Aviation => General Aviation => Topic started by: kyn on July 13, 2008, 15:26:14

Title: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on July 13, 2008, 15:26:14
On 23rd September 1941 Shorts Brothers contacted the MoD for permission to create more factory space inside the cliffs behind there existing factories.  Permission was granted and the tunnels were dug at a cost of £20,000, there were two parallel tunnels 100 metres in length conected to two more tunnels that led to the cliff face of 75 feet in length.

At a later date more tunnels were added for the use of air raid shelters.  These connected to the factory tunnels by a 400 metre long tunnel with 9 adits leading to public entrances along the Esplanade.

The tunnels were later used by Blaw Knox as a factory and storage space.

Factory
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_2756Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_2759Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_2760Small.jpg)

Fire damage, this small tunnel had wooden racks with loads of paperwork inside
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_2754Small.jpg)

 ;D
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_2757Small.jpg)

Shelter tunnels
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_2766Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_2771Small.jpg)

Well
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_2770Small.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on July 21, 2008, 13:56:44

Fire damage, this small tunnel had wooden racks with loads of paperwork inside
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_2754Small.jpg)


For those of you that hadn't seen the tunnels or paperwork before this is what was set alight:

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_32081Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_9818Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_9819Small-2.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: seafordpete on September 02, 2008, 16:40:32
Is the Canopus steering column (2nd Vid) still in the Canopus pub at Borstal (does the pub exist still?) IIRC Shorts moved out about 1950 and it bexcame Blawnox but when did they go and who took the site over until demolition? Pete
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on October 20, 2008, 17:59:32
Babs passed along this picture for me to post for her.

The attached was scanned from a 1936 Christmas card that I still have as a memento of my Dad's working days at Short Bros. & Harland.

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/Canopus025Small.jpg)

Thank you for sharing this Babs  :)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: merc on October 21, 2008, 10:53:55
what a great Shorts memento Babs :)

I got a photo of the Canopus Pub and the recently restored Pub sign here:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=919.15 (just in case anyone missed it  ;D )
I didn't go inside unfortunatly to see the steering column,maybe next time )(
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: unfairytale on November 16, 2008, 22:04:20
Here's a handful of photos:

(http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn151/unfairytale208/DSC01162.jpg)

(http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn151/unfairytale208/DSC01141.jpg)

(http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn151/unfairytale208/DSC01152.jpg)

(http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn151/unfairytale208/DSC01136.jpg)

(http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn151/unfairytale208/DSC01142.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on November 26, 2008, 19:00:14
Aerial shot taken in 1950. 

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/CCI00000Small-1.jpg)

Tug of war winners 1923 from the Shorts Bros inter shop competition.  Original photo can be found at Rochester Library.

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/CCF26112008_00000Small.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on December 29, 2008, 14:23:07
Secured entrances to the factory
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5364Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5365Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5411Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5412Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5361Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5368Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5370Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5371Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5372Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5373Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5375Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5376Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5377Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5378Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5384Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5392Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5394Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5395Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5408Small.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/IMG_5410Small.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on January 02, 2009, 18:56:13
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1511Large.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1512Large.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1513Large.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1514Large.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1515Large.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on January 02, 2009, 22:46:14
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1517Large.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1518Large.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1519Large.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1520Large.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1521Large.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1522Large.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1523Large.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on January 03, 2009, 18:27:42
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1524Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1525Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1526Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1527Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1528Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1529Custom.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on January 04, 2009, 09:23:49
Selection of pages from a booklet about a proposed move to Medway marshes
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1530Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1531Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1532Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1533Custom.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on January 05, 2009, 14:00:18
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1534Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1535Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1536Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1537Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1538Custom.jpg)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/DSCF1539Custom.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on January 07, 2009, 14:55:11


Thats all of it, like i said this is not the complete folder as i didn't have time to photograph all of it...
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: seafordpete on January 08, 2009, 12:10:51
They also had a shadow factory at Reeds at Aylesford making Ailerons, tail and rudder flaps. One our neighbours, when we lived at Aylesford, had worked there. Not sure if it is still there-was 20 years ago, on top of the water tower is a small cabin  that was the firewatchers hut.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Trikeman on January 12, 2009, 18:57:40
Yes, Trikeman has been a busy boy, hasn't he!
Here's an aerial photo to add to the general discussion on the old Shorts Factory. You can still see the original slipway that led from the assembly sheds to the river. I guess the tunnel entrances are somewhere behind the houses
Geoff

(http://i722.photobucket.com/albums/ww221/trikeboy/Airfields/IMG_6760.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on March 25, 2009, 18:48:36
Shorts Sunderland 1951
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on March 29, 2009, 17:34:53
 :)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on April 27, 2009, 09:55:24
After a bombing raid
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Riding With The Angels on April 30, 2009, 18:00:27
The Short Stirling was manufactured at Rochester Airport works as it required the runway to take off  ;D

That pic may have been taken after the bombing raid on 15 Aug 1940 when aircraft serialed N3645, 3647, 3648, 3649, 3650 and 3651 were all destroyed. Perhaps the photograph shows the one missing from the list (N3646).
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on May 01, 2009, 11:32:12
November 1978
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Riding With The Angels on May 02, 2009, 17:09:30
Shorts 310 type A 1916. Oswald Short on right of photo.
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-34.jpg)

Shorts F.3 flying boats being constructed May 1918. The hulls were built at the Strood boat yard opposite and then towed across and assembled in No.3 shop.
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-77.jpg)

N4041 (an F.5) along with N4044 from Felixstowe made a 2,450 mile tour of Scandanavia and the Baltic during July 1919.
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-78.jpg)

Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Riding With The Angels on May 02, 2009, 22:09:01
Very well.....

Launched 17 Aug 1926 Short S5 Singapore I G-EBUP was spotted at Felixstowe by Sir Alan Cobham who later flew it on the African Survey Flight 1927-8 over 20,000 miles in eleven hours on 600 gallons of fuel.
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-14-1.jpg)

Valetta and Mussel II
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-31-1.jpg)

Shorts Mussel II in which Eustace Short learned to fly in July 1926. He died at the controls taxiing to the river bank 8 Apr
il 1932. It was scrapped in 1933. Note Fort Clarence in the background.
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-32-1.jpg)

Short S.17 Kent 'Scipio' before her launch for maiden flight 12 March 1931
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-34-1.jpg)

Short SII Valetta 1930 later flown by Alan Cobham to survey the Nile the following year.
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-38-1.jpg)

The only Short Sarafand with 6 engines in tandem pairs built in 1931 having is wings put on in the barge yard.
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-38-1.jpg)

The first prototype Empire boat 9 Feb 1936
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-57-1.jpg)<
br />
The maiden fight of Canopus 2 July 1936.
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-61-1.jpg)

Golden Hind before her launch June 1939
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-62-1.jpg)

The Mayo Composite
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-63-1.jpg)

The Mercury under construction at The Barge Yard 1936
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-64-1.jpg)

Mercury after launch 9 Sept 1937
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-65-1.jpg)

L2158 The first Sunderland.
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-66-1.jpg)

Female workers on the Sunderland ass
embly line.
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-67-1.jpg)

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth having a tour by Oswald 1938.
(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-68-1.jpg)






Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Riding With The Angels on May 03, 2009, 10:31:35
Just realised Sarafand pic is the Valetta again! Sorry here it is -

(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h282/RidingWithTheAngels2/sub%20album%202/Old%20Pics/Top-39-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: AlanH on June 20, 2009, 07:05:49
That is a great picture. The last building was the "new" BK workshop erected around 1960 together with the admin. building up on the bank at the back of the factories.
Thanks for posting it as it brings back many memories, mostly good.
Alan.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: afsrochester on July 27, 2009, 18:38:51
I was really interested to read about Shorts on the Esplande. My Grandfather worked there during the War years in the Drawing Office. (Sidney Neary). I am paticularly interested in the events of 8/9 April 1941 when 3 AFS fremen were killed. Originally, it appeared that it was as the result of one incident. However subsequent research leads me to believe that there were 2 seperate occasions.

