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Aviation History - Postwar Years

Viking to VC10

Vickers VC10 Brooklands 1964By the end of the war Brooklands had produced and flown a total of 5,748 military aircraft through the Hawker and Vickers companies, but the Track had been damaged by German bombing and war-time camouflage, defences and the construction of temporary buildings. In 1946 Vickers purchased the entire site for £330,000 and proceeded to design and build a new range of civil and military aircraft at Brooklands including Britain’s first post-war airliner, the Vickers Viking.

The Viscount was the most successful British civil airliner and the prototype was first flown from nearby Wisley in 1948. In total 444 Viscounts were built at Brooklands and Bournemouth before production ended in 1964.

Following the success of the Viscount, the Vanguard was first flown from Brooklands in 1959 and in 1962 Brooklands entered the jet age with the first flight of the prototype VC10 airliner. Most of the factory workforce turned out to witness this event and all 53 production VC10s were flown out of Brooklands for completion and test flying at Wisley.

TSR2 to Concorde

TSR2In 1960 Vickers-Armstrongs became part of the newly formed British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) with its headquarters at Brooklands. Work continued on such aircraft as the TSR2, designed in the climate of the Cold War but cancelled in 1965 and the One-Eleven which coincided with the rise in package holidays in the 1960s and 70s.

In 1969 the world’s first supersonic passenger aircraft made its inaugural test flight at Toulouse but it was at Brooklands that the first preliminary design meeting was held in Chairman Sir George Edwards’ office and more of Concorde was built at Brooklands than at any other manufacturing site.

In 1977, British Aerospace was formed by the merger of BAC with Hawker Siddeley Aviation but the factory at Brooklands was already contracting in size and no longer built complete aircraft.  In July 1986, the factory’s closure was announced and demolition took place in 1989-90. The Heights business park and a new housing estate occupy the site of the British Aerospace East Works today

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