Village transformed as aircraft industry took off in wartime
LITTLE over a century ago Filton was just a small Gloucestershire village with an ancient church, a few big houses and a scattering of farms.
In fact less than 500 people lived there.
Aside from agriculture, a laundry owned by Samuel Shield and a wheelwrights provided employment.
This quiet, country way of life ended with the arrival of the Bristol to South Wales railway which split the parish in two.
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Then, at the turn of last century, the village became a tram terminus and by 1907 motor buses were being built there.
Three years later, to everyone's amazement, it was planes for Sir George White's aircraft company.
Then, as his works expanded, so the Royal Flying Corps decided to establish an aerodrome there too.
Engine production started in 1920 and by the time war broke out in 1939, Filton had the largest aviation production site of its kind in the world.
This was where, during the Second World War, the famous Blenheim, Beaufort and Beaufighter planes were built.
After the war came the ill-fated Brabazon and the much more successful Britannia.
Bristol Cars, formerly part of BAC, was also based in Filton, making hand-built luxury cars.
The area's population expanded rapidly and by the time the war was over in 1945, Filton was, in all but name, a suburb of Bristol.
In 1935 the village got its own cinema, the Cabot, which survived until 1962.
A relative newcomer, Rolls Royce arrived on the scene in 1966 after purchasing Bristol Siddeley Engines.
Concorde's development in the 1960s meant a further extension of the runway, now – at over 8,000 feet – one of the longest in the country.
All this development, however, came at a price – the loss of much of old Filton.
Many more historic old picture postcards of the area can be found in Filton, Patchway, Stoke Gifford on Old Postcards by Janet and Derek Fisher, price £5.50.
Part of the Bygone Bristol series, the book is on sale at both M shed and Queen's Road museums, or from Derek Fisher on 0117 942 3177 or email bygonebristol@sky.