Boulton Paul Aircraft Since 1915
...from Fonthill Media
Title: Boulton Paul Aircraft Since 1915
Author: Alec Brew
Publisher: Fonthill Media
A 404-page hardback this is the fascinating story of the Boulton Paul Aircraft Co. Over 31 chapters and another 6 appendices, the author has presented 30 years of his research into the company history which has taught me so much I never knew.
The first half of the book concentrates on the story of the company, from starting as an Ironmonger way back in 1797, long before aeroplanes came along, and then with making wooden buildings. In WW1, experience with metalwork and woodworking quite naturally led to building aircraft for others (including the Camel), and in large numbers. Even after WW1, when new military aircraft demand plummeted, they kept the aircraft manufacturing side of the business going, and their skill and mass production skills led them to getting involved with the metal structural work for the hug R101 airship. There were other things that came out of WW1, including work on gun mounts that didn't require the aircraft to be pointing in the same direction and even upward firing weapons. This led of course to turrets, which they made in a mix of types, and not just for the Defiant. The business grew and moved from their Norwich home to Wolverhampton. Then of course we get to jets, not just their own designs but also work on Canberra's, Lightnings, Vampires and even Concord. Add all their own designs and projects, many of which never went into production, I discovered how little I knew about Boulton Paul Aircraft beyond the story of the Defiant. Eventually the business was sold to operate under new names, but they have remained in the aviation systems world even if they are not in the Boulton Paul name today.
I have been interested in military aviation since I was very young, and had been familiar with their aircraft such as the Sidestand, Overstrand, Balliol and of course their Defiant. Or so I thought. This really has been a book I have found difficult to put down having started it. I suspect I will not be the only one to have learnt so much more about the work of their designer J.D. North and a company that innovated and which encouraged diversification amidst their business.
Thanks to Fonthill Media for our review copy.