Blue Plaque for Battersea's Short brothers who founded the UK aviation industry
Three Battersea brothers who have been credited with founding the British aviation industry are to be honoured with an English Heritage blue plaque.
At the turn of the 20th Century, Oswald, Horace and Eustace Short had been manufacturing hot air balloons under the name Short Brothers, in their factory under the Battersea railway arches next to the gas works.
The brothers had already been awarded lucrative contracts but after hearing rumours from France about the feats of the pioneering Wright brothers, Oswald Short reportedly told Eustace: "This is the finish of ballooning, we must begin building aeroplanes at once."
In November 1908 they registered their partnership under the name Short Brothers and soon received numerous orders including one from Charles Rolls, of Rolls-Royce fame, who ordered a glider.
The American Wright brothers contracted Short Brothers to build the Wright Flyer, and the Short Brothers became the first aircraft manufacturing company in the world.
Over the next few years they produced a variety of aircraft, building up to the First World War when the brothers ramped up production and massively helped with the war effort by building fighter planes.
A second factory was opened near Rochester airport to cope with extra demand and in 1937 they secured a government military defence contract.
Over the next decade Short Brothers produced an anti-submarine patrol bomber called The Sunderland which was nicknamed The Flying Porcupine, probably their most famous craft.
Other well-known aircraft made by Short Brothers include the Canberra, the Sealand and the Mercury. They also manufactured flying boats, airships, drones and even missiles.
During the Battle of Britain, the Battersea factory was heavily bombed, so much so it closed in 1948 and the entire operation was moved to Belfast.
In the 1960s, Shorts mainly produced turboprop airliners, major components for aerospace primary manufacturers, and missiles for the British armed forces.
In 1989, the company was bought by Bombardier, and is the largest manufactuer in Northern Ireland.
The precise location of the blue plaque is unknown but it will be located somewhere on the site of the former factory.
A ceremony will be held at the end of September to mark the occasion.
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