Spitfire Sculpture 'The Ally'
We have had the pleasure of working with Denys Shortt OBE, Chairman and CEO of the DCS Group who recently moved their whole operation and HQ to a multi-million pound site in Banbury. The new premises sits on the site which was once home to the Northern Aluminium Company and as such Denys and the Directors were very keen to pay tribue to the site by commissioning a bespoke Chris Brammall sculpture.
Designed by Chris, built by Chris (with a little help from the team) the sculpture design is based on sheets of rolling aluminium which display like ribbons and gradually taper upwards to the sky. At the top sits the impressive Spitfire. The spitfire propellers are finished to a high-polish. Complete with our signature patinated galvanished finish the sculpture was fabricated here in our workshop in Cumbria and installed by our team.
The Ally commemorates this site as the former Northern Aluminium Company factory, the historic role is played during the Battle of Britain and its strategic contribution to the outcome of the Second World War.
This factory was the third rolling plant in England, and when it first opening in 1931 the use of aluminium alloys was still in its infancy. Originally consisting of a re-melt shop and a rolling mill, the factory became known locally as 'The Ally'.
In the early 1940s, as the Battle of Britain raged in the skies, 'The Ally' worked around the clock producing metal for fighter planes. This plant was cruical in the manufacturing of new planes for the RAF, including its fleet of Spitfires. At that time 'The Ally' was the UK's only major aluminium-rolling and extrusion plant in Britain. It is claimed that without this aluminium factory the Battle of Britain could have been lost, changing the course of history.
The factory was renowned for producing 60% of the metal needed for aircraft manufacturing in the early years of the war, and its contribution to the war effort was deemed so cruical that a plywood 'decoy factory' was erected as a false lure to enemy bombers, while the factory here was concealed under camouflage paint.
The Banbury factory employed around 4000 people at its peak, many of them women. A large number of the men who worked at the factory were conscripted during the War, with some never returning.
The Northern Aluminium Company was the first modern industry in Banbury, and made a considerable contribution to the development of the town. After the war it remained a major employer becoming Alcan/Sapa in 1960 prior to closing in 2008. The site is now occupied by DCS, Amazon and The Entertainer.
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