Pemberton Billing Limited
The spirit of adventure was at the very heart of the company formed by publisher, lawyer, property developer and inventor Noel Pemberton Billing.
Pemberton-Billing actually learnt to fly in September 1913 following a wager with Frederick Handley-Page who said he could not achieve controlled flight in a single day. Needless to say, Handley-Page lost the bet and later that year saw the formation of Pemberton-Billing Limited, created by its owner to manufacture flying boats.
Based at Woolston, a suburb of Southampton, the company’s first project was the P.B.1, a single-seat flying boat although it never managed to fly more than a few yards. Another attempt to produce a viable design was the P.B.9 which, although the only example built was eventually sold to the Royal Naval Air Service, was actually built in 7 days earning it the nickname ‘Seven Day Bus’.
Pemberton-Billing Limited used ‘Supermarine’ as its telegraphic address, this being refuted to have been chosen by Mr Pemberton-Billing as the opposite of ‘submarine’.
The company eventually saw a small amount of success with the P.B.25, a single seat scout aircraft of which 20 were built in 1915.
Mr Pemberton-Billing meanwhile had lost interest in aviation in favour of a political life having been elected a Member of Parliament in 1916. During his paliamentary career, Pemberton-Billing was very vocal in his opposition to the activities of the Royal Aircraft Factory at Farnborough whom he considered as 'tinkering with science' rather than preparing to face the so-called 'Fokker scourge'.
He sold the company to his factory manager Hubert Scott-Paine in 1916 who renamed it as The Supermarine Aviation Works Limited.
|1916||Supermarine Aviation Works Limited|
|1928||Vickers Aviation Limited|
|1954||Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Limited|
|1960||British Aircraft Corporation|