Avro York - 1946

Reference Number:- Sprake Number:- Godden Number:-
obk 8   not listed recorded without number

Brocklehurst-Whiston (BWA) silk image of the Avro York aircraft
The image of this silk was very kindly donated by Mary Brittan, UK.

Woven at top of silk:-    

Woven at bottom of silk:-  
woven in silk


Printed at bottom of card mount:-

Card mount:
cm deep by cm wide

8.0 cm high by 19.0 cm wide

Technical Details supplied by Lewis Cowen:
First Sketch:       Mr James Norris
Design Draft:Mr James Norris
Card Cutter:Mr William Stubbs
Weaver:Mrs Ruth Collier
Design No:Z.5970
by Lewis Cowen:
When the second world war was over, the directors at BWA had to consider how best to re-introduce silk to a new generation of customers growing up in an era of rationing, and they came up with the idea of making a silk picture that would demonstrate not only the capabilities of their looms, but also the skills and versatility of the crafts involved in silk weaving.

At that time, at nearby Woodford aerodrome, a new aeroplane was being built by A V ROE, based on the successful wartime bomber - the Lancaster. This new aeroplane would be a transport aircraft capable of being converted to passenger carrying. It was called the Avro York, and was eventually to make some 30,000 flights to Berlin during the famous post war airlift of 1948/1949.

BWA's directors felt that the first 'York' to be sold to an airline would make a suitable subject for their first silk picture. It would promote the skills and flexibility of the silk Jacquard loom, and copies could be given to employees and officials of A V ROE and to passengers on the inaugural flights. In 1946 the project was commenced.

There are two schools of thought on the precise sequence of events from this point. One is that the design and weaving fell behind schedule, and the pictures were not ready for the inaugural flight. The other suggests that A V ROE found the finished article to be not to their liking and refused to have any part in its distribution. Whatever the reason BWA were faced with the problem of finding another outlet for them, and this they did by having the silk pictures mounted on beige/brown card and attaching a calendar, suspended by ribbon, underneath. These were then sent to prestigious customers and one was given to each of the BWA's employees. Many went abroad.

Other comments:
Lewis Cowen notes above that this silk picture was initially issued to prestigious customers and BWA employees in the form of a calendar. Below is an image of just such a calendar, with the reverse also shown.

Lewis notes the card mount to be a brown colour. Very dark green mounts have also been seen, and it is these coloured mounts which define the original issue of this silk picture. Several years later BWA realised their pictures were being bought as collectors items, and they seem to have reissued all the early ones mounted in a white card mount (as the main image above). The actual silk though in these white reissued pictures almost certainly came from the original 1946 weaving.

Brocklehurst-Whiston (BWA) silk image of the Avro York aircraft as an original calendar
image of this silk as a calendar
Brocklehurst-Whiston (BWA) silk image of the Avro York aircraft as an original calendar
image of the reverse of this silk as a calendar


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This page was created on 8 March 2003
new image added 4 September 2008. Image of calendar silk and reverse added 26 April 2018 © Peter Daws - Stevengraph-Silks