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Britain First


During the twenties and early thirties times were hard for everyone engaged in aviation and many of the smaller firms went to the wall. However, either by luck or perhaps due to the excellent and reliable engines of Roy (later Sir Roy) Feddon the Bristol factory had grown. They had placed an increasing emphasis upon engines; and this move, allied with the skills of such men as Barnwell and Frise on the airframe side, developed an international reputation for Bristol products.

Bristol prospered through these difficult years and kept employment at good levels, but more importantly kept their skilled staff. Bristol engines were now being made under licence across Europe, in the USA and Canada and in Japan to the East. This was international work that earned the company not only a great deal of money but enhanced their reputation for reliable products.

This allowed the aircraft side of the factory to manufacture and design many new and innovative machines of distinction; but it was another man with the perception that Britain would need war machines in the not to distant future in order to preserve our way of life, who changed the fortunes of the Bristol factory.

In the early thirties a luncheon was held for the editors of papers owned by Harold Sidney Harmsworth, first Viscount Rothermere, at this he announced, "I shall have a plane built that will be the fastest commercial aeroplane in Europe, if not the world, and it will be built within one year from the order."

It took Blos, a Bristol journalist and advocate of his cities aircraft company, a fair amount of persuasion to convince the Bristol Management to take this project forward, even though its credentials seemed sound they had good ongoing contracts with the Air Ministry and they had no wish to rock the boat.
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