Marking Sir Frank’s jet engine eureka moment at Rugby factory

Dignitaries enjoy lunch at Brownsover Hall Hotel to mark the 80th anniversary of Sir Frank Whittle's first successful test of his jet engine. Photo: Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society NNL-170414-120946001
Dignitaries enjoy lunch at Brownsover Hall Hotel to mark the 80th anniversary of Sir Frank Whittle's first successful test of his jet engine. Photo: Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society NNL-170414-120946001
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Sir Frank Whittle’s jet engine breakthrough was celebrated at the Rugby factory where it happened exactly 80 years ago on Wednesday (April 12).

Dignitaries, including the pioneering engineer’s son Ian, toured the former British Thomson-Houston Works where the jet engine was first successfully tested.

A model of Sir Frank Whittles W2/700 jet engine with a model of the Gloster-Whittle E28/39 aircraft which was the first plane to fly with the engine. Photo: Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society NNL-170414-121107001

A model of Sir Frank Whittles W2/700 jet engine with a model of the Gloster-Whittle E28/39 aircraft which was the first plane to fly with the engine. Photo: Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society NNL-170414-121107001

Also among the esteemed guests at the GE Energy Connections factory on Technology Drive was Sir Alastair Dudley-Williams, whose father Sir Rolf was one of the jet engine’s original backers.

In addition were representatives from The Whittle Commemorative Trust, Rugby Aviation Group, GE and Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society plus Rugby MP Mark Pawsey for the tour and lunch afterwards at Brownsover Hall Hotel, where Sir Frank held his wartime offices in the 1940s.

Ian Whittle brought along a model of the W2/700 jet engine, and a model of the Gloster-Whittle E28/39 aircraft which was the first aircraft to fly with the engine in 1941.

Frank Whittle in his office at Brownsover Hall in the 1940s NNL-170414-105607001

Frank Whittle in his office at Brownsover Hall in the 1940s NNL-170414-105607001