Aerial photo of the ESA factory at Stevenage

By Simon Mortimer

Stevenage Museum
This page was added on 14/12/2010.

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  • Hi. This is a long shot but I wonder if anyone knows of anyone still alive who was employed at the ESA Factory in Stevenage during the Second World War. I am working on a documentary about the Mosquito aircraft and we would love to speak to someone involved in the manufacture of the aircraft, which was carried out at ESA. Obviously if anyone is still alive they would probably have been a school leaver or apprentice during the war years, and now in their 90s or even 100+ now.

    It does not have to be anyone who was hands on with the manufacture, just anyone who was employed at ESA.

    With thanks

    Steve Darlow

    [Please don’t post anyone’s personal contact details in response to this appeal but rather contact, asking to be put in contact with Steve and citing the page where this comment appears. Thanks. Ed.]

    By Steve Darlow (11/08/2023)
  • My Dad (Bill Harrison) used to work at ESA as the Maintenance Engineer (circa 1965-80), and played football for the work’s team also. It’s only in later life I appreciate some of the astounding technical skills he possessed, and the amazing things he made for my brothers and I – possibly utilising some of the machinery at work!

    By Mark (12/05/2021)
  • Not sure if this is the place that I’m looking for but my dad Gavin Palmer used to run the esa workmens club for years me and my brothers were brought up in the club life

    By Leanne palmer (22/01/2021)
  • Interesting.
    Unusual names Newberry acker dines

    By Paul johnson (09/01/2021)
  • I put Britainfromabove. On because its interesting and useful it covers lots of the uk ,bfi site is useful to .i’m not promoting them

    [Paul, perhaps you haven’t seen this page, yet? There are other pages ,too, which include aerial shots taken from Britain From Above. Ed]

    By Paul johnson (09/01/2021)
  • Are the ariel shots from britainfromabove?

    [Paul, aerial (sic) shots taken from Britain From Above should be (and on this site, generally are) properly credited and watermarked. This shot appears to be from the collection of Stevenage Museum. If you recognise it as in fact deriving from the collection of Britain From Above, please contact us at:

    with full details and we will ensure the appropriate action is taken. Ed.]

    By Paul johnson (08/01/2021)
  • An addition to my previous comment regarding the annual children’s Christmas party being held in the works canteen of which can be seen in the aerial photograph as an annex, is in the upper left hand side of the view.

    By Robert E Dines (24/11/2020)
  • My father, Frederick G. Dines, was employed at E.S.A. for 34 years retiring in 1978. He started work there in 1944 working on the aircraft wings of the Mosquito, all constructed from wood and held together with numerous brass screws! In later years my father worked in workshop J7 until his retirement. I remember going to the children’s Christmas party every year which was held in the works canteen and going home clutching a splendid toy. The annual gala day brought fun for ‘Esavian’ workers and their families. The tug-of-war contests were exciting to watch along with the fire brigade demonstrations.

    By Robert E Dines (24/08/2020)
  • Having left Barclay school aged 15 in 1962 i started a traineeship in the tool room/machine shop at E.S.A. The foreman was ben newberry. Within the first few weeks the charge hand {doug smith} told me i should make the tea for the workers in that department. I pointed out that the elderly man who did the odd jobs and tidying up makes the tea and that i was there to train as a toolroom engineer not to make and hand out tea. Later that day i was sent for a meeting with ben newberry who asked me why i would not make the tea. i told him the same as i had told doug smith, after which he said i should return to my work and “think about it”.

    A week later i was once again sent for a meeting with ben newberry who asked “have you made the tea yet”, with much trepidation i advised him that i had not!! he made no further comment regarding the making of tea but walked across his office, withdrew a leather bound engineering book from a shelf saying “so today we will study metal case hardening”. Those once weekly meetings continued for some time and covered various aspects of engineering.

    After 1 1/2 years in the tool room/machine shop he arranged for me to be assistant to the manager of the maintenance department whose name was jack acker. By the age of 18 the overriding interest in my life was athletics in which i was competing at national level. there was the odd occasion when i took a few hours off work before a competition. It was In the Easter of 1965 that i was chosen to represent southern England v the Rhineland in Germany. This coincided with one of the busiest times for a maintenance department. Jack told me he would not be in work over this period and that i should phone him if any problems arose. Having dared not to tell him that i would not be at work either i just assured him all would be ok. I passed the list of maintenance jobs to each worker asking them “not to tell the boss” that i would not be there”!!, then returned to work the following Tuesday to find the mill had caught on fire to which 3 fire engines attended and that i no longer had a job!!!

    I enjoyed my time at E S A and was given an excellent foundation in engineering which served me well throughout my working life.

    a few names i remember from my time at E S A are:
    john major, jack acker, terry McGrath, ben newberry, doug smith, bob guine

    By michael gorham (01/12/2019)