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Thread: Bristol and Westland factories

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    Default Bristol and Westland factories

    Both of these factories featured in a documentary called Their Finest Hour and shown recently on one of the ITV television stations . There was some good footage of Bristol's at Filton and Westland at Yeovil and mention of Luftwaffe raids on both and also Parnell's of Bristol who made gun turrets . Mostly black and white film with some colour footage of bomb damage but perhaps that was of typical bomb damage and not the factories ? I have some of it which my dad recorded for me on video and there is a logo superimposed on the film but I don't think it is the IWM one ?

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    Default Re: Bristol and Westland factories

    I have found out that it was called The War and was on the Yesterday channel and the programme goes out between 5-6pm but not sure of the day ? Perhaps daily as today's programme was about Guadalcanal and showed some heavy US airfield construction equipment on the islands Henderson Field . They also publicise a link ; www.visityesterday.co.uk but I found it via www.uktv.co.uk/yesterday/homepage/sid/5008 and you dont need to sign in . It also has Pathe clips running on it . I will also post the link in the Media Research Section .

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    Default Re: Bristol and Westland factories

    The mention of Bristol and Parnell Turrets jogged my memory, they both had provisional planning to move to underground facilities at Spring Quarry in Corsham.

    Full size pic click 'All sizes'.

    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4065/...9cc8ab15_b.jpg

    Last edited by Engineer; 20-01-2010 at 02:06. Reason: Link added.

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    Default Re: Bristol and Westland factories

    The Parnall (Fraser Nash) factory was NE of Bristol at Yate around about here:

    http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepat...z=15&oz=7&gt=1

    The old airfield was NW of the factory.

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    Default Re: Bristol and Westland factories

    Quote Originally Posted by Engineer View Post
    they both had provisional planning to move to underground facilities at Spring Quarry in Corsham.
    Went to an interesting talk by Nick McCamley on the latter a few years ago. Sadly, it was yet another Great British Disaster.

    Nick stated, '
    With so many parties involved in its development, the Corsham engine factory evolved, like the camel that was a horse designed by committee, into a monster bearing little resemblance to its original conception.'
    Set up to manufacture '260 Bristol Centaurus engines per month' it managed just 523 in its lifetime. The first engine came off the line 3 years after construction had started. (BAC produced a wartime total of 100,932 engines).

    A workforce of 2,000 was intended to live 24/7 underground. They refused, and to get each shift in and out quickly two escalators had to be installed, one being nicked from the London Underground. Total eventual workforce was estimated at 25,000.

    It was essential that the entire workforce took their meal breaks at the same time - hence several large underground canteens were constructed. Each was decorated in a different theme to raise moral of the workers. Murals were painted by Olga Lehmann who was provided with standard War Office issue paint (duck-egg blue, olive drab etc) for the job.

    It was intended to manufacture Lancaster undercarriages in another part of the complex, however the roof was too low for an assembled unit, hence Dowty never moved in.

    There was some story about the underground heating boilers. Such was the haste to get things working that they weren't installed / commissioned properly and the entire job had to be repeated. Hot ash from the boilers was sent to the surface in a wooden lift.

    Costing in an estimated 2.3M, the final damage was nearer 8M, (some estimates as much as 20M). Without labour costs, each engine therefore cost between 15K and 38K (a complete Lanc cost c.47K, a Spitfire - 10K)

    Thank heaven the Government / MoD doesn't make mistakes like this any more .

    Pictures of Spring Quarry Jump to Olga's Excellent Murals

    Graham

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