Boulton Paul Aircraft Heritage Project, GE Aviation, Wobaston Road, Fordhouses, Wolverhampton WV9 5EW
Museum Open Day, Sunday 19 April 2009
Boulton Paul had moved from Norwich to Wolverhampton in 1934 and set up a purpose made factory to produce aircraft. The Defiant aircraft produced during WW2 was unique in that it was single engineed but with a turret in the fuselage behind the pilot. The company was also famous for producing many of the turrets used in WW2 bombers such as the Halifax. Over the years, the company changed hands and is now owned by the American GE Aviation. One chap today told me that when they bought the company from Smith’s Aerospace in 2007, they didn’t know about the museum but had a very pleasant surprise. Now they are very supportive and are proud to have part of the company’s history on their site.
The museum itself isn’t open to the public very often, which is a great shame, since it has a wonderful atmosphere to it. It’s like a private club of enthusiasts who are really enthusiastic about there interests and are more than happy to share it with you, which makes you feel really at home and welcomed. In addition to the Defiant, I was amazed to find a Jet Provost, a Balliiol trainers, a 1919 P6 Biplane, a number of Slingsby training gliders used by the ATC (Air Traning Corps) along with cockpits of a Hawker Hunter, Avro Anson, Canberra and a turret from a Halifax bomber. In addition to the open day was a working display of 1/6 scale – Action Man size ! – radio controlled model tanks, complete with loud engine noise by the UK Tank Club. It was also nice to see a number of classic cars on display which added to the atmosphere. While I was there, I saw a Sunbeam Alpine, a Model T Ford and a local Willys MB Jeep. Truly an amazing afternoon and one I would highly recommend. I can’t wait until the next one ! For further details visit their website at www.boultonpaul.com