1909 to 1920: Acton Aerodrome spearheads the burgeoning UK aircraft industry

As to the lands that were to become the Hanger Hill Garden Estate, there is well-documented historical record ('The Story of Acton Aerodrome and the Alliance Factory' 2nd ed. 1978) that from 1909 to 1920 they were used for flying and aircraft manufacture.
 

In 1909, the remarkable Harold Piffard, who rented a field between North Ealing Station and Masons Green Lane from the Hanger Hill Estate, managed to coax an aircraft he had constructed a foot or two off the ground for about a hundred yards! From 1910 to 1920, the triangle of land bounded by Masons Green Lane to the west, on the north by the Birmingham line of British Rail (Western Region) and on the south by what became the Central Line, was a fully-equipped aerodrome. (Incidentally, Masons Green Lane was referred to then, and often still is locally, as "Crack Alley").


 

In 1909, the remarkable Harold Piffard, who rented a field between North Ealing Station and Masons Green Lane from the Hanger Hill Estate, managed to coax an aircraft he had constructed a foot or two off the ground for about a hundred yards! From 1910 to 1920, the triangle of land bounded by Masons Green Lane to the west, on the north by the Birmingham line of British Rail (Western Region) and on the south by what became the Central Line, was a fully-equipped aerodrome. (Incidentally, Masons Green Lane was referred to then, and often still is locally, as "Crack Alley").
 

During the period 1910 to 1914 this main aerodrome site was variously known as Acton Aerodrome, or the London Aviation Ground, Acton, Hanger Hill or Ealing (sic). The registered office of the London Aviation Company was Noel Road, Acton, with the main entrance to the aerodrome being where West Acton Station is now. Flying continued at Acton Aerodrome throughout the 1914-1918 War. During the period 1917-18 the Ruffy-Baumann School of Flying, having taken over the aerodrome from the London Aviation Company, trained many pilots of distinction.
 

During 1918, responding to pressures for aircraft manufacture, Waring and Gillow the furnishers and furniture makers, formed the Alliance Aeroplane Company, absorbing the Ruffy, Arnell and Baumann Aviation Company and taking over Acton Aerodrome.

Associated with the purchase of the lands from the Wood family, the Alliance Company covenanted "Not..... to cause annoyance to the vendor or tenants of any adjoining or adjacent land; carry on upon or permit the said premises or any part thereof to be used for any noisy noxious or offensive trade or business provide that it shall be lawful for the purchasers to work and carry on upon the said premises or any part thereof a factory for the manufacture of aeroplane engines or aircraft generally and to use the said premises as an aerodrome and aviation ground or for any other purpose which is not in the opinion of the President for the time being of the Surveyors Institution more noxious noisy or offensive than an aeroplane and engine factory aerodrome and aviation ground".

As to the lands that were to become our Estate, there is well-documented historical record ('The Story of Acton Aerodrome and the Alliance Factory' 2nd ed. 1978) that from 1909 to 1920 they were used for flying and aircraft manufacture.

In the last year of the First World War, the Alliance Aeroplane Company assisted in the building of several hundred biplanes and triplanes for the De Havilland and Handley-Page aircraft companies. Upon the cessation of hostilities, Alliance turned to producing civil aircraft, its Alliance P.2 Seabird making a record-breaking non-stop flight to Madrid in July 1919.
 

In November 1919, a second aircraft of the same type entered the £10,000 contest for a flight to Australia. Sadly it crashed at Surbiton, killing its crew. This failure took the heart out of the Alliance Aeroplane Company, which closed in 1920. 

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