Engineer, Deceased Person
1885 – 1955
Who was Robert Blackburn?
He was born in Kirkstall, Leeds, Yorkshire, England. He attended Leeds Modern School and graduated in engineering at the University of Leeds, built his first monoplane in 1909 and flew it at Filey and gave regular demonstration flights for crowds at Roundhay Park.
He moved to Filey and built a second monoplane which established his reputation as an aviation pioneer and in 1911 founded the Blackburn Aeroplane Company. In 1914 he married his wife Jessica, an heiress and in 1914 created the Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company, which was established in a new factory built at Brough, East Riding of Yorkshire in 1916. He also opened a factory at Roundhay, Leeds in 1914, which was forced to shut down in 1920 after the closure of Roundhay Aerodrome. He introduced the first scheduled air service in Great Britain, offering half-hourly flights between Leeds and Bradford. In 1919 he set up the North Sea Aerial Navigation Company, using ex-First World War aeroplanes, which operated a regular passenger service between Leeds and Hounslow, London as well as cargo flights between cities, including between Leeds and Amsterdam. In 1917 they purchased Bowcliffe Hall at Bramham, near Wetherby as their home.
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