Inventions in Transport from Bradford

The House family - aviation entrepreneurs

Albert House had unusual interests for a resident of Victorian Bradford. He was fascinated by bikes, automobiles and aviation and this led him to start inventing. In 1896 he designed a way to change the tension of bicycle chains and patented his invention. On his patent form, he calls himself a 'Cycle Engineer'.


Albert set up the Bradford Motor Car Company, which was later taken over by his son John. The House family were great entrepreneurs in Bradford; Albert House drove the first motor car in the city and set up a business. The family made history when they made a three week tour of northern England for the Yorkshire Post newspaper in a car covered with large posters advertising the paper.



The Houses also had a strong interest in aviation and they went on to form the Northern Aero Syndicate at Apperley Bridge in 1909, just after Louis Bleriot made the very first flight across the English Channel. 

Albert House decided to buy Bleriot's monoplane, La Blonde, for 400 (a huge sum of money at the time). It was sent to Bradford in pieces by train. There was a lot of interest in the plane and Albert made money charging people sixpence a time to see it in his garage. 

Albert and John built a hanger and a runway at Rawdon Meadows and flew the plane in a series of test flights. Not all of them were successful, as you can see in was used on a series of flights, not all successful, as you can see in this photograph of an accident at Apperley Bridge.


John House even spent his honeymoon flying, as his new wife shared his interest in aviation. Unfortunately their Bleriot plane crashed on the sands at Filey. Although no one was injured, this incident ended their hopes of developing passenger transport by plane as the company then went into liquidation.


Aviation - flight; the design and use of aircraft

Entrepreneur - a businessperson who starts new things

Experiment - to try out different things

Hangar - building where aircraft are kept

Liquidation - when a business is closed down because it is in debt

Patent - a document showing that you invented something and stopping other people from using your invention

Tension - force that stretches or pulls something

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