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Report - Gloster Aircraft Factory, Bentham.

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Kempes, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. Kempes

    Kempes Feckless & irresponsible
    Regular User

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    Gloster Aircraft Factory Bentham - July 2010.


    If you had asked me a couple of week’s back what was left of Gloucester’s plane building heritage, I would have said “nothing” – but I was wrong, so when Clebby mentioned it to me and we took a visit this week i was surprised what was actually left.

    This series of slightly innocuous looking buildings are the remains of Bentham works were some of the first ever British Jet engined aircraft were designed and built. It was all part of the various works of the Gloster Aircraft factory (1917 -1963) which was mainly based at Brockworth with a Massive factory and even a small run way, where things like the very first jet engined fighter aircraft the Gloster Meteor and Javelin were built but most of the development work and prototype building being done at Bentham.

    The whole site is tucked away and you wouldn’t know it was even there as it is surrounded by a large mud bank presumably to keep the noise down when testing was done and has a large church infront of it which detracts your attention from what lies beyond. Its now in a state of part dereliction although it still has Security onsite

    Probably the most Historical event is that the very first Frank Whittle based jet engine aircraft the E28/39 was built part here - its main purpose was to validate the flight capability of the turbo jet engine designed by Frank Whittle in 1936 with the further intention of turning the prototype into a working turbo jet engine given we were at war at that time. In February 1940, the Gloster Aircraft Company was chosen to develop the aircraft to be powered by the W1 engine - the Pioneer. The historic first flight of the Pioneer took place on May 15, 1941, with Flight Lieutenant P. E. G. Sayer as pilot.

    E28/39..
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    Gloster Bentham site was then used to design and construct the first Meteor Prototype the DG202/G/5758M which is recorded as having its first ground run at Gloster’s Bentham factory on 29th June 1942 with two ‘ground only’ Rover built W.2B/23 engines. These apparently were derated to give 1,000lb of thrust each and were not passed for flight because of unreliable turbine blades.

    Laterly the Javelin prototypes with the design work was carried out at the Gloster Experimental factory at Bentham. Much of the detail manufacture was done at the parent factory at Hucclecote but the prototype airframes were assembled at Bentham and subsequently taken by road to the Company's Flight Test aerodrome at Moreton Valence. The first prototype WD804 was transferred to Moreton Valence in July 1951 where the final system tests took place.

    Sir Frank Whittle was an English aviation engineer and pilot, the son of a mechanic, Frank Whittle joined the Royal Air Force or RAF as an apprentice. He joined an RAF fighter squadron in 1928 and became a test pilot in 1931. The young RAF officer was only 22 when he first thought to use a gas turbine engine to power an airplane. While often regarded as the father of modern jet propulsion systems, the young Frank Whittle tried without success to obtain official support for study and development of his ideas. He had to persist his research on his own initiative and received his first patent on turbojet propulsion in January 1930.

    Hanger 3..

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    Admin Block..

    Looking out to the main hanger
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    Fire damaged in 2008
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    Hanger2..

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    Main Hanger


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    In its latter days the main hanger has been used by a different company - some sort of pipe xray machine is still partially present...

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    The future of the site is unknown – it suffered some minor fire damage to the admin block in October 2008 but most of it is hangers anyway. Various plans in the last few years for housing have been rightfully turned down, as it is in a fantastic location and the area would not benefit from housing – it is currently listed for sale although I have found some of the buildings available for rent .

    full screen slide set here - password is kempes
    http://s692.photobucket.com/albums/...nd - 10th July/1280x1024/?albumview=slideshow

    Cheers
     
    #1 Kempes, Jul 11, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010

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