and hot air balloons.

Radlett town in Hertfordshire, England

Radlett is an affluent settlement in the county of Hertfordshire between St Albans and Elstree on Watling Street, with a population of 8,042. It is located in the council district of Hertsmere and is covered by two wards; Aldenham East and Aldenham West. It is located inside the M25 motorway.

Contents

History

Frederick Handley Page first experimented with and built several biplanes and monoplanes at premises in Woolwich, Fambridge and Barking Creek. His company, founded on 17 June 1909, became the first British public company to build aircraft.

Biplane airplane wing configuration with two vertically stacked main flying surfaces

A biplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with two main wings stacked one above the other. The first powered, controlled aeroplane to fly, the Wright Flyer, used a biplane wing arrangement, as did many aircraft in the early years of aviation. While a biplane wing structure has a structural advantage over a monoplane, it produces more drag than a similar unbraced or cantilever monoplane wing. Improved structural techniques, better materials and the quest for greater speed made the biplane configuration obsolete for most purposes by the late 1930s.

Monoplane fixed-wing aircraft with a single main wing plane

A monoplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with a single main wing plane, in contrast to a biplane or other multiplane, each of which has multiple planes.

Woolwich district in South East London, England

Woolwich is a district of south-east London, England, within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Originally a town in Kent, it has been part of the London metropolitan area since the 19th century. In 1965, most of the former Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich became part of Greenwich Borough, of which it remains the administrative centre.

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.

Cricklewood area in north-west London, England

Cricklewood is an area of north-west London, England, 5 miles (8.2 km) northwest of Charing Cross, between Willesden Green and Dollis Hill to the west, Brondesbury and Kilburn to the south, West Hampstead and Childs Hill to the south-east and east, and Brent Cross to the north. The area is split between three London boroughs: Barnet to the north-east, Brent to the west and Camden to the south-east.

Barking, London area of east London

Barking is a suburban town in East London and the administrative centre of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. It is 10 miles (16.1 km) east of Charing Cross. It was an ancient parish in the county of Essex. Its economic history is characterised by a shift from fishing and farming to market gardening and industrial development south of the River Thames. The railway station opened in 1854 and has been served by the London Underground since 1908. As part of the suburban growth of London in the 20th century, Barking significantly expanded and increased in population, primarily due to the development of the London County Council estate at Becontree in the 1920s, and became a municipal borough in 1931, and part of Greater London in 1965. In addition to an extensive and fairly low-density residential area, the town centre forms a large retail and commercial district, currently a focus for regeneration. The former industrial lands to the south are being redeveloped as Barking Riverside.

Handley Page Transport Ltd was an airline company founded in 1919 by Frederick Handley Page in the new era of civil flying after the First World War.

World War I

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 ultimate intent of bombing Berlin in revenge for the Zeppelin attacks on London. Handley Page had been asked by the Admiralty to produce a "bloody paralyser of an aeroplane". These aircraft included the O/100 of 1915, the O/400 of 1918 and the four-engined V/1500 with the range to reach Berlin. The V/1500 had only just entered operational service as the war ended in 1918.

Heavy bomber bomber aircraft of the largest size and load carrying capacity

Heavy bombers are bomber aircraft capable of delivering the largest payload of air-to-ground weaponry and longest range of their era. Archetypal heavy bombers have therefore usually been among the largest and most powerful military aircraft at any point in time. In the second half of the 20th century, heavy bombers were largely superseded by strategic bombers, which were often smaller in size, but were capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.

Zeppelin airship type

A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship named after the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin who pioneered rigid airship development at the beginning of the 20th century. Zeppelin's notions were first formulated in 1874 and developed in detail in 1893. They were patented in Germany in 1895 and in the United States in 1899. After the outstanding success of the Zeppelin design, the word zeppelin came to be commonly used to refer to all rigid airships. Zeppelins were first flown commercially in 1910 by Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-AG (DELAG), the world's first airline in revenue service. By mid-1914, DELAG had carried over 10,000 fare-paying passengers on over 1,500 flights. During World War I, the German military made extensive use of Zeppelins as bombers and scouts, killing over 500 people in bombing raids in Britain.

Interwar period

In early 1919, a Handley Page V/1500 aircraft, dubbed Atlantic, was shipped to Newfoundland to attempt the world's first non-stop Transatlantic flight; [2] only to lose in the attempt to a Vickers Vimy piloted by Alcock and Brown in June of that year. The crew departed for New York from Newfoundland but were forced to land on 5 July 1919 in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia where the aircraft was repaired over the course of the summer. The Atlantic continued to New York on 9 October 1919, carrying with it the first airmail from Canada to the United States of America. [3]

Newfoundland (island) island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Newfoundland is a large Canadian island off the east coast of the North American mainland, and the most populous part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It has 29 percent of the province's land area. The island is separated from the Labrador Peninsula by the Strait of Belle Isle and from Cape Breton Island by the Cabot Strait. It blocks the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River, creating the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the world's largest estuary. Newfoundland's nearest neighbour is the French overseas community of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

