Airspeed Factory, Christchurch

The Airspeed factory floor at Christchurch, still some work going on Horsas but in the rear the fuselage takes shape of an Airspeed Ambassador, Britain's first purpose designed post war airliner. Credit FONFA

Airspeed Ltd. were brought in to manage a Ministry of Aircraft Production factory in Christchurch in 1940. The factory was built at the north end of the airfield and used to build Airspeed Oxford training aircraft. In 1941 the company began work on the air assault Horsa glider. Over 3,600 Horsas were built nationwide – 695 at Christchurch. Christchurch was significant as it was the only place where entire gliders were assembled and test flown from one location.

Airspeed continued making aircraft after the war until 1962, mainly re engined Seafires and built Mosquito FB VI and B35 aircraft. Several of the factory hangers and ancillary buildings are still extant at an industrial estate that now occupies the site.

The range of photos show:

A Mosquito B35 built at Christchurch, by  Airspeed Ltd. as an end of war construction contract. Alongside some modern photos of the site taken in June 2013 and some older ones of the site and its interior showing the factory floor in about 1950, with some work on Horsas still being undertaken. In the rear the fuselage takes shape of an Airspeed Ambassador, Britain’s first purpose designed post war airliner

You can see some more photos of Horsa Gliders: Here

Or hear some memories of working at the factory here: Memories of an artillery man and motorcyclist

Date: 1945

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