John Lloyd and Reginald Mitchell – two aircraft designers from The Potteries
Two of the 20th century’s leading aircraft designers, Reginald Mitchell and John Lloyd, grew up in Stoke-on-Trent.
Both were educated at Hanley High School and served apprenticeships in The Potteries before going to work in the aviation industry.
Made in 1942, the film The First of the Few, starring Leslie Howard and David Niven, told the world how Mitchell raced against time to create the Spitfire while dying of cancer.
Already “a living legend” when the film was released, the Spitfire symbolised Britain’s determination to destroy Nazi Germany.
The film made Mitchell a Potteries’ folk hero. Hanley High School was renamed Mitchell High, the Mitchell Memorial Theatre was built to commemorate his life and a by-pass, Reginald Mitchell Way, was named after him.
John Lloyd’s contribution to aviation history was forgotten.
Between 1942 and 1949, John was at the cutting edge of aviation research working on the flying wing, an experimental tailless jet aircraft. Hoping these experiments would enable him to design an airliner, he constructed a two-seater tailless glider which flew successfully.
Impressed by the glider’s performance, the government allowed him to build two jet-powered flying wings. One crashed while being flown by a test pilot and the other was taken to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough where it was used in tests which helped to develop the V Bomber force and Concorde.
You can find out more about John’s life and the aircraft he designed by reading “John Lloyd – North Staffordshire’s Forgotten Aircraft Designer” at https://spotlightonstoke.com/2010/08/09/john-lloyd-8/