Air Ministry, Balloon Development Establishment, 1938-1940
Air Ministry, Naval Aircraft Works, 1919-1921
Air Ministry, Royal Airship Works, 1921-1936
Ministry of Aircraft Production, Balloon Development Establishment, 1940-1946
Ministry of Supply, Research and Development Establishment, 1946-1959
Administrative / biographical background:
In 1917 the Admiralty purchased a site at Cardington, Bedfordshire, to develop airships. The works were taken over by the Air Ministry in October 1919, becoming the responsibility of the Deputy Director of Airship Research under the Director General of Supply and Research. In 1921 airship construction ceased, the Deputy Director's post was abolished and the works were put on a care and maintenance basis. In 1924 interest in airships revived, a Director of Airship Development under the Air Member for Supply and Research was appointed and work was subsequently begun at Cardington on building the R101.
After the R101 airship disaster in 1930, the Air Ministry abandoned airship construction and, although the works remained in existence, activities there were restricted to studying airship development abroad and to experimental work on balloons. In 1938 the Balloon Development Establishment was created at Cardington which was renamed in 1945 as the Research and Development Establishment. The establishment was transferred to the Ministry of Aircraft Production in 1940 and the Ministry of Supply in 1946. In 1959 control was passed to the Ministry of Aviation.
Have you found an error with this catalogue description? Let us know