Films

Spitfire Components



Archive: Wessex Film & Sound Archive
ID No.: AV338/1
Title: Spitfire Components
Date: ca. 1941
Film-maker:
Colour: Black & White
Sound: Silent
Duration of complete item: 30 min.
Themes: Industry in War-time; Women's Role


Summary:

Men and women war workers at Elliotts of Newbury Ltd. , Berkshire make components for the Spitfire aircraft.

Description:

Workmen and women are shown making aircraft components. Production is planned in a meeting, and the plans are looked at. Staff are shown working in the materials purchasing office. Sheet metal workers are filmed being shown how to make the trailing edge rib of a rudder. A finished part is shown being put into store and a spar is seen being made. Factory staff are shown taking parts from stores in preparation for assembling of the components. The final fittings are made and an ammunition box is made, including the zinc plating.

Context:

The film was deposited by Newbury District Museum (now West Berkshire Museum) along with other films concerning Elliotts (firm and family material) and the local area.

Elliotts of Newbury Ltd. was a furniture factory, founded in 1895 by Samuel Elliott. During the First World War, ammunition boxes were produced for the War effort, made by a workforce of 90 per cent women. This experience stood them in good stead during the Second World War, when a largely female workforce produced components for aircraft, including the Spitfire, the Airspeed Oxford and the Horsa glider. They achieved this without the assistance of engineers or metal workers. The Minister of Aircraft Production, Sir Stafford Cripps, later visited the factory to congratulate the workforce on its achievement.

Spitfires were constructed from components made in a number of factories across Southern England during the War, following the disastrous bombing and complete destruction of one of the main factories, Supermarine at Southampton, during the Blitz of November/December 1940. The components were then assembled at the large Castle Bromwich Aerodrome factory near Birmingham.

This film was commissioned by the firm and made by Herbert Davey Ltd., in order to demonstrate its contribution to the War effort and show detailed manufacturing processes, for possible future expansion into the aircraft manufacturing business. This did, in fact, happen. It was not until 1948 that the Board of Trade granted a licence for the production of furniture once more, so Elliotts prototyped and manufactured gliders and a light aircraft, the Newbury Eon, which became renowned throughout the World. The firm went on to produce both aircraft and furniture.

Spitfire Components (ca.1941)

Spitfire Components (ca.1941)

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