Two AFS men from Rochester were killed when a parachute mine scored a direct on their sub-station; Firemen Gibbons from Dorrit Way and Fireman Chater from City Way in the early hours of 8th April. It now seems that AFS Fireman Fred Ryder from Henry Street and a member of Chatham AFS, was killed at roughly the same time the following day when a parachute mine exploded outside the entrance to Shorts. It is very confusing as the entrance to Shorts and the AFS sub-station at that time,  were not that far apart. Their deaths were reported in the local press and from those reports, would appear to be two seperate incidents. If anyone can help with additional information, or if they know of any of their family members still surviving, I would be most grateful to hear from them.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: AlanH on August 03, 2009, 09:30:30
This is a great thread which I'm following with much interest. My Dad worked at Shorts for many years at the Esplanade and in Guildford I think (the years are getting the better of me now!) and I did an apprenticeship at Blaw Knox who occupied the old No 18 (?) workshop at the time as well as building the new and last building at the end of the Esplanade.
For someone who asked earlier, at least 2 of the air vents into the tunnels came out up on the bank where BK built their Admin. block, River House, on Shorts Way.
BK used to store a lot of equipment up on that bank.
The Admin. building can be seen on the first pic. showing the  apartments creeping along the riverside as the buildings are removed to make way for them.
As a matter of ghoulish interest, a dentist threw himself off the M2 bridge, Borstal side, on a long rope around 1962 and he could be clearly seen by all the workers trudging up the Esplanade on the way to work early that morning. :o
I believe he killed himself after shooting his wife earlier.
The best view was had by the people who lived in the houses close to the bridge as they opened their curtains....... :(

Just thought I'd give a little more history of that area!
Alan.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on September 04, 2009, 15:46:46
Between the years 1948 and the 1960?s parts of the Shorts site has been owned or rented by various people.

CAV Ltd - Juy 1954
Blaw Knox Ltd - Dec 1955
Ozonair Eng. Ltd - Oct 1958
Wm Palfrey Ltd - Nov 1960
City of Rochester Highway - March 1961
CAV Ltd - Nov 1963
Berry Ede & White - Sep 1975
Medway BC - Feb 1978
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: merc on September 05, 2009, 21:08:26
March 14, 1939

The King and Queen at Rochester - Tour of Aircraft Works

The King and Queen spent more than an hour today in one of the most crowded and active aircraft factories in the land. They travelled by road to Rochester to visit the works of Messrs Short Bros,where whole fleets of flying-boats for the ocean routes of Imperial Airways and for the service of the R.A.F. are in course of construction. They watched blue prints being made. They saw aircraft parts being beaten into shape with a mallet or machined to precise limits,or being fitted together with jigs. Finally they stood on the slipway in the rain to watch one of the military boats, launched only last night, take off on its first flight.

They must have walked fully a mile on their way from the entrance gate through shops and subterranean passages to the exit at the far end. In the course of their walk the King and Queen talked to many of the men and women in their overalls. At one point in the tour the King and Queen walked far into the catacombs driven into the hill behind the works. These underground passages,from 60 ft. to 300 ft. under the surface,serve as the air raid shelter for all the thousands of employees. The figure of the Queen dressed in a violet costume and hat trimmed with fur,was watched by many of the workpeople as it passed deeper into the well-lit burrow and at last vanished round a bend far into the heart of the hill. Returning from the 600 ft. long shelter.

They went on to the shop where hundreds of wing-tip floats were being made,and next they found themselves in a shop where the hulls of many Sunderlands were being put together on huge jigs. By this time the heavy clouds had brought a cold rain,but as the visitors emerged the four engines of the latest Sunderland began to roar and the flying-boat moved steadily away and lifting off the water climbed over Rochester bridge. Their majesties stood on the river bank while the big seaplane circled over the works,an umbrella held thoughtfully high enough over the Queen to protect her hat without obscuring her view. Afterwards they drove away to Rochester aerodrome to see the land aircraft which are being built there. The King and Queen were guided on these tours of inspection by Mr. Oswald Short.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on September 06, 2009, 19:34:04

 :)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: seafordpete on September 15, 2009, 13:45:51
March 14,1939

The King and Queen at Rochester - Tour of Aircraft Works



At one point in the tour the King and Queen walked far into the catacombs driven into the hill behind the works. These underground passages,from 60 ft. to 300 ft. under the surface,serve as the air raid shelter for all the thousands of employees.
Short.

Just for once we had actually built shelters BEFORE the war started
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: rossco on September 15, 2009, 18:26:42
My question is what are the 2 concrete structures on the Medway riverbed on close to the Shorts Bros. slipway. I have been told they are AA gun positions but this dosn't seem right.
Can post photos when i know how....

Just further along the river outside Oliver Twist Close are the remains of the where Medway Tower stood, part of Fort Clarence defences. More on it here: http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1110.15 (http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1110.15)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: seafordpete on September 15, 2009, 18:52:18
1938 Old maps shows the tower then south of it a boatyard so perhaps remains of slips or crane footings. Shorts is marked as "Carriage works"
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: seafordpete on September 16, 2009, 09:24:02
I remember those as a kid, only thing wrong with your theory is that there are no bolts or holdfasts. Might they have been landing stages for boats going out to flying boats in the river?
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: rossco on September 16, 2009, 13:19:02
They're landing stages according to my maps...
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: iconic on November 20, 2009, 19:55:38
Aerial shot taken in 1950.  

Tug of war winners 1923 from the Shorts Bros inter shop competition.  Original photo can be found at Rochester Library.


those old barages in the picture were made from concrete (cement?) and were still there back in the 1980's, there was also an old BSA motorcycle near the far right one sticking out the mud....the owner a CAV worker got so cheesed off with it not starting he heaved it over the railings in the 70's!
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on March 17, 2010, 13:40:38
 :)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on March 21, 2010, 16:12:17
 :)

Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on April 04, 2010, 15:21:22
A short's bus!
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Solarp on April 23, 2010, 19:34:17
Finally after about a year of searching I have found the picture of the Shorts Factory workers during WW2, the women you can see in this picture were part of the bomb manufacturing team making the casings and shells to be sent to the military. Unfortunately there is no date, but I am 100% sure of this as the lady you can see front row 2nd from the right is my Grandmother, and she worked here during the war  :)

(http://i326.photobucket.com/albums/k438/mhjubjub/loose21g.jpg)

Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Solarp on April 23, 2010, 23:04:57
Thanks man! this pic means a lot to me, so glad I found it! My dad was sure he had the picture somewhere but we could never find it, so when going through the albums with my uncle (his brother) he pointed out that this was when she worked in Shorts and went onto explain what she did there :)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: unfairytale on April 24, 2010, 06:56:38
That's a great photo, thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on May 07, 2010, 15:50:07
Not sure how much of this information has already been added but I just came across a reference to the site.  The site was taken over by Shorts in 1913 with adjacent land being bought in 1920 for the construction of several factories.  Shorts and Harland were created in the 1930?s in Belfast.  The WWII aircraft production was managed by the Government and in November 1947 the site was purchased and conveyed to The Ministry of Supply on 12th April 1948.  Included in the transfer were:

*   Tunnelled in chalk brick lined
*   620" long
*   Workshop

And:
*   Tunnelled in chalk brick
lined
*   About 8500" long
*   Tunnelled ARP shelters

Underground tunnels to the South East were purchased during 1950 from adjacent land owners whose properties were Borstal Road at surface level.  Tunnels found North East of the site were not purchased and treated separately as "Substitute shelter scheme".  Between 1948 and the 1960?s different parts of the site were leased to numerous different engineering companies until the site began to be sold off in sections, the last to be sold by the Secretary of State for Defence was in 1975.

