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Guide to the Archives of UK Aircraft Manufacturers

The Gloster Javelin assembly line at Gloster Aircraft Co’s Moreton Valence factory, near Gloucester, 1960.
© Jet Age Museum / Russell Adams Collection

Browse companies and organisations included in this guide

The aim of this guide is to signpost relevant archive collections to anyone wishing to learn more about the history of the UK’s aircraft manufacturing industry.

The guide covers UK-based businesses for which archives survive that have at some point manufactured powered heavier-than-air (fixed-wing and rotary-wing) and lighter-than-air (balloons and airships) aircraft that were capable of carrying people. The guide also covers trade and professional bodies, past and present, which represented the interests of aircraft manufacturers and their employees or which supported aeronautical research. 

Each entry is headed by the last official name of that company or organisation, though any changes of company name are described in the section covering the history of the company. We also list principal aircraft and recommendations on further reading, before detailing what and where you can find documents, photographs, reports, pamphlets and and other archive material produced by the company.


Introduction and acknowledgements

A short history of balloon and airship manufacture in the UK by Dr Giles Camplin

A short history of aircraft manufacture in the UK by Dr Ron Smith

Family tree of the major British aircraft manufacturers

Records relating to aircraft manufacturing at The National Archives by Dr Tim Powell

User guide

How to contribute to the guide

List of repositories included in this guide

More from the Aviation & Aerospace Archives Initiative

The Aviation and Aerospace Archives Initiative seeks to ensure that archives of aviation and aerospace in the United Kingdom are collected and preserved, made accessible, and their use facilitated. Find out more about our activities via the main Aviation and Aerospace Archives Initiative website, including our:

Guidance for Custodians of Archival Resources

Aviation archives e-mail list