Kingston Aviation
George Cottrell
Transcript: 9
Return to Richmond Road

The growth of the nearby Heathrow Airport in the late 1940s signalled the end for Langley and Hawker Aircraft closed the site. Production was moved to the Richmond Road factory and a new airfield and flight testing facility was opened at Dunsfold Aerodrome. George opted for a move back to Kingston but, for him, this was handled badly and involved an unjustified loss of status. Subsequently however he rose to be foreman in charge of the Hunter production line at Richmond Road.

It was decided that the Hunter production line would have to be switched back to London Road, to Richmond Road rather. Because the – Langley was going to have to close down because they were building, extending London Airport.

 They were extending Heathrow Airport, yes. And it was too close wasn’t it? 

Yes, you just couldn’t have fast jet aircraft like ours were, zipping off from Langley and coming to into collisions with the airliners coming in. So they said no they had to close it down.  So Hawkers sold it, closed it down.

And I was, as I say, I was called to the ‘high ups’. Mr Sellwood it was at that time, he was the Chief Inspection man and called me up to his grand office. ‘Oh’ he said ‘come in, sit down’ – what’s this for, it wasn’t good I tell you!

As he said to me, ‘I’m afraid you know that Langley’s closing down’.  I said, ‘Yes’. He said, ‘well, you’ll lose your job’.  I said, ‘Oh!’ So he said, ‘Now, I am offering you a job at Dunsfold or you can go back to Richmond Road’.  I said, ‘Then I’ll have to choose Richmond Road’.

Little did I know, that once I’d taken that decision my foreman’s rank, my assistant foreman’s rank, my senior inspector’s rank – gone!  I was back to ordinary – on the shop floor – ordinary Inspector. I thought to myself, ‘Oh, my goodness me’! That’s a hell of a drop in salary, but, I’d made my decision and that’s as it had to be. It’s, it’s, it was, I wasn’t happy about it but I took it and carried on. And I just carried on, on the Hunter line and for a like while.

Eventually, one of the production assistant foreman decided he was, he’d had enough, he wanted to move up into the office. I was offered the job of taking it and I took it like nobody’s business!  I shot out there as quick as I could. Now, as I say, I took over the production line as Assistant Foreman then.

It rather, you feel a little bit peeved when you think of you rose to the heights of foreman in charge of Hunter production line. They’re going shift the production line to Dunsfold – Richmond Road rather. And you know Richmond Road have got their own supervision, but you feel that they could have fitted you in somewhere there as you were that rank already. But they didn’t – they cut me down! And I felt a little bit peeved about that. Because I thought that wasn’t quite the decent thing to do. They could have fitted me in if, with a, possibly a drop in rank, yes. But they said they had enough supervision as it was and they -they’d been with them for some time.  I said, ‘Well so have I’.  But it held no water, I’m afraid.