The new owners of the individual sections were:

CAV Ltd - 16th July 1954
Blaw Knox Ltd - 30 Dec 1955
Ozonair Eng. Ltd - 6 Oct 1958
Wm Palfrey Ltd - 2 Nov 1960
City of Rochester - Highway 17 March 1961
CAV Ltd - 25 Nov 1963
Berry Ede & White - 19 Sep 1975
Medway BC - Supplemental 20 Feb 1976
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: LenP on September 11, 2010, 20:36:28
Here's a book which may be of interest. I got it on loan from Herne Bay library:

The Archive Photographs Series, Shorts Aircraft, by Mike Hooks. Published by Chalford Publishing Co., 1995. ISBN 0752401939.
Currently on Amazon for around £5.

Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: DaveTheTrain on May 06, 2011, 21:31:56
This one may be of interest to local history interest and military history.   It is the Shorts Factory circa late 1940s. 

The view may not  be familiar to anyone who has not gone inside the main factory, of what is now BAE Systems Rochester.  It is looking towards Horsted College from Rochester Maidstone Road.

I will try and explain.  The main roof view (somewhat enhanced) is the existing main factory, erected by Shorts and is the 25 foot hangar.  The more derelict buildings to the bottom left are the Pobjoys Aeroengine Factory.  The so-called, William-Elliott main entrance is the low building coloured white on the RHS side of the enhanced roof line.  This building is now two storey.

In  the background, at the top is the Fort Horsted College.  You will note the curved roadway that is now Marconi Way.   

Of particular interest to the military enthusiats on this site is the fact that the old roof of the 40 foot hangar is still in camoflage to blend with the woodland to the left.  The main roof of the 25 foot hangar has been replaced which places it as post war.

I thank a colleague of mine, Chris B for the use of this photograph.
Dave


(http://i1103.photobucket.com/albums/g471/ShottendenAveling/IMG5-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: MOK on May 07, 2011, 15:24:12
Interesting picture, thanks for posting. I used to park my car near where the cars on the picture are parked and walk through the old factory to get to the towers.
Good to see how it used to be.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on July 30, 2011, 14:31:00
The aircraft in Darrenh's photo of July-12-11 is an Imperial Airways Short Calcutta.
The chap sharing the cockpit with Churchill is John Lankester Parker (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lankester_Parker) chief test pilot for Short Brothers 1918-45.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: peterchall on August 01, 2011, 16:17:40
Here are some details of Shorts Seaplane Works, dated 19 August 1946. Interesting to compare with the 1919 photo.

Apologies for the small size. The originals are full screen size but Photobucket has reduced them. Press  CTRL &  + to enlarge.

                             The north end of the factory.
                              (http://i622.photobucket.com/albums/tt309/petec-photo/ShortsFactoryN.jpg)
                              No 3 Shop was the final assembly shop.

                             The south end of the factory.
                             (http://i622.photobucket.com/albums/tt309/petec-photo/ShortsFactoryS.jpg)
              Does any one know what the circular area with the ‘Y’ shaped ‘thingy’ at the right hand end would have been?

                               Cross sections of buildings (Shown in direction of arrows on plan)
                              (http://i622.photobucket.com/albums/tt309/petec-photo/Shorts-CrossSections.jpg)

Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: seafordpete on August 01, 2011, 17:10:46
For setting compasses? Similar in front of most RAF Control Towers if you think back
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: peterchall on August 01, 2011, 17:38:40
But would it not be as far as possible from any metal buildings etc? I can understand the circle being marked out, but what is the 'Y'?
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: darrenh on August 03, 2011, 14:02:37
The schematic on page 1 doesn`t have it enclosed in a circle.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on August 06, 2011, 23:02:37
Does any one know what the circular area with the ‘Y’ shaped ‘thingy’ at the right hand end would have been?
Looks like a fixed crane to me, the dotted line indicating that it could swing round?
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: peterchall on August 07, 2011, 08:53:00
Thanks Herbcollector, that seems to fit, although from the scale on the original plan the circle was 150 feet diameter, so it was a big crane. I wonder what for.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on January 20, 2012, 22:13:35
Many years ago, c 1970, when I was a student at the Medway College of Art, there was an old chap, Cecil, ex Short Brothers, who would come in a couple of mornings a week to service the machines.
We would get him reminiscing about his time at Short Brothers and one of the tales he told was about a glass walled draught proof used to check the balance of wooden propellers.
The propeller would be mounted on a very sensitive bearing. A folded cigarette paper, placed on a horizontal blade would, over twenty minutes or so, cause the blade to fall.
When the paper slid off, the blade would, just as slowly, return to its original postion.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on January 23, 2012, 22:13:49
When the paper slid off, the blade would, just as slowly, return to its original postion.
Having had a think about it, and having seen Far Aways post, why was it deleted? I realize that the above sentence makes no sense.
A fully balanced propeller would remain in any position you placed it, if it moved it was not balanced. The blade would fall when the cigarette paper was placed on it, but would remain in that position and not swing back.
Its probably my memory at fault.

Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: smiler on March 09, 2012, 10:05:13
(http://i1018.photobucket.com/albums/af310/smiler2/Images%20for%20Kent%20forum/scan0005.jpg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on April 21, 2012, 19:29:34
7th April 1919

The Transatlantic Flight.
Entrant to Fly from East to West.
Short Seaplane’s Prospects

