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Hamble

In 1915 Alliott Verdon Roe decided that the expansion of aircraft production in the Manchester area was outstripping the factory space and he began planning for a custom-built unit in the Southampton area.   After searching, he found a suitable stretch of flat fields on the edge of Southampton Water at Hamble and, after negotiations, a 100 acre field area and a expanse of foreshore was purchased.

Hamble1Work commenced soon afterwards on a factory designed specifically for aircraft production.   Plans were also underway to build 350 houses for the workforce, however, only 24 were completed before government restrictions on building materials forced any further development.   This prevented a complete move of the Avro company from Manchester, so it was decreed that the site should be used as a design and development centre.

Hamble2The first new Avro aircraft to be assembled there was the Avro 523 Pike, a twin-engined bomber, and in September 1916, the whole Avro design team under Roy Chadwick moved from Manchester to Hamble.   Sharing the airfield and slipway with the Fairey company, the number of aircraft for build and testing steadily increased and besides the experimental types, a number of Avro 504Ks were produced.

The end of the First World War, brought massive cutback and cancellations for all aircraft manufacturers and Avro was no exception.   Hamble3The Company proceeded with various developments of the famous 504 and other aircraft such as the 534 Baby and the massive Type 549 Aldershot.

 

 

 

Hamble4The Cierva Autogiro Company had been formed and Avro built the first two using 504K fuselages fitted with the Cierva rotor system.  The airfield was too small for the testing of the new larger Avro designed aircraft and in 1926 the Company purchased another 200 acres to build a new airfield which became known as Hamble (North).

 

 

In 1928 Alliott Verdon Roe sold his interest in the Company joining Sam Saunders to form Saunders-Roe Limited.   In May of that year the Armstrong Whitworth group gained control of Avro with all staff returning to Manchester.   Hamble5Aircraft in build were completed including the newly designed Avro 604 Antelope.

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