Airspeed York

Former Airspeed Factory, York, in 1979

Former Airspeed Factory, York, in 1979

During an Easter 1979 visit to York, I sought out and photographed the rather tatty and unremarkable building shown above. On close examination, the exterior revealed some vaguely “Art Deco” embellishments, but in general it gave the impression of being just another old warehouse.

The building was located on Piccadilly, York, and was in use as Reynard’s Garage in 1979. It had originally been built as a trolleybus garage in the early 1920s. In 1931, after the trolleybuses had been relocated to larger premises, the building took on a new function as the home of Airspeed Ltd., an aircraft manufacturing company founded by, among others, Nevil Shute and Amy Johnson.

By 1933, Airspeed were ready to expand into larger premises, but York Corporation refused to provide any assistance. Other municipalities around the country took a more enlightened view, and so Airspeed were tempted away from York to Portsmouth, where they built large new premises, then went on to design and build many successful aircraft designs, such as the Oxford and Horsa.

Sadly, in 2015 the now-derelict building was finally demolished, despite public pressure to save it. Perhaps York Corporation wanted to rid themselves of this daily reminder of their own lack of foresight back in the 1930s?

This link displays the current Google Streetview of this location.

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