The Society is is currently running a programme of lectures by Zoom rather than “in the room” meetings

Details and links to access meetings will be sent out to Members at the approriate times.

Members will not need to have a video camera or microphone to be able to watch the talk.

Many members will be used to Zoom meetings but advice on installing and using the Zoom software is available to download here. Please note that these notes are a ‘work in progress’ and comments and corrections will be welcome

Wednesday 13 March  2024, 7.30pm.
A W Hawksley Limited From Swords to ploughshares – Aircraft to Prefab Housing
Speaker: Chas Townley

The Brockworth factory of global polymers firm Invista was originally erected as a “shadow” factory for the assembly of military aircraft immediately before the second world war. This talk will briefly cover the construction of the factory and the wartime aircraft production before focusing on the development of the temporary housing programme manufacturing the “AIROH” House (Air Industries Research Organisation for Housing) and a “permanent” housing programme, using a modified version of the AIROH House.

The talk will also discuss the production of other designs of prefabricated housing for both the UK and export, including Australia, where the name Hawksley became synonymous with prefabricated buildings. A later phase of housing work by Hawksley was the production of a precast reinforced concrete housing based on a Swiss design of which 650 were built at Brockworth “in the national interest” to support the housing for the early 1950’s rearmaments programme which was abruptly ended in in 1958 and the eventual ending of aircraft production at Brockworth in 1962.

Photograph of Aluminium House
Photograph of Aluminium House displayed at 35 Piccadilly April 1948 (Gloucestershire Archives from LPW Spry Collection D4675)

Chas Townley is a member of GSIA and is the eldest son of the late Harry and Mary Townley who were founder members of the society, and both actively involved in the long running Friday night lectures in Stroud. His research interests include council housing, transport including turnpikes and also discovering lost rights of way and he now lives in the Coopers Edge development on the former Brockworth Airfield,

Please note that while we will make every effort to deliver talks by Zoom, circumstances beyond our control (like temporary non-availability of the Internet) could prevent this. We would, of course, reschedule the talk for the earliest opportunity.

For lots of inforamtion about Gloucestershire’s rich and varied industrial heritage visit