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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

When scanning through the Heritage Trust's negative archive one is often surprised by the pictures which are revealed,

This was the first of a series of seven pictures dated the 24th July 1963. Armstrong Siddeley Motors Limited was now, sadly, no longer manufacturing cars but having merged with Bristol Aero-engines Ltd was now Bristol Siddeley Engines Ltd (BSEL) and as they say the clue is in the name.

Concentrating on engines designed with aircraft in mind was now the order of the day, but as we will discover these engines with a few tweaks were often put to unexpected uses.

Soon de -Havilland Engine Company and Blackburn Aircraft would join the group and in just a further three years all would be put into the Rolls Royce basket. This was a time when government had considerable influence in the shaping of company groups involved in defence work manufacturing.

The SR.N2 Hovercraft was built by Westland and Saunders Roe and powered by four Bristol Siddeley Nimbus turboshaft engines, each producing 815 hp. Two provided lift and two thrust. The craft weighed 27 tons and was designed to carry 48 passengers.

This craft first 'flew' in 1961 and following on from the prototype SR.N1 was demonstrated as far afield as the St Lawrence river in Canada. Although only one SR.N2 was built it is considered the prototype for commercial hovercraft.

Judging by the fellow standing atop the fuel tanker this could be a rather special day, and so it was as we will discover in future articles.


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