Originally based in Coventry, the British Government suggested he relocate to Clitheroe, when his factory was bombed in 1941. It was here, in Clitheroe, that he was based when he proved to be successful with his jet engine project. Sir Whittle used The Swan & Royal on a regular basis, both to dine, and to hold his conferences.
The Five Shilling Meal That Sealed A Great Jet Deal On a cold day in November 1942, ‘three wise men’ converged on a small Lancashire town.
Nestled beneath the foothills of Pendle – noted for its association with the Lancashire witches – it is overlooked by a Norman Castle keep. It wasn’t a babe in a manger that the wise men had come to pay homage to; it was the world’s first practical jet engine that lay stabled in the town.
There in an empty factory – the disused Waterloo Mill – Rover Motor Company engineers were secretly ‘nursing’ Whittle’s first jet engine brought away from its Coventry base.
With Bristol radial engines currently being assembled and tested in nearby Clayton-le-Moors, near Accrington, they were in good company. They welcomed the safer country surroundings to continue their secret work.
First run at Rugby at the General Electric factory, this engine was the brainchild of inventor Frank Whittle and was still in its infancy state.
Although already running, it was not considered to be fully operational. Combustion problems beset it and it was constantly breaking down.