The aircraft was designed by the racing driver (and world land speed record holder) Sir Henry Segrave as a twin-engine four-seat touring monoplane. A wooden prototype, designated Saro Segrave Meteor I was built by Saunders Roe at Cowes. The prototype (registered G-AAXP) first flew on 28 May 1930. Development was delayed by the death of the designer on 13 June 1930 in a speedboat accident. The aircraft was demonstrated in Rome to the Italian Air Ministry, and a licence agreement was signed to produce the aircraft as the Piaggio P.12, although only two appear to have been made. With lack of space at Cowes and with the decision to build a metal version, two aircraft were built by Blackburn Aircraft at Brough Aerodrome with the designation Blackburn CA.18 Segrave. Blackburn changed the designation system, and the aircraft became the Blackburn B.1 Segrave.
Despite sales tours around Europe, the aircraft was not ordered, and only one further example was built. This was completed by Blackburn as the Blackburn CA.20 Segrave II to test a new single-spar wing.