Sunday, 6 September 2015

Airspeed Ltd, York, due to be demolished

I was in York today and thought I’d grab the opportunity to photograph a building used by Airspeed in the 1930’s for the construction of aeroplanes.

Airspeed Limited was established to build aeroplanes in 1931 in York, England, by A. H. Tiltman and Nevil Shute Norway (the aeronautical engineer and famous writer, who used his forenames as his pen-name). The other directors were A. E. Hewitt, Lord Grimthorpe and Alan Cobham. Amy Johnson was also one of the initial subscribers for shares.

After a short production run of the AS.1 Tern glider, Airspeed produced the AS.4 Ferry, a three-engined, ten-passenger biplane, concentrating on transport monoplanes thereafter. In March 1933, the firm moved to Portsmouth and, in the following year, became associated with the Tyneside ship builder Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Limited and became Airspeed (1934) Limited in August 1934. During this period, it developed the AS.8 Viceroy for an intercontinental air race.

York Councillors decided this week that the building that housed the historic aircraft factory in Piccadilly was in a dangerous state of repair and at risk of collapse and consented to its demolition.

Built as a trolley bus depot in the 1920s, it was leased by Shute and his investors in 1931 for his Airspeed Ltd factory.

The decision was opposed by the city's Civic Trust and the Green Party.