The New Skybirds forum is now active

The historically important Skybirds series of aircraft was created in 1932 in the United Knigdom by Alfred J. Holladay. The series ended by the end of WW 2. They produced a prodigious number of aircraft in kits {and 2 complete die cast ones}, along with airport equipment, buildings, pilots, crew, mechanics, soldiers, and vehicles

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The New Skybirds forum is now active

Postby grwebster » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:37 am

The Skybird's founder's grandson, Graham Bailey, has joined the site and may be adding a lot of information on this important toy firm.

Some background discussions can be found here:
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=71#p130
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Re: The New Skybirds forum is now active

Postby grwebster » Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:28 am

forwarded from other thread

Hi Barry et al - Have just read the latest additions to the Skybirds messages - many thanks to GR for setting up a website for Skybirds so that more people can see for themselves these wonderful creations. Many years ago I had the good fortune to become acquainted with Douglas Jones who had an amazing collection of Skybirds built by him during the late 30's and the early war years. He was a very talented craftsman and painter and they are probably the finest Skybirds models that I've ever seen. He lived just around the corner from my grandfather in Leigh-on-Sea during the 30's and visited him on several occasions at 'Seacombe Lodge', my former home and what should be regarded as the birthplace of Skybirds. Douglas had over 40 planes and won the Aeromodeller Shield on two consecutive years for the quality and detail of his work. I can certainly say that he deserved to win those awards! He has given me one of the shields and the other he says he has left in his will for me. I believe he's still alive but very fragile now and probably in a Nursing Home as he was where preparing to go there a couple of years ago when I last visited him in his isolated cottage. His interest in aviation was stimulated by building Skybirds and he went on to work for the Airspeed aircraft company.
You mention Neville Duke - I was aware that he made Skybirds as a youngster but haven't as yet read his autobiography. I have the large aerodrome and also the junior one now, acquired only at the beginning of this year. Apparently a couple of years ago a programme on the TV featured Geoffrey Wellum (he was on UK TV again the other night talking about the Battle of Britain) and he mentioned making Skybirds when he was a teenager. Several of my family watched this programme but unfortunately not me!
It seems that Pathe News made a cine news reel about the activities of one of the Skybird League clubs back in the 1930's. This little gem of info. was given to me last November when I displayed my collection at the annual models and hobbies exhibition that I've previously mentioned. My informer told me that his father worked as a photographer for Pathe and that he had personally seen this reel of film, but had sold it many years ago in London. I have searched in vain (so far) on the net to try and find it, but it's not listed on the Pathe website as one that they have in their archives. I would dearly love to see this film! The first Skybird League was set up at Alleyn Court School in Westcliff-on-Sea, attended at the time by my uncle James Holladay. I'm sure that it was he, with the prompting of his father, that started off all those clubs around the UK and other parts of the world. For example, there were several clubs in Norway and I have photos of a family holiday featuring my grandparents in Norway - no doubt he went over to create some interest in Skybirds and evidently succeeded as Norwegian modellers often figured in the winning categories of the annual competitions. Hamleys toy shop in London had a large area of floor space dedicated to Skybirds, as did several other large department stores and toy shops.
What I don't have at present are any photos of the the actual premises in Aldermanbury Avenue in the City, nor of the inside of the factory. The road doesn't even exist now for the whole area was wiped out by the Luftwaffe on the night of 29 Dec. 1940. I have done some research on the subject some years ago but could find nothing of interest re the Skybirds factory. Perhaps there is something on-line or in archives now.
I believe JHS parents were not too keen with him being involved with Skybirds as it was detracting from his other studies. It seems the money he made working for my grandfather allowed him to learn to fly and possibly to help towards the land he had in Kent (not sure if he owned this or only rented it).
That will have to be all for now. Any more thoughts or questions re Skybirds?
Catch up again soon.
Graham
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Re: The New Skybirds forum is now active

Postby angelreader » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:20 am

Thanks to GR for making a dedicated space for Skybirds here,in my opinion it does not matter how small a snippet of information it is this all gives a better overhaul picture of the scene all those years ago when aviation was certainly in its golden years and every young boy wanted to fly,the thought of a whole floor devoted to models in a large shop is a far cry from what we see today,I certainly know what I would rather have !
The spin offs that Skybirds offered were the publicity derived from JHS and his plans and articles that were published monthly in the 'Air Stories' pulp magazine,this was typical of the day with stories of WW1 aviators to inspire,one of the many writers was Arch Whitehouse a well known author of the day,the usual pen and ink drawings presided on those pages,I have I believe a complete set of the drawings carefully archived away from the sun as the acid in the paper eats away at the fibres,no doubt you are aware of these drawings and probably have a selection yourself ?
I believe that some of the airfield layouts were green baize that could be laid out and rolled up at will,then the airfield buildings were simply placed upon this.
As you point out the interest these days is more specialised but for many of us the name of Skybirds is symbolic with the pioneering of quality scale wooden model aircraft,the infrastructure of the various buildings and figures really gave the idea a play value as well,collecting back then was in its infancy and nothing like what we have today.
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Re: The New Skybirds forum is now active

Postby grwebster » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:49 pm

It is important to state here, that Skybirds is credited with being the creator of the 1:72nd scale that became the standard scale for models, first with FROG then with the identification and recognition model programs in England, then the United States and the entire post war plastic kit industry.
There is an amusing, if accurate, story associated with this but perhaps it is best told by Graham.
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Re: The New Skybirds forum is now active

Postby atalanta59 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:30 pm

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Re: The New Skybirds forum is now active

Postby atalanta59 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:34 pm

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Re: The New Skybirds forum is now active

Postby atalanta59 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:38 pm

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Re: The New Skybirds forum is now active

Postby atalanta59 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:41 pm

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Re: The New Skybirds forum is now active

Postby atalanta59 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:45 pm

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Re: The New Skybirds forum is now active

Postby atalanta59 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:47 pm

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