As The Times has announced, Messrs. Short, of Rochester and Bedford, have now entered a machine for the cross-Atlantic air contest, and have decided to flu from this side.
Mr. Oswald Short has shown me the aeroplane which he is building for the flight, and I have also been allowed to examine the plans and working models of the Short system of launching, landing, and housing seaplanes.  This firm has built many aeroplanes, but its specializes in seaplanes and flying boats.  A small scale of the latest design in the last named shows a twin-boat triplane for passengers.  She is fitted with two tractor and one pusher engines, she has ample cabin space, and in building will probably work out at about a 25-ton machine.
The biplane with which the Atlantic flight is to be attempted was laid down on March 17.  Since then an army of men and girls have been at work upon her day and night, and to-day the wings were being finished and prepared for fixing to the body.  Mr. Short believed – and indeed most of the constructors with whom I have discussed the problem of Atlantic flight are of the same opinion – that the standard modern aeroplane of good make is quite capable of flying the journey, if room can be found aboard for sufficient fuel, and so in the Short machine, as in others that are competing, it has been decided to modify an existing type rather than design a special one; moreover, there is not now sufficient time to do anything else.
This biplane is of the same pattern, with minor adaptions, as many supplied to the Government and originally intended for war work with torpedoes.  The most impressive thing about her is the enormous aluminium petrol tank that has been fitted.  Slung just below the centre section, this gives the machine a fuel capacity of 600 gallons, which will keep her flying at from 90 to 100 miles per hour for 20 hours.  There is a special feature in the location and construction of the tank.  It has been so placed that if a forced descent has to be made at sea it can be emptied rapidly by an appliance fixed near the pilot’s seat, and will then act as a float sufficiently buoyant to keep the craft on the surface for some considerable time.
The biplane, which is painted white with grey wings and has a Union Jack in colours on her rudder, has a span of 60ft. and an over-all length of 34ft.  She is fitted with a Rolls-Royce engine of 360 h.p., dual control mechanism, wireless – both sending and receiving – and fixtures for storing food and drink for the trip.  In contrast to some machines recently seen, the Martynside “Raymor,” for example, the pilot’s seat has been placed in front of the navigator’s quarters.  She will make trial flights in a few days.  The pilot for the Atlantic flight will be Major J. C. P. Wood and the navigator Captain C. C. Wylie.  It was from these officers that the idea of entering a Short plane first came, for they approached the firm and offered their services before Mr. Short had decided to compete.

Question of Air Currents.

The determination hitherto generally shown to attempt to fly across the Atlantic from West to East is based upon the hope that a good deal of help may be got from the prevailing west wind.  Mr. Short is inclined to scout this theory.  It was to be regretted, he said, that the reports on the air soundings now being made over the Atlantic from the steamship Montealm will probably not be available in time for the flight.  In the meantime all the pilots were in the same condition of ignorance so far as the upper air currents over the mid-Atlantic were concerned.
After all, most winds were swirls, and, that being so, the current that had been a head wind when one started off would probably be found to be blowing in the opposite direction when one was half-way over.  Air currents generally were so erratic that on the whole they might be expected to average themselves out.  The provision of some kin fog safeguard for the flying men in the shape of warships cruising at intervals about the Atlantic would be greatly welcomed by everybody who was following the competition, the public no less than the pilots.
One model I saw was an apparatus for landing machines by means of a submerged platform worked by compressed air.  This platform is moved on rails that lead it down an inclined concrete plane form the hangers and on to the water.  The compressed air in chambers below the platform is then exhausted and supplanted by water, so that the platform sinks and remains on the rails.  The seaplane is then steered over the platform, the water is forced out by air pressure, and the platform rises, bearing the plane with it.  A reversal of the process launches the machine again.  A launching apparatus in daily use at Rochester consists of twin floating platforms that extend the slope from the sheds, not under the water but on the surface.  The machine is brought out and run down between the platforms, and can be manipulated from them by a relatively small party of men after she is afloat.  The movement of the tide keeps the device perpetually in the right position.  It is claimed for this apparatus that it enables six men to do the work of 20, and that none of them need wade out with the machine.  Anybody who has watched the struggles that attend the removal of the trolley from a departing seaplane will understand what this means.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on April 22, 2012, 15:23:33
A mention of their wartime work is made in the document below.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on April 22, 2012, 15:47:34
20th August, 1926

New All-Metal Flying-Boat
Duralumin Developments.

A new coastal flying-boat, the largest all-metal seagoing aircraft yet built in this country, was launched this week from the works of Short Brothers, on the Medway, at Rochester, and promised to mark a distinct advance in this type of coastal and long reconnaissance vessel.
The boat, with its white pained hull and wings aroused much interest locally when it was brought out for its first brief flight.  It is a large twin-engined flying-boat, with a biplane superstructure, in which the top planes overhand the shorter lower wings.  The stern is swept well up above the waterline, and from the clean way it rose form the water the hull appears to be of low-water resistance.  It has been built to the order of the Air Ministry, and has obviously considerable range and speed.  Its completion is a milestone in the progress of the firm of Short Brothers, whose aircraft history goes back to the pioneer days of 190? As it marks the acceptance of the all-duralumin system of construction, for which Mr. Oswald Short has worked persistently since the end of the war.  There has never been any question that the wooden hull was ultimately doomed for flying-boats, as water soakages of four five hundred pounds in wooden hulls seriously diminish carrying capacity.
A duralumin hull built as a test some 18 months ago has been exposed almost continuously to the sea water at the Felixstowe Experimental Seaplane Station of the Air Ministry and has been reported upon most favourably.  At the present time, in the workshops of Short Brothers, there is the duralumin hull and steel and duralumin wings of the Cockle, a small all-metal flying-boat which has also had some hard wear.  This shows conclusively that there has been no deterioration in the hull, except at two places where local reasons for the corrosion have been satisfactorily determined and where measures can easily be taken to prevent any recurrence.  The duralumin ribs of the wings show no signs of deterioration at all, although the steel strip of the spars have rusted to a considerable extent in places.
A form of duralumin spar has now been evolved which is capable of being made in large sizes, and it is claimed that, owing to the greater ease in working a light alloy, it will be less expensive to build than a steel spar, while the greater thickness of the sheet gives it several advantages over the thinner section steel strip.  A system of monocoque construction is used for all fuselage, and the strength of this particular form has lately received a convincing demonstration.  The Short Satellite, a light aeroplane, which competed at the Lympne trials, made a forced landing and broke off its undercarriage in hitting a heap of rubbish.  With an ordinary fuselage the whole of the nose would have been crumpled; the Satellite merely received a few dents.  A high speed experimental tank has been of considerable service in designing clean hull shapes, and as a result of the experience gained here Short Brothers are now the chief designers and constructors of all-metal floats.
Other all-metal aircraft are in construction, and Great Britain may well lead the world in the all-metal construction of seagoing aircraft, as a result of the independent work done at Rochester during the last few years.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on May 10, 2012, 18:03:14
In 1913 Lord Northcliffe offered a prize of £10,000 to the crew of the first aeroplane to make a direct flight across the North Atlantic between any point in North America to any point in the British Isles. The flight could be made in either direction and had to be completed within 72 hours.
The Short Shamrock was one of several aircraft and crews that were attempting to win Lord Northcliffe's prize.

