|The Design Department in 1946|
When Gordon first joined the Experimental Drawing Office in 1946 it was based in the Old Furniture Depository on the south side of Canbury Park Road. The department was headed by Sydney Camm: Frank Cross was in charge of the Experimental Drawing Office and W.S. Hollyhock was in charge of the Production Drawing Office. Gordon here describes the constituent parts of the department and how they worked together.
Can you just tell me a little bit about the work of the various departments, because I always find this a little bit difficult to understand. There was the Drawing Office, and there was the Experimental Drawing Office.
There were two drawing offices.
There were two drawing offices yes.
There was an Experimental Drawing Office and next door to that and completely divided from it, with two different bosses was the Production Drawing Office.
The Production Drawing Office.
And what the experimental did was to draw the aeroplane to make the first prototype and then the production people would take the resultant aeroplane and all the drawings and alter the drawings or improve them to make it easy to actually make it in quantity.
And strangely enough there was very little liaison really, between the two. Mr Hollyhock [W.S. ‘Holly’ Hollyhock, Chief Production Draughtsman 1940 – 1961] was in charge of production and Mr Cross [Frank Cross, Chief Experimental Draughtsman 1934 – 1963] was in charge of experimental. And Sir Sydney Camm of course was in charge of everything and the two offices had about forty to fifty draughtsmen in each.
Then you had a Stress Office and in the Stress Office there was a little group who were in weights, did all the weights work. And then you had a Project Office in which- if I can remember- had pretty well the aerodynamic activity and you had Research and Testing, is another department. And they would take the prototype structure and take it to Langley. I think all the test work was done at Langley in those days. And the whole lot, wasn’t more than a couple of hundred people. Absolutely amazing really how it was done.