A transatlantic flight is the flight of an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe, Africa, or the Middle East to North America, Central America, or South America, or vice versa. Such flights have been made by fixed-wing aircraft, airships, balloons, and other aircraft.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States and thus also in New York State. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

In the immediate postwar years, Handley Page modified a number of O/400's to passenger use, which they flew on the London-Paris route as Handley Page Transport. The V/1500 was considered too large to be practical at the time, but a number of design features of the V/1500 were later incorporated into an O/400 airframe to produce their first dedicated passenger design, the W.8. In 1924 Handley Page Transport merged with two other regional airlines to create Imperial Airways, the UK's first national airline service. Handley Page developed several large biplane airliners, including the luxurious Handley Page H.P.42, for use on Imperial routes to Africa and India.

Imperial Airways 1924–1939 airline in the United Kingdom

Imperial Airways was the early British commercial long-range airline, operating from 1924 to 1939 and serving parts of Europe but principally the British Empire routes to South Africa, India and the Far East, including Malaya and Hong Kong.

Handley Page H.P.42

The Handley Page H.P.42 and H.P.45 were British four-engine biplane airliners designed to a 1928 Imperial Airways specification by Handley Page of Radlett in Hertfordshire. The H.P.42/45 were the land-based backbones of Imperial Airways and along with the airline's later flying boats are well remembered. Eight were built, four of each type; all were named, with names beginning with the letter "H". Three of the survivors were pressed into Royal Air Force service at the outbreak of the Second World War. By 1940, all the aircraft had been destroyed.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

Handley Page developed the Handley Page Slat (or slot, see slats), an auxiliary airfoil mounted ahead and over the main wing, which formed a narrow opening running along the leading edge of the wing to improve airflow at high angles of attack. [4] The leading edge slat was simultaneously designed by the German aerodynamicist Gustav Lachmann, who was later employed by Handley Page. The design was so successful that licensing fees to other companies was their main source of income in the early 1920s.

In 1929, the Cricklewood Aerodrome was closed and a new one built at Radlett, where most aircraft were now to be constructed. However the construction of aircraft at Cricklewood continued until 1964 when the premises were sold to become the Cricklewood trading estate.

World War II

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 Vulture s 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. [5] The Halifax became the second most prolific British heavy bomber of the war after the Avro Lancaster (itself essentially a four-engine development of the Manchester). Although in some respects (such as crew survivability) better than the Lancaster, the Halifax suffered in terms of altitude performance [6] and was redeployed toward the end of the war as a heavy transport and glider tug, with several variants being specifically built as such, including the HP.70 Halton.

Postwar

After the war, the British Government sought tenders for jet bombers to carry the nation's nuclear deterrent. The three types produced were known as the V-Bombers, and Handley Page's contribution was the HP.80 Victor, a four-engined, crescent-winged design. This aircraft remained in service (as a tanker aircraft) well beyond the demise of the company which created it.

In 1947 Handley Page bought some of the assets of the bankrupt Miles Aircraft company. These assets include existing designs, tools and jigs, most notably for the Miles M.52 supersonic research aircraft, and the Miles site at Woodley, near Reading. The whole operation was Handley Page (Reading) Ltd, the company constituted to buy and operate the assets formed out of the legally alive but otherwise inactive Handley Page Transport Ltd. The most significant of the inherited designs was the Herald airliner. Designs coming out of the Reading site were shown by the initials HPR (from "Handley Page (Reading) Limited")

Demise

Unlike other large British aircraft manufacturers, Handley Page resisted the government's pressure to merge into larger entities. By the late 1960s, the British aviation industry was dominated by just two combines: Hawker Siddeley and the British Aircraft Corporation.

Unable to compete for government orders or with large commercial aircraft, Handley Page produced its final notable Handley Page design, the Jetstream. This was a small turboprop-powered commuter aircraft, with a pressurised cabin and a passenger capacity of 12 to 18. It was designed primarily for the United States "feederliner" market.

The Jetstream was too late to save Handley Page, and the company went into voluntary liquidation in March 1970 and was wound up after 61 years trading under the same name. The Jetstream however lived on as a successful product, the design being purchased and produced by Scottish Aviation at Prestwick, continuing after the company was merged into British Aerospace from 1977.

Sites

Site of Cricklewood Factory
OS Grid Reference: TQ240862
Site of Radlett Aerodrome
OS Grid Reference: TL155038

Radlett Aerodrome was opened in 1929 as a grass aerodrome for Handley Page Civil Aircraft. Its runway was extended in 1939 to enable production of Halifax bombers. By the time of its closure the airfield had two runways:

Most of the towers, hangars and runways were demolished in the 1970s after the Company was terminated. The M25 Motorway now runs on the south side of the site, with Lafarge Aggregates now owning the remainder. The runway surface was removed and replaced with grass, but a shadow remains when viewed from the air.

