Gloucestershire

Hucclecote jet runway destroyed by new factory

Remains of runway Image copyright Jet Age Museum
Image caption Sections of the runway were still visible before the factory construction work began

A move to build a factory on the site where the first British jet aeroplane was tested has been criticised.

Dowty Propellers is building a warehouse, at the old Gloster Aircraft Company site at Hucclecote, Gloucester.

The destruction of one of the last remaining bits of runway, now within Gloucester Business Park, has been criticised by the local parish council.

Dowty said material from the runway had been saved, and it was looking at ways to record the history of the site.

Sir Frank Whittle's jet engine powered the Gloster E28/39, which left the ground at Hucclecote in April 1941.

Andrew Pugh, chair of Hucclecote Parish Council, said: "It's rather disappointing that not one piece might be left on that site.

"I appreciate the need to develop... but it's such an iconic piece of Gloucestershire's history, it's a pity that not a little slice could be left there for us all to appreciate.

"Everybody in the community knew somebody who worked in the aircraft industry locally.

"It would have been something to hold on to, to be proud of. It's just a pity."

Image caption The Gloster E28/39 was the first British jet aeroplane

Dowty Propellers said it was "appropriate" for aviation activity to continue on the site of the aircraft factory.

A spokesperson said it was "investigating ways to record the history of the site, adding to the existing elements that recognise the notable achievements and iconic aircraft".

History books record the first British jet flight as taking place at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire in May 1941, but some aviation enthusiasts claim Hucclecote to be the true location, because the Gloster E28/39 left the ground during taxiing runs there the previous month.

The new building, due to open at the end of the year, will replace Dowty Propellers' Staverton headquarters which was destroyed in a fire in 2015.

Image caption The Whittle Jet first left the ground at Hucclecote in April 1941

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