7th April 1919

The Transatlantic Flight.
Entrant to Fly from East to West.
Short Seaplane’s Prospects

As The Times has announced, Messrs. Short, of Rochester and Bedford, have now entered a machine for the cross-Atlantic air contest, and have decided to flu from this side.
.........The biplane with which the Atlantic flight is to be attempted was laid down on March 17.  Since then an army of men and girls have been at work upon her day and night, and to-day the wings were being finished and prepared for fixing to the body.  Mr. Short believed – and indeed most of the constructors with whom I have discussed the problem of Atlantic flight are of the same opinion – that the standard modern aeroplane of good make is quite capable of flying the journey, if room can be found aboard for sufficient fuel, and so in the Short machine, as in others that are competing, it has been decided to modify an existing type rather than design a special one; moreover, there is not now sufficient time to do anything else.
This biplane is of the same pattern, with minor adaptions, as many supplied to the Government and originally intended for war work with torpedoes.  The most impressive thing about her is the enormous aluminium petrol tank that has been fitted.  Slung just below the centre section, this gives the machine a fuel capacity of 600 gallons, which will keep her flying at from 90 to 100 miles per hour for 20 hours.  There is a special feature in the location and construction of the tank.  It has been so placed that if a forced descent has to be made at sea it can be emptied rapidly by an appliance fixed near the pilot’s seat, and will then act as a float sufficiently buoyant to keep the craft on the surface for some considerable time.
The biplane, which is painted white with grey wings and has a Union Jack in colours on her rudder, has a span of 60ft. and an over-all length of 34ft.  She is fitted with a Rolls-Royce engine of 360 h.p., dual control mechanism, wireless – both sending and receiving – and fixtures for storing food and drink for the trip.  In contrast to some machines recently seen, the Martynside “Raymor,” for example, the pilot’s seat has been placed in front of the navigator’s quarters.  She will make trial flights in a few days.  The pilot for the Atlantic flight will be Major J. C. P. Wood and the navigator Captain C. C. Wylie.  It was from these officers that the idea of entering a Short plane first came, for they approached the firm and offered their services before Mr. Short had decided to compete.....

The Shamrock was a modified Short Shirl torpedo bomber with an increased wing area, a crew of two and a large fuel tank in place of the torpedo, giving a maximum range of 3,200 miles.
The aircraft was completed at Rochester in March 1919.
Crewed by Major J. Wood (pilot) and Captain C. Wylie, it took off from Eastchurch on the 8th April 1919 to fly to Curragh from where the Atlantic flight was to start.
Rather naively they thought that they would be assisted in their navigation over the Atlantic by smoke from the funnels of ships plying the sea route. Perhaps luckily, the Shamrock ditched in the Irish Sea due to an airlock in the fuel line. The crew were rescued and the Shamrock was towed to Holyhead. It was not repaired.
A couple of photos of the Shamrock @ http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1919/1919 - 0503.html?search=short shamrock (http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1919/1919 - 0503.html?search=short shamrock)

The first air crossing of the Atlantic was made by the crew of the USN flying boat NC-4, who flew from Newfoundland to Portugal, via a stop at the Azores, May 26-27, 1919.
John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown made the first non-stop Atlantic flight, June 14-15, 1919.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Riding With The Angels on May 24, 2012, 22:24:43
Footage of stills and flight of Shetland MkII taking off and landing at Rochester. What a sight this must have been!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy86aHpOdkg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy86aHpOdkg)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: peterchall on May 24, 2012, 22:53:51
Take-off run was tight even for the smaller Sunderlands. They started their run from right up against the bridge and could just about lift off over the low ground opposite the factory. They couldn't have cleared the bridge if going the other way, so presumably were limited to flying on days when the wind was in the right direction.

When 'landing' (do seaplanes do that?) it meant just clearing the bridge by a few feet - quite a sight when looking down on them from the Castle Gardens.

Then they would lose enough speed to be able to follow the bend in the river by the factory, then turn and come back to the moorings by Wingets, from where the crew would be collected by a little open motor boat.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Dolly on September 02, 2012, 17:00:04
Hello Forum,
 I am hoping :) that someone may know of the whereabouts of the Short Brothers company records 1911-1917. An ancestor, Alfred Granville Bishop, may have been trained/worked for them prior to WW1 as a 15+ year old. His Shorts seaplane crashed (report says "pilot error") and he was presumed dead in Sept. 1918. Already a trained wireless operator and pilot before joining the RAF, he was "sent to Borstal " by family repute from home near Hackney.
I have his service record and this gives no clue as to his training.
Please can anyone advise
Thank you,  Dolly
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Sentinel S4 on September 02, 2012, 18:02:08
Footage of stills and flight of Shetland MkII taking off and landing at Rochester. What a sight this must have been!

Thanks for posting that RWTA. Good job the M2 bridge was not there then otherwise they would have had to have flown under it! Amazing to see something that size fly off from a place most of us know. Did they ever attempt to land(?) from the other direction? Or even fly off down river? Surely during the War they would have had to have got them airborne regardless of wind and weather. It was nice to see that even toward the end of the flying-boat era that certain of the early design parameters were still in place, ie. build them ugly. I refer to that awful Armstrong Argosy and not the Handley Page HP 42's. It is a pity their kind are not still with us, imagine something the size of the Airbus A380 thundering down the Thames/Medway Estuary............... :)

S4.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on September 02, 2012, 23:36:11
I am hoping :) that someone may know of the whereabouts of the Short Brothers company records 1911-1917.

Sadly I think they no longer exist. I know that drawings pre 1945 were disposed of. Recently drawings of the Short Stirling were discovered in a scrap yard office being used as note paper!
The Short Brothers photo archive has recently been transferred  to the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland. Long term it is hoped to put them on line. It remains to be seen if any documents will be transferred.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Dolly on September 03, 2012, 17:13:07
Thank you for answering Herb Collector, so it will remain a mystery for some time if not ever :(
I don't suppose you have any ideas how to track his life 1911 -1917
This is on his attestation ;-  PI 42776 Alfred Glanville Bishop. classed as A1 fit. Qualified Wireless Operator. occupation in civil life- officer in charge of wireless telegraphy ( examinators service ) commander officer F W Mace RNR ( Royal Naval Reserve ), Mersey Dock, Harbour Board, Liverpool from Aug 4 1914 to Oct 1917. Transferred to Calshot 10.12.17 then to  Eastchurch 29.12.17.
I have become quite fixed on his short life!
thanks again  Dolly
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: peterchall on September 03, 2012, 18:06:06
Footage of stills and flight of Shetland MkII taking off and landing at Rochester. What a sight this must have been!
Thanks for posting that RWTA. Good job the M2 bridge was not there then otherwise they would have had to have flown under it! Amazing to see something that size fly off from a place most of us know. Did they ever attempt to land(?) from the other direction? Or even fly off down river? Surely during the War they would have had to have got them airborne regardless of wind and weather.
S4.

There was only 1 Shetland I built, as an intended replacement for the Sunderland. Despite its specification being issued in 1940 its first flight didn’t take place until 11 December 1944, by which time the urgencies of war didn’t apply. The Shetland II was intended as a civil airliner and first flew on 1 September 1947 and was intended to go into production at Belfast, but again only one was produced.

To answer the question regarding direction, I never heard of any take-offs or landings other than as mentioned, even by the Sunderlands.
Take-off run was tight even for the smaller Sunderlands. They started their run from right up against the bridge and could just about lift off over the low ground opposite the factory. They couldn't have cleared the bridge if going the other way, so presumably were limited to flying on days when the wind was in the right direction.

When 'landing' (do seaplanes do that?) it meant just clearing the bridge by a few feet - quite a sight when looking down on them from the Castle Gardens.

Then they would lose enough speed to be able to follow the bend in the river by the factory, then turn and come back to the moorings by Wingets, from where the crew would be collected by a little open motor boat.
I don’t know for certain, but I’m sure there must have been limitations imposed by the weather, although they only ever flew lightly loaded.

Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: jammy36 on September 07, 2012, 14:06:43
Four Short's Sea Planes moored up on the Medway (Town Reach) in c 1946
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: peterchall on September 07, 2012, 17:39:23
Thanks for that. :)

The location is identifiable on today's Google Earth. It confirms at least 4 moorings and I think there were others further towards the bridge, near where Wingets was.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: cliveh on March 30, 2013, 18:44:21
A few photos from my visit today - what a fantastic place!

cliveh
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on March 30, 2013, 19:08:01
Yes it really is!  Did you notice the wartime grafitti?
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: cliveh on March 30, 2013, 19:36:31
Yes it really is!  Did you notice the wartime grafitti?
Yes, I saw some kyn, but doubtless I missed loads trying to watch where I was treading. One guy tripped over a metal box and smashed his £1000 camera to bits!

cliveh
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on March 30, 2013, 19:37:43
:(  That's not good!  That is the risk of going to these places though.  There is so much to see here you would need numerous trips to cover everything!
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Sirenetta on April 24, 2013, 16:49:56
Wonderful to see at the start of this thread, the old newsreel clips of the Short Flying Boat (they didn't build sea planes; they are quite a different animal - no hull in the water!).  My favourite memory, however, is of the mother and daughter piggyback pairing of aircraft moored just above Rochester bridge.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: peterchall on April 24, 2013, 17:24:22
They built a  number of different designs of single engined float-plane about and during WW1. There was also the Valetta - a 3-engined float-plane built in 1930. I think it was their last floatplane.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: chasg on April 24, 2013, 18:21:13
And Mayo, of the Maia/Mayo composite, was a four-engine seaplane.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: peterchall on April 24, 2013, 20:14:15
I forgot that one.

But for the COB's (Cussed Old B****s), otherwise known as pedants, among us, flying-boats and float-planes are both sea-planes, just as the commonly used term 'aircraft' for aeroplane actually includes aeroplanes, gliders, helicopters, airships and balloons.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Sirenetta on April 25, 2013, 17:50:10
Funny how the language has changed.  I never heard of float-planes in England as I grew up.  Thought it was a US term.  So in my pedant's book there were sea planes and flying boats.  But then I'm also a COB!
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: chasg on April 25, 2013, 22:03:34
Ditto. But whereas the Concise Oxford Dictionary didn't even recognise 'floatplane' (or variations thereof) back in the '70s, now it's simply defined as "a seaplane". A Google image search on "Short seaplane" throws up quite a few, too...
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: peterchall on April 25, 2013, 22:09:50
And Shorts seaplanes were actually launched on a river, so should we call them riverplanes? Why not call them all waterplanes? After all, the Valetta was converted to a 'landplane' in November 1931!
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on April 26, 2013, 21:59:22
The earliest reference I can find for float-planes is Flight March 13 1931. (Fairey lllf float-planes).
Float-planes were known as hydroplanes or similar 1912-1914, and seaplanes 1914 to at least the mid 1920's, both in the USA and Europe.
Flying-boats were called flying-boats from 1912 onwards, (USA and Europe).

For the uninitiated.
A flying-boat is an aeroplane in which the fuselage is designed to provide buoyancy on water.
A float-plane has two or three floats to provide buoyancy.


Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on July 21, 2013, 21:34:08
More recent images of the factory section.  It has been a while since I was in here, and usually access was a lot easier, but I am glad to say not much damage has occurred!

1997
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_7994.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_7994.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8001.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8001.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8302.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8302.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8303.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8303.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8007.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8007.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8305.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8305.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8306.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8306.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8008.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8008.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8013.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8013.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8307.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8307.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8308.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8308.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8309.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8309.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8016.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8016.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8311.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8311.jpg.html)

Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Lyn L on July 21, 2013, 21:47:51
Kyn, thanks for the pics.
That's MY kind of spider on the last but one pic  :)

Great to see you Friday, you must come again.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on July 21, 2013, 21:49:54
It was lovely to come and see you both Friday, I will have to pop round more often :)

Some more pics to come but I have a few so will post them in chunks.

Ha ha, was a few more active spiders but my camera kept steaming up so couldn't photograph them!
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on July 22, 2013, 13:22:41
These photos are from the connecting tunnel to the air raid shelters before it splits into two long tunnels.

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8017.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8017.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8019.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8019.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8313.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8313.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8323.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8323.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8024.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8024.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8350.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8350.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8326.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8326.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8328.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8328.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8351.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/batgirlphotos003/IMG_8351.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: jc101 on July 22, 2013, 19:29:44
Here are a few of my pictures from the factory area.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on July 23, 2013, 14:12:42
Here are a few of the area known as the "Connecting Tunnel" area, from here a long tunnel leads to the factory, two tunnels make up the air raid shelter complex and a small entrance tunnel leads off towards the Esplanade.

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8034.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8034.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8353.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8353.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8361.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8361.jpg.html)

The right hand air raid shelter tunnel

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8036.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8036.jpg.html)

One of the connecting tunnels

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8037.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8037.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: jc101 on July 23, 2013, 19:26:29
Here are a few of my pictures from within the Air Raid Shelter part of the complex.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on July 24, 2013, 12:10:11
The left hand air raid shelter tunnel:

From the very end looking back
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8043.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8043.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8048.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8048.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8053.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8053.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8057.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8057.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8054.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8054.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8056.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8056.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8368.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8368.jpg.html)

Emergency Escape Tunnel
(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8045.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8045.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: kyn on July 29, 2013, 11:39:26
Left hand tunnel and graffiti.

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8403.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8403.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8368.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8368.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8386.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8386.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8373.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8373.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8377.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8377.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8384.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8384.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8385.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8385.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8392.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8392.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8389.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8389.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8398.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8398.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8397.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8397.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8396.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8396.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8399.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8399.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8400.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8400.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8402.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8402.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8411.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8411.jpg.html)

(http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii34/batgirlphotos/KHF2/IMG_8407.jpg) (http://s260.photobucket.com/user/batgirlphotos/media/KHF2/IMG_8407.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: sarahpeskett on April 29, 2014, 12:55:54
Hi

My grandfather worked at Shorts in 1944 and I wondered whether there was any sort of employee list that I can look up to see if any of his colleagues were alive.  His name was John Edmund George Peskett and he came from Chatham.

Many thanks in advance for any information received.

Sarah
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on April 29, 2014, 21:26:26
See my post @ http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=3646.msg121549#msg121549 (http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=3646.msg121549#msg121549)
I suspect many of the records were dumped when Shorts moved from Rochester to Belfast.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on June 05, 2014, 22:21:39
With the Short Brothers interest in marine aircraft a test tank, for studying the longitudinal, lateral and directional stability of flying-boat hulls and floats, was completed at Shorts Rochester works in 1925. The water tank was along the rear of No. 3 shop, 300ft long, 6ft wide and 3ft 6ins deep. The tank gave Shorts considerable expertise and aeroplane floats designed and built by Shorts were used by other manufacturers.

In early 1926 Alan Cobham planned a seaplane survey flight to Australia, flying a de Havilland D.H.50J equipped with metal floats, the first metal floats built by Shorts.
The flight began at Rochester on the 30 June 1926, Cobham flying with A. B. Elliott as mechanic.
The outward route was: Rochester, Naples, Athens, Alexandretta, Baghdad, (Between Baghdad and Basra Elliott was tragically killed by a Bedouin taking a shot at the aircraft) Basra, Bushire, Bandar Abbas, Bakawalpur, Allahabad, Calcutta, Akyab, Rangoon, Penang, Singapore, Muntok, Batavia, Sourabaya, Bima, Kupang, Port Darwin (August 5, changed to wheels), Camooweal, Charleville, Sydney, Melbourne (August 15).
The homeward route was: Melbourne (August 29), Adelaide, Oodnadatta, Alice Springs, Port Darwin (changed to floats), Kupang, Sourabaya, Muntok, Panang, Puket, Victoria Point, Rangoon, Akyab, Calcutta, Allahabad, Karachi, Chahbar, Basra, Athens, Ortobello, Paris, London (October 1).
Cobham alighted on the Thames and was given a triumphal reception on the terrace of the Houses of Parliament.

