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Book reviews — December 2006

'British-built Aircraft: Greater London', by Ron Smith
Published by Tempus Publishing Ltd (2002, reprinted 2005). 224 pages (paperback). ISBN: 0-7524-2770-9
Ron's Smith five-volume examination of the British aircraft industry begins with a comprehensive look at manufacturing in Greater London which is bound to be of interest to aviation enthusiasts and industrial archaeologists alike.

As so many manufacturers have ceased to exist — nowadays most of the manufacturing capacity is in the hands of two companies (BAE Systems and Agusta Westland) — this is a valuable record of the industry from the earliest days of A.V. Roe and S.F. Cody, through to the present day.

The book opens with a 47-page essay on the evolution of the British Aircraft Industry, from its pioneering beginnings in 1908, through the peaks of the war years, to its decline after the Second World War.

The main section details all known builders/manufacturers of aircraft within the Greater London Area. Each area of London is covered alphabetically, from Abbey Wood to Willesden. The history of each manufacturer is given, often with reproductions of advertising material.

The scope of the work is exceptionally thorough, although it does not promise to be comprehensive as some information is limited to records of manufacturers' names garnered from obscure references. It is promised that subsequent editions will correct mistakes and add omissions.

To give a flavour of the depth of detail we learn for example that the first A.V. Roe biplane was built in 1907 at 47 West Hill, Putney in stables behind the surgery of Dr Stephen Vernon Roe, the pioneer's brother. On completion it was moved to Brooklands.

With a comprehensive index and bibliography, numerous pictures, posters and advertisements, Ron Smith's book will delight experts and the casual reader alike.

'The Dawn of Amateur Radio in the UK and Greece — a Personal View' by Norman F Joly
First published in 1990
Through my contacts at the House Mill, I came across The Dawn of Amateur Radio in the UK and Greece — a Personal View by Norman F Joly, first published in 1990. If anyone is interested, copies are still available from his son, Gordon Joly for £7.50 (free postage, First Class, UK address) — cheaper than Amazon! His address is 116, Hind Grove, London E14 6HP; phone 020 7515 4964, mobile 07904 769 096. Brian James-Strong

© GLIAS, 2006