Robert Blackburn (aviation pioneer)
He was born in Kirkstall, Leeds, Yorkshire, England. He attended Leeds Modern School and graduated in engineering at the University of Leeds, built his first monoplane in 1909 and flew it at Filey and gave regular demonstration flights for crowds at Roundhay Park.
He moved to Filey and built a second monoplane which established his reputation as an aviation pioneer and in 1911 founded the Blackburn Aeroplane Company. In 1914 he married his wife Jessica, an heiress and in 1914 created the Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company, which was established in a new factory built at Brough, East Riding of Yorkshire in 1916. He also opened a factory at Roundhay, Leeds in 1914, which was forced to shut down in 1920 after the closure of Roundhay Aerodrome. He introduced the first scheduled air service in Great Britain, offering half-hourly flights between Leeds and Bradford. In 1919 he set up the North Sea Aerial Navigation Company, using ex-First World War aeroplanes, which operated a regular passenger service between Leeds and Hounslow, London as well as cargo flights between cities, including between Leeds and Amsterdam. In 1917 they purchased Bowcliffe Hall at Bramham, near Wetherby as their home.
He was the founder of Scarcroft golf club. In 1950 he retired, leaving Bowcliffe Hall and moving to Devon. On his death in Devon in 1955 the Blackburn company's production facilities became part of Hawker Siddeley.
- A. J. Jackson "Blackburn Aircraft since 1909" Putnam & Co Ltd (1968)
- "PPS5 Heritage Assessment- Bowcliffe Hall". Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- Biographical info and project to build a replica of the first Blackburn monoplane
- Humphrey Wynn, ‘Blackburn, Robert (1885–1955)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 21 September 2007
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