Author Topic: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !  (Read 454 times)

Medway Born and Bred

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2019, 05:11:41 PM »
Bigger than I thought --- and I worked there --- I did not know of their existance.
I would think some one like - Medway Council - should put it on their agenda to
re-store it - for future generations - to come & see- ( like Jersey i.o.w. did )


If Medway Council got involved they’d end up buildings apartments down there, the only thing they seem interested in these days !

castle261

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2019, 04:19:24 PM »
Bigger than I thought --- and I worked there --- I did not know of their existance.
I would think some one like - Medway Council - should put it on their agenda to
re-store it - for future generations - to come & see- ( like Jersey i.o.w. did )
























Smiffy

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2019, 01:46:51 PM »
Tunnel exploration from a couple of years ago...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQPv0nW8ah8

AlanTH

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2019, 09:43:24 AM »
30 quid to walk round a few mouldy old tunnels! I did that for nothing many years ago whilst an apprentice at Blaw Knox although of course we got in them despite the obstacles like shuttering to stop us doing it. :)
I doubt we saw the whole system though, just the parts out the back our factory and Burnett and Rolfe, Berry Ede and White etc.
AlanH.

castle261

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2019, 06:01:40 PM »
Both photo`s returned today......

epsom

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2019, 09:22:49 AM »
If anyone is interested, English Heritage are arranging a walk into the Shorts tunnels and shadow factory in March next year.  The dates are Saturday 7th and Saturday 28th.  Price is £30 to EH members, note that this is a members' exclusive event.  Members can have a look at page 19 of the latest What's On.  I'll not be going, I don't walk too well these days. :(

See my earlier post as I take them round (EH) that is

castle261

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2019, 05:23:42 PM »
2 Photos from Smiffy, have been removed, from my computer ---- copyright --- ( one still there ? )

castle261

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2019, 04:03:15 PM »
Very, very, interesting -- Dave Smith --- I have only just read your latest comments.
They are very detailed, thank you for that. As a boy of 14, my eyes sort out the finish Sunderlands.     I was not sure about the shops between No 3 shop and  No 17 shop, as my work probably, would
not take me into these shops, very often.


Cant vouch for those Sunderland`s being on No 18 slip -- Smiffy


epsom

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2019, 11:37:13 AM »
If anyone is interested, English Heritage are arranging a walk into the Shorts tunnels and shadow factory in March next year.  The dates are Saturday 7th and Saturday 28th.  Price is £30 to EH members, note that this is a members' exclusive event.  Members can have a look at page 19 of the latest What's On.  I'll not be going, I don't walk too well these days. :(

Hi All, I have access to the tunnels and along with a group of us maintain these for the shorts reach board I have been taking people down for a good number of years and over the last few years EH we have taken down.
The tours I do are free and usually are on a Saturday afternoon.
There will be no tours until early March next year to miss the Bat season but if a number of you would like to visit I will be happy to take you around but there will be conditions which are enforced by the Board that I have to follow but if the interest is there then let me know.

AlanTH

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2019, 09:01:27 AM »
Hi Dave Smith (and others of course).
My Dad worked in No.18 shop during those years you were there I'm sure. I vaguely remember him going on to work at Guildford Surrey when Shorts closed down in Rochester.
He died in 1952 (smoking diseases) and was very badly treated by Shorts with his pension entitlements.
I believe the last remnants of Shorts have now gone after Bombadier their last owner in Belfast recently sold off their assets their due to various problems.
AlanTh.

PS. I really must hunt down that pic I have of him and his fellow workers and psot it here.

Dave Smith

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2019, 10:00:27 PM »
Having replied to some posts, I now find there are a lot more that were not shown then. So, hopefully to clarify. I think all those Sunderland fuselages together with Sunderland V & 3 Seafords + Shetland II all on the apron outside No. 18  shop are about 1947 when Shorts closed. They are NOT being manufactured!( see my earlier post re shop useage). All "the  rubbish" surrounding them is after a good clear out ready for the new companies to move in. Shorts had a very big presence in Bedford during the war, a big shadow factory. The wings would definitely have been transported on the 60ft long Queen Mary's, they could take 2 side by side (upright not flat) as span was 112ft, so wings just over 50ft.
The Stirling wings were very similar to Sunderlands s
[/size][/color]
o would also have gone on a Queen Mary over Rochester bridge. 
If of interest to anyone, basically, Sunderlands were the RAF aircraft; Mk's 1,2,3 & 5. The Seaford ( we called it the IV) had a large fairing on the fore of the fin. [/size][/color]
Sandringhams were a civil version of the Mk.V & Solents the civil Seaford.

