Have you ever wondered what your counterpart’s lives were like a hundred years ago? The National Aerospace Library has great selection of resources that casts a light on working in Britain’s aeronautical industry.

The backbone of the collection is a number of journals produced by aerospace companies around the world, such as the Handley Page Bulletin, The Armstrong Siddeley Air-Mail, RAE News, Saro Progress, Douglas Airview, Martin Star, Junkers Nachrichten, Bulletin Fokker, Chronique des Avions Louis Breguet and Bulletin Techniques des Avions Potez.

These in-house magazines often contain nuggets of information and photographs which you could not find anywhere else. For example, D H Gazette contains information on the history of Stag Lane Aerodrome and Works:

and news of foreign orders:

One of my favourite magazine is Boulton & Paul’s ‘B.P.’ Works Magazine. It not only offered the usual mix of news of people within the company:


but also printed cartoons lampooning the characters who worked in their Norwich factory:

Boulton & Paul also tried subtle ways of improving worker’s engineering knowledge. On their “Competition pages”, Boulton & Paul asked "B-P-ites" to send in engineering questions and offered a 5s prize for the best answer:

During the First World War there were pages aimed at their large numbers of female workers:

These companies also ran clubs, societies, activities and events aimed at keeping their workers entertained, and perhaps fit and out of the pub:


Not only did the aircraft and motorbike manufacturer Martinsyde provide a Recreation Club, they held an annual Sports meeting and carnival for their workers, their workers’ families and those from clubs:

Of course, rules were firmly written in stone:

Though there was a mixture of serious events….


and the not so serious events….

To find other gems held at the National Aerospace Library, visit our Heritage website or come and visit us in Farnborough.

National Aerospace Library
18 March 2016