British Pathe film showing Alan Cobham testing the D.H.50J at Rochester.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvQ60NWR8GA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvQ60NWR8GA)

Arrival at London. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMvZiXQn9VQ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMvZiXQn9VQ)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-d2gw-Tu2w (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-d2gw-Tu2w)

Alan Cobham received a Knighthood for the flight.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on November 06, 2014, 22:39:28
Three Short films.

Royal visit to Shorts 14th March 1939. British Pathé 0.56. http://youtube.com/watch?v=3oLmX8mC4Kc (http://youtube.com/watch?v=3oLmX8mC4Kc)

Short S23 Class Empire Flying Boats. British Movietone News.
Part 1. 9.55. http://youtube.com/watch?v=n9CVbDaXWnY (http://youtube.com/watch?v=n9CVbDaXWnY)
Part 2. 2.56. http://youtube.com/watch?v=V-63IBn6c_M (http://youtube.com/watch?v=V-63IBn6c_M)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on March 13, 2015, 20:44:09
Does any one know what the circular area with the ‘Y’ shaped ‘thingy’ at the right hand end would have been?
Looks like a fixed crane to me, the dotted line indicating that it could swing round?

Its nice to be proved right :)
The crane is visible in this aerial shot of the Shorts works taken in 1946, just beside the Short Shetland.
http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/eaw002345 (http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/eaw002345)
You will need to register to zoom in to see the crane, but its free. There are five other shots of the Shorts factory, taken between 1925 and 1948 on the britainfromabove site.

There are some very useful articles on the Short Brothers @ http://www.graceguide.co.uk/Short_Brothers (http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Short_Brothers)
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Dave Smith on March 14, 2015, 20:07:22
Herb C. Very many thanks for that. As an ex Short`s apprentice - 1945-'47- nice to see it all from the air. Am going on the "air" site to make a comment or two.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: AdrianPearce on March 07, 2016, 02:00:33
Back in March 1990, I and several members of Kent Underground Research Group were given permission to explore the air raid tunnels in the cliffs along the Esplanade at Rochester. During WW2 they were used by staff in the Shorts Seaplane factory there and several items still left in situ suggest that some work was carried out in the tunnels themselves. From memory, there is one entrance from the factory (not sure if it is still there) and the other was via a block of flats built in front of the entrance. I remember we had to be surreptitious while entering the flats access as the landlords did not want residents alarmed!

Some photos are attached.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: AlanH on March 07, 2016, 08:05:11
There used to be access to the tunnels behind Blaw Knox and I remember going down an air shaft once with others to explore. This was when I was an apprentice and fitter (and slimmer) than I am now......between 1959 - '65.
Other ways of getting in were up behind Berry Ede & White, from memory.
AlanH

Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: AdrianPearce on April 06, 2016, 22:24:21
The tunnels were shown on the BBC TV show "Secret Britain" tonight.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Dave Smith on April 07, 2016, 17:23:26
Saw that prog. Generally very good & interesting. When they visited Shorts, it was a pity they didn't show a map of where the tunnels ran - just said 4-5 miles - or show a picture of at least one (iconic) Sunderland. Still, thankful for small..... They also referred to manufacturing instruments? in the tunnels but I think "stores" would have been more likely; similarly with components made in the Seaplane works. In my day, Aug.'45 - Jan. '47, the tunnels were not in use, certainly not for manufacture.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: CAT on April 12, 2016, 20:05:27
Not sure if this is a plane built at Blaw Knox or not, but I have a picture in my collection entitled 'The last Solent flying boat built in Rochester'. Sadly the image is rather bleached, but I assume it shows the flying boat behind on the slipway with the men who built it?
The picture should be about 1950-55?
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: CAT on April 12, 2016, 20:13:02
Sorry. Just did a bit of computer trickery and managed to desensitise the light levels on the image. Shows a little bit more of the plane?
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: AlanH on April 13, 2016, 09:46:18
I'm sure I've got a copy of that pic somewhere with my old dad who was an engine fitter (or something) in it. I know I've got an original of him when they were building buses in 18 Shop I think before BK took it over some years later.
AlanH.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: CAT on April 13, 2016, 11:44:37
The second image is another from a series I have showing a very similar scene, all of which were fairly heavily bleached, but this one adapted better to tinkering with. Shows that even then you can't get people to stand still?
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Dave Smith on April 13, 2016, 13:32:57
Well done CAT, tinkering with contrast certainly paid off. This Solent ( civil version of the MkIV Sunderland or Seaford) is standing on the slipway outside No. 3 shop, where all the flying boats were finally assembled, engines fitted & markings painted on by hand. Definitely it contains some of the parts that I made( they were always made in batches of at least a dozen), although I had left Shorts by then. I do have a similar photo' of the first Solent G-AHIL on this slip, minus the workers, as mine was clandestine.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Dave Smith on April 13, 2016, 14:16:41
AlanH. Your dad could have been an engine fitter (Pobjoys were popular) but well before WW2, when they made bus bodies to keep open. However, during & after the war, engines supplied by Bristol were fitted by their own personnel - always wore white overalls. Up until the take over by Blaw Knox of 18 shop in the late 40's, Shorts made medium size components there, including specials  e.g the main frame components for changing Sunderlands to the civilian versions (Mk V to Sandringham, MkIV to Solent) by removing the front & rear turrets - one of my jobs early in 1946.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: CAT on April 13, 2016, 15:55:12
Many thanks for the info Dave Smith and AlanH. I assume that the BAOC markings in the body towards the front suggests this one was destined for commercial passenger flights? You mentioned that your own image of G-AHIL is similar, but as the first Solent. The caption I have with my collection calls this the last one built?
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: AlanH on April 14, 2016, 08:54:36
Thanks Dave S. To confuse matters further, in my mind at least, it seems from family members Dad may actually have been a sheet metal worker rather than an engine fitter.
Of course memories are fading and the oldies are long gone (Dad at 52 when I was 14) but to reinforce the sheet metal worker bit was the trucks (lorries in the UK of course) he made for us out of bits of off cuts.
Whatever it's good to see these memories being put down for future generations to read and ponder upon.
Alan.
 
