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….