Whitehall Securities

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Whitehall Securities Corporation Ltd was formed in 1907 by Weetman Dickinson Pearson MP who became Viscount Cowdray in 1917 together with Harold Pearson MP. Sir Weetman was nominated as President as well as being a founding director. The company was capitalised at £1,000,000. On 12 December 1990 the company name was changed to Pearson Management Services Ltd. The company formed part of what is now the Pearson PLC group of business interests which were initially[when?] amongst the world's leading oil and construction contractors.

Aviation interests[edit]

In 1929, Whitehall Securities became a financial investor of Airwork Services, a British private aviation conglomerate established by Nigel Norman and Alan Muntz the year before.[1]

In 1935, Viscount Cowdray's younger son, Bernard Clive Pearson, took over the management of Whitehall Securities. By that time, Whitehall Securities had acquired shareholdings in a number of Britain's leading pre-World War II private airlines. Among these was Spartan Air Lines that was formed as a subsidiary to Spartan Aircraft which had been acquired by Whitehall Securities. In 1931 Spartan Aircraft's operations were allied to the Saunders Roe company in which Whitehall Securities had taken a majority shareholding. In April 1935, Whitehall Securities and Jersey Airways formed United Airways as a sister airline to Spartan Air Lines.[2]

Whitehall Securities had acquired a controlling shareholding in Hillman's Airways, which had become a public company in December 1934 following the death of Hillman's founder Ted Hillman. In September 1935, Hillman's Airways, Spartan Air Lines and United Airways merged to form Allied British Airways. A month later, the new airline shortened its name to British Airways.[2] On 1 August 1936, British Airways took over British Continental Airways, and the following month it absorbed Crilly Airways.[2] Whitehall Securities was joined as investor in the merged airline by the French banking company Emile Erlanger & Co.

Whitehall Securities' financial involvement with the pre-war British Airways came to an end following the merger of the airline with Imperial Airways to form British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) in 1940, which resulted in the industry's nationalisation.[2]

Meanwhile, in the post-war era, Airwork changed its name to British United Airways (BUA) on 19 May 1960 following Whitehall Securities' agreement to let Airwork [re-]use the United Airways name together with the prefix British. (This preceded BUA's official formation on 1 July of that year, when Airwork merged with Hunting-Clan Air Transport.)[3] Whitehall Securities held 10% of the new group.

Other holdings[edit]

In 1951 Whitehall Securities Corporation purchased the Lawley Group, china manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of china and glass, of London and Stoke-on-Trent. Whitehall Securities already owned Booths and Colcloughs together with a large number of ceramic and pottery manufacturers. This grouping became known as Allied English Potteries which was later absorbed into the Wedgwood group.[4]


  1. ^ The ATL-98 Carvair: A Comprehensive History of the Aircraft and All 21 Airframes (Part 1: Getting off the ground – Airwork), p. 14
  2. ^ a b c d Airways (The Archive: The Legacy of BOAC (Pt. 1)), p. 62
  3. ^ Airwork: A History (Chapter 2: Company Development 1928–1960 – Formation of BUA), pp. 11/2
  4. ^ Perry, Michael. "History of Royal Albert Ltd makers of bone china". www.potteryhistories.com. Retrieved 2016-10-20.


  • Dean, William Patrick (2008). The ATL-98 Carvair: A Comprehensive History of the Aircraft and All 21 Airframes. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-3670-5.(Google Books)
  • McCloskey, Keith (2012). Airwork: A History. Stroud, UK: The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-7972-9. (Google Books)
  • "Airways — The Archive (The Legacy of BOAC (Pt. 1))". 22, 2, 230. St. Miami, FL: Airways International. April 2015.