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Dave Smith on April 14, 2016, 14:20:27
AlanH. Yes, much more likely- I was an apprentice Fitter & Sheet Metal Worker- as a/c are basically sheet metal. Your last sentence is very pertinent for there is no museum - or even an area at Rochester M.- that caters for the 2nd largest employer in the Medway towns - thousands!-   ( &, with the Sunderland, a most important contibutor to the " Battle of the Atlantic"). CAT. Yes, all painstakingly done by hand. Your - AHIY was the last of 12 Solents made at Rochester. These were Mk.2's & there were 5 conversions from Seafords (Mk.3's); 4 at Belfast, 1 at Hamble. Finally, 4 Solent 4's built at Belfast. BOAC & T(asman) E(mpire) A(irways) L(td.) were the initial owners. BOAC flying a scheduled route 3 times a week from Southampton to Johannesburg via the Nile & E. Africa - carrying 34 passengers it was a 4 day trip, incl. overnight stops - which ended on 10th Nov. 1950?; end of BOAC flying boat ops. TEAL had 5 Solents on scheduled services between Sydney, Fiji & Auckland - carrying 45 passengers - between 1949 & Sept.'60. Several Solents were sold 2nd hand to Aquila Airways who operated schedule services between Southampton & Madeira & the Canary Islands and Trans Oceanatic (Oz) & South Pacific (USA).
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on October 19, 2016, 20:22:31
In 1913 Lord Northcliffe offered a prize of £10,000 to the crew of the first aeroplane to make a direct flight across the North Atlantic between any point in North America to any point in the British Isles. The flight could be made in either direction and had to be completed within 72 hours.
The Short Shamrock was one of several aircraft and crews that were attempting to win Lord Northcliffe's prize.

7th April 1919

The Transatlantic Flight.
Entrant to Fly from East to West.
Short Seaplane’s Prospects

As The Times has announced, Messrs. Short, of Rochester and Bedford, have now entered a machine for the cross-Atlantic air contest, and have decided to flu from this side.
.........The biplane with which the Atlantic flight is to be attempted was laid down on March 17.  Since then an army of men and girls have been at work upon her day and night, and to-day the wings were being finished and prepared for fixing to the body.  Mr. Short believed – and indeed most of the constructors with whom I have discussed the problem of Atlantic flight are of the same opinion – that the standard modern aeroplane of good make is quite capable of flying the journey, if room can be found aboard for sufficient fuel, and so in the Short machine, as in others that are competing, it has been decided to modify an existing type rather than design a special one; moreover, there is not now sufficient time to do anything else.
This biplane is of the same pattern, with minor adaptions, as many supplied to the Government and originally intended for war work with torpedoes.  The most impressive thing about her is the enormous aluminium petrol tank that has been fitted.  Slung just below the centre section, this gives the machine a fuel capacity of 600 gallons, which will keep her flying at from 90 to 100 miles per hour for 20 hours.  There is a special feature in the location and construction of the tank.  It has been so placed that if a forced descent has to be made at sea it can be emptied rapidly by an appliance fixed near the pilot’s seat, and will then act as a float sufficiently buoyant to keep the craft on the surface for some considerable time.
The biplane, which is painted white with grey wings and has a Union Jack in colours on her rudder, has a span of 60ft. and an over-all length of 34ft.  She is fitted with a Rolls-Royce engine of 360 h.p., dual control mechanism, wireless – both sending and receiving – and fixtures for storing food and drink for the trip.  In contrast to some machines recently seen, the Martynside “Raymor,” for example, the pilot’s seat has been placed in front of the navigator’s quarters.  She will make trial flights in a few days.  The pilot for the Atlantic flight will be Major J. C. P. Wood and the navigator Captain C. C. Wylie.  It was from these officers that the idea of entering a Short plane first came, for they approached the firm and offered their services before Mr. Short had decided to compete.....

The Shamrock was a modified Short Shirl torpedo bomber with an increased wing area, a crew of two and a large fuel tank in place of the torpedo, giving a maximum range of 3,200 miles.
The aircraft was completed at Rochester in March 1919.
Crewed by Major J. Wood (pilot) and Captain C. Wylie, it took off from Eastchurch on the 8th April 1919 to fly to Curragh from where the Atlantic flight was to start.
Rather naively they thought that they would be assisted in their navigation over the Atlantic by smoke from the funnels of ships plying the sea route. Perhaps luckily, the Shamrock ditched in the Irish Sea due to an airlock in the fuel line. The crew were rescued and the Shamrock was towed to Holyhead. It was not repaired.
A couple of photos of the Shamrock @ http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1919/1919 - 0503.html?search=short shamrock (http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1919/1919 - 0503.html?search=short shamrock)

The first air crossing of the Atlantic was made by the crew of the USN flying boat NC-4, who flew from Newfoundland to Portugal, via a stop at the Azores, May 26-27, 1919.
John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown made the first non-stop Atlantic flight, June 14-15, 1919.

Photo: State Library of South Australia. PRG 280/1/29/316.

On 20 April 1919 Major J. Wood (pilot) and Captain C. Wylie (Navigator) took off from Eastchurch, England, on the first stage of their attempt to fly cross the Atlantic. The engines (sic, just one engine) on their Short Brothers flying boat (sic, landplane) failed over the Irish Sea and they ditched near Anglesey. The two men were rescued and their aircraft was towed into Holyhead.

The cylindrical object between the wheels is a fuel tank.
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: GP on March 17, 2017, 15:34:40
I notice several people & a TV programme have visited the Shorts Tunnels, etc.  English Heritage are advertising a visit in May for members only (all now booked up) and 60 members on the waiting list if they do another visit.

Just wondered who or what owns these tunnels, Medway Council, English Heritage or someone else?

Anyone know more?
Title: Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
Post by: Dave Smith on February 15, 2018, 13:28:45
A ‘SHORT’ STORY  by Elizabeth M. Walker
Synopsis…
This new book is a biography of the three brothers, Horace, Eustace and Oswald Short, pioneering aeronautical balloon, airship and aircraft designers, engineers and manufacturers. The text shies away from technicalities and provides easy reading around three nationally AND internationally important figures.
The fascinating story of how they became interested, firstly in the manufacture and flying of balloons and subsequently in heavier than air flight.
The brothers went on to lead the world with original and innovative design features and importantly, the use of ‘Duralumin’ for aircraft frames and stressed skins.
Their influence, starting in 1903 and lasting until 1947, is still obvious today, (but hardly recognised) in modern aircraft construction.
The book includes memories and anecdotes from former Short employees and apprentices, with further contributions from descendants.
There is a background chapter dealing with the Short family roots in north-east England and the interesting whole text of an inaugural lecture, in 1960, given to the Belfast Royal Aeronautical Society by John Lankester Parker – Shorts chief test pilot and close personal friend of Oswald Short. He later became a director of the Company.
This text of this lecture is reproduced by courtesy of J.L.P.’s two daughters Jane [Puckering] and Sally [Beckett].
The progress of the three young Brothers from their sighting of a coal-gas balloon over Derby in 1893 to the formation of the Company in 1908 and their subsequent presence at Leysdown and a year later at Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent to, finally, the banks of the River Medway at Rochester is an important part of their story and that of aircraft design up to the time the Company moved in its’ entirety to Airport Road, Belfast in 1947.
Members Copies (£10 + £2 p&p) Non-Members Copies (£12 + £2 p&p)  (5 Copies to groups by arrangement )
may be obtained following your email request to me at…. info@shortbrothersaviatyionpioneers.co.uk
OR by a text message to Liz on 07799661538


SHORT TUNNELS. ROCHESTER
ENGLISH HERITAGE are organising a trip down the tunnels built by Oswald Short in preparation for World War 2 to continue making aircraft components and protect his 11000+ workforce. Oswald put up £60k of his own money to complete the works. This event is a MEMBERS EXCLUSIVE and will happen on March 24th. at 11.00hrs and last for about two and a half hours. To book you need to call 0370 333 1183.
If you are not a member it still might be worth a phone call or joining the organisation [english-heritage.org.uk]