Castle Bromwich Spitfire and Lancaster Factory in Pictures

Spitfire Site

Castle Bromwich Aeroplane Factory, of CBAF in short, was the largest aircraft production plant in the wartime Britain, and had become the main manufacturing ...

Castle Bromwich Aeroplane Factory, of CBAF in short, was the largest aircraft production plant in the wartime Britain, and had become the main manufacturing source of the two most successful British aircraft types of the war, the Supermarine Spitfire and the Avro Lancaster.

In 1936, the British government had formalised a plan under the Air Ministry to increase capacity within Britain’s aircraft industry. Part of the program was funding a brand-new aircraft production facility near the Castle Bromwich Aerodrome, based on a notion that the local Birmingham skills-base and production techniques used in the manufacture of motor vehicles could be transferred to large-scale aircraft production.

The main facility was completed in 1939, to a cost of a whopping £4,000,000. The first Spitfires Mk. II left the production line in June 1940, not before some severe organisational problems and multiple delays had been sorted out.

The first CBAF Lancaster was flown on 22 October 1943. Its production lifted CBAF to become the largest and most successful plant of its type during the 1939-45 conflict.

Thanks to the generous donation of Mr. Chris Taylor, we have received a photocopy of an album owned by his grandfather, Charles Edward Taylor. Mr. Taylor worked in a management position at the factory, and the album seems to have been a commemorative piece containing many official photos of the works.

They are a unique document of a past era in industrial production – on a scale which is mind-boggling even today.

All photos in this gallery are credited to [Charles Edward Taylor Collection].

Enjoy the tour of the factory – Click on any image to begin

21 Comments | Add New

By SPT.  |  2013-04-19 at 09:48  |  permalink

Name;- There is some confusion at times over the name of the factory. It’s true that Dataplates and such like carried the legend ‘CBAF’ for ‘Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory’. (Note, not ‘Aeroplane’.) However, once Nuffields were pushed-out and the team from Supermarines (Who by then were a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vickers Armstrongs.) put-in to take charge, the factory was refered to on correspondance and by everyone as ‘Vickers Armstrongs Castle Bromwich’.
The series of images above were taken for Beaverbrook’s MAP. As the site was officially listed as ‘Top Secret’ private cameras were, officially, banned. However, some images were taken and have survived.
SPT.

By Beryl Edmonds  |  2014-01-18 at 00:27  |  permalink

My mother and father-in-law, Iris (nee Symes) and Walter Edmonds both worked at the Spitfire Factory, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, during the early forties. This is where they met each other. Iris worked on Wings, Walter was the Section Supervisor. They were married in 1943, Walter was called up and joined the Army, he went into REME as an Engineer, he served in France and Germany and was one of the many Soldiers sent onto the beaches of Normandy.

By Jane Laurie  |  2014-03-03 at 16:55  |  permalink

Hi,
I have a large iron RAF water hopper which is being used as a planter.
My father-in-law acquired it when his company demolished a spitfire factory back in the 80s. He had a base made so the downpipe would slip over the stand and so be utilised as a planter. I am interested in selling this now but have no idea who to contact. Have you any suggestions please?

Regards
Jane

By Matt  |  2015-02-07 at 18:22  |  permalink

Hi interested in purchasing the iron hopper

By Sean  |  2014-03-17 at 16:53  |  permalink

Are there tunnels under the plant like at Longbridge?

By Andrew Broadhead  |  2014-03-28 at 20:08  |  permalink

My Dad was stationed at Castle Bromwich during the war as an aircraft engineer. He met and married my Mum there and they had two children, my brother and sister (I came later!) during wartime. It became apparent that an “removable adapter” was needed to produce a loo seat that could duel both for adult and young child’s bottoms. Easy to make for an engineer, but where does one get the materials during wartime? Having noted that the local park benches were made of fine Cuban mahogany, Dad and his friend Maurice “went for a stroll in the park” one night. The result was one loo seat for my brother and sister, a lovely chopping board each for Mum and “Mrs. Maurice”….. and a park minus one of its benches!
It is also said that, despite strict rationing, the smell of freshly roasted pheasant, wood pigeon and rabbit could frequently be smelt coming from Dad’s and Maurice’s kitchens. It is also said that mysterious sounds of .303 gunfire could be frequently heard just prior to this smell emanating from the kitchens, though no-one could quite pin down the source.
It was hard and often dangerous work at Castle Bromwich, but there was a side to life we can no longer imagine.

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