Dave Smith

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2019, 09:06:16 PM »
Hi, castle 261. I was an apprentice at the Seaplane works from July 1945 until January 1947 when we juniors were told that the works were closing & all production was being moved to Short & Harland in Belfast. So we best find another firm who would take us on & extend our indentures. Some of my friends went to Wingets, in Strood & others to Blaw & Knox( who eventually took over No.18 shop). I had always been very interested in aircraft, instigated I suspect by my uncle Hector Smith who had been the chauffeur/mechanic to the 3 Short Brothers, driving their Rolls Royce when they were over on the Isle of Sheppey. He then became an aero mechanic with Shorts (loved the Pobjoy engines they used) & was a member of the team who started up Shorts at what is now Rochester airport. His tales, told with great enthusiasm, were many & varied- hence my addiction! At that time the RAF were advertising for apprentices for Halton, so I sat their exam, passed & spent several years at Halton, etc. Re the shops at the Seaplane Works. The 1st inside the gate was No.1 ( machine shop & detailing section) then a small No.2 ( offices) then No.3 which was final assembly where the engines were fitted- by Bristol personnel- & the a/c was launched down one of the two slipways into the Medway. Various small shops facing the river or behind ( spray booth, panel beaters, lofting hall, canteen over one of them- good grub, only 6d for apprentices, etc.). Then No.17 shop where main planes were assembled & finally No. 18 shop where various sub assemblies were made & different aircraft ( eg Shetland) were kept prior to moving out onto the very large apron at the side.My trade was Fitter & Sheetmetal Worker & I worked in Nos. 18, 17 & 1 ( detail) shops. In recent years I've visited Rochester Museum to find, to my dismay- that there is no area there dedicated to Shorts!( the 2nd largest, by far, employer in the Medway Towns). They just don't have the room but one day.... I gave then some of my tools & other artifacts, which are stored in the basement- just resting! About 5 years ago Liz Walker- the great niece of the Short Bros.- started the Short Brothers Commemoration Society. She- like me- was sad to see the pioneers of the British aircraft industry- & makers of the first world travel aircraft (C Class flying boats) & long range anti submarine aircraft in WW2 (Sunderlands)- with no history in the City/County in which they operated. ( If you go to Stoke, the
designer of the Spitfire,
RJMitchell, is very proudly celebrated).       

castle261

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2019, 03:34:22 PM »
The only Sunderland that was outside, was on the No 18 slip. ` EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT `.

                    ( It`s happening to ME now )

castle261

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2019, 03:16:15 PM »
I possible solution could be that the Ministry of Aircraft Production, decided that Shorts Bros.
should be dispersed to other factories. My brother was in the R.A.F. that decided that any
R.A.F. personal, that worked in aircraft factories, could be released under a `B` release scheme,
to help with aircraft production. He applied and was sent to Trout Beck Bridge, in Lake Windermere.
to make Sunderlands there. I went there during the war to see him, a Sunderland was on the lake.
I read that the Stirling aircraft from Short`s went to a factory assembly plant, near Birmingham.


Where there other aircraft assembly plants, around the county, as well ?


Another section, I wrote `I saw Lord Beaverbrook in conference at Shorts in 1942 `.

MartinR

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Re: Short brothers. Seaplane Works !
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2019, 02:17:24 PM »
If anyone is interested, English Heritage are arranging a walk into the Shorts tunnels and shadow factory in March next year.  The dates are Saturday 7th and Saturday 28th.  Price is £30 to EH members, note that this is a members' exclusive event.  Members can have a look at page 19 of the latest What's On.  I'll not be going, I don't walk too well these days. :(