Products

Designations

Handley Page originally used a letter progression to designate types (i.e. R, S, T etc. ) in combination with a number, that may or may not have been meaningful, to designate sub-types (e.g. the O/100 indicated the type's 100 foot wingspan). In 1924, the company began using the letters HP and a number to indicate the model. Thus the O/400 became the HP.16 and the W.8 the HP.18. When the assets of Miles Aircraft were taken over, the latter's Reading design office began using HPR. (for Handley Page Reading), followed by a number (e.g. the HPR.1 Marathon).

Designs

Handley Page (Reading) designs

See also

Related Research Articles

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Avro Manchester British twin-engine medium bomber

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Handley Page Type O heavy bomber aircraft

The Handley Page Type O was a biplane bomber used by Britain during the First World War. When built, the Type O was the largest aircraft that had been built in the UK and one of the largest in the world. There were two main variants, the Handley Page O/100 (H.P.11) and the Handley Page O/400 (H.P.12).

Handley Page Halifax airplane

The Handley Page Halifax was a Royal Air Force (RAF) four-engined heavy bomber of the Second World War. It was developed by Handley Page to the same specification as the contemporary Avro Lancaster and Short Stirling, all three aircraft being four-engined heavy bombers.

Handley Page Hermes

The Handley Page HP.81 Hermes was a British civilian airliner built by Handley Page in the 1940s and 1950s. Closely related to Handley Page's Hastings military transport, the Hermes was a low-wing monoplane powered by four piston engines. Twenty-nine were built, serving briefly with BOAC in the early 1950s and later with several charter airlines.

Handley Page Jetstream Turboprop regional and commuter airliner family

The Handley Page HP.137 Jetstream is a small twin-turboprop airliner, with a pressurised fuselage. The aircraft was designed to meet the requirements of the United States commuter and regional airline market. The design was later improved and built by British Aerospace as the BAe Jetstream 31 and BAe Jetstream 32, featuring different turboprop engines.

Handley Page V/1500 British night-flying heavy bomber

The Handley Page V/1500 was a British night-flying heavy bomber built by Handley Page towards the end of the First World War. It was a large four-engined biplane, which resembled a larger version of Handley Page's earlier O/100 and O/400 bombers, intended to bomb Berlin from East Anglian airfields. The end of the war stopped the V/1500 being used against Germany, but a single aircraft was used to carry out the first flight from England to India, and later carried out a bombing raid on Kabul during the Third Anglo-Afghan War. It was colloquially known within the fledgling Royal Air Force as the "Super Handley". The V/1500 which was shipped to Canada to attempt a transatlantic flight was flown in the USA beyond its flight to New York. In 1919 it crash-landed in a field at Mount Jewett, Pennsylvania. Photos appeared in the 20 February 1969 issue of the Bradford Journal newspaper.

Handley Page Dart Herald

The Handley Page Dart Herald was a 1950s British turboprop passenger aircraft.

Handley Page Type W airliner

The Handley Page W.8, W.9 and W.10 were British two- and three-engine medium-range biplane airliners designed and built by Handley Page.

Blériot Aéronautique aircraft manufacturer

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Handley Page Hamlet

The Handley Page HP.32 Hamlet was a British six-passenger monoplane transport designed and built by Handley Page. Only one was built to order of the Air Ministry, first flown with three-engines, later changed to two then back to three engines.

Handley Page H.P.43

The Handley Page H.P.43 was a three-engined biplane bomber-transport built to an Air Ministry specification. It did not fly well and the biplane configuration was out-dated at completion; the only one constructed was later turned into a monoplane and led to the Handley Page H.P.54 Harrow.

The Handley Page H.P.51 was a monoplane conversion of the earlier, unsuccessful biplane bomber-transport aircraft, the Handley Page H.P.43. The Air Ministry ordered the production variant off the drawing board as the Handley Page H.P.54 Harrow bomber.

Handley Page H.P.20 experimental monoplane

The Handley Page H.P.20 was an experimental monoplane modification of a de Havilland DH.9A, built to study controllable slots and slotted ailerons as high lift devices. It was the first aircraft to fly with controllable slots.

1920 Golders Green Handley Page O/400 crash first fatal airliner crash in the United Kingdom

The 1920 Handley Page O/400 crash occurred on 14 December 1920 when a Handley Page Transport Handley Page O/400 on a scheduled passenger flight from London to Paris with two crew and six passengers crashed at Golders Green in North London after take-off from Cricklewood Aerodrome. The crew of 2 and two passengers were killed in the first fatal accident for the airline since the service had started in December 1919. It was reported as the first recorded airliner crash in history, but a larger airliner had crashed the previous year.

References

Notes
  1. Not dissolved until 3 June 2001 Companies House
  2. Kaiser's Bunker
  3. Town of Parrsboro
  4. F. Handley Page "Developments In Aircraft Design By The Use Of Slotted Wings" FLIGHT, 22 December 1921, page 844 and page 845
  5. Buttler p102-104
  6. Buttler p129
  7. Buttler p131
  8. Buttler p132
Bibliography