I'm an engineer, my name's Mark Whitby and I practise with my partners under the name of Whitby & Bird. We're very much engineers in the true meaning of the word, we're people who are particularly interested in making things. My partner Bryn has had a passion for flight and for manpowered flight, in particular a form of ornithopter which is a flapping flying machine. And I have a stepfather who's an aeronautical engineer; he was a director of Rolls Royce. This is a culture of engineering that I embrace in the sense that I see it being very much part of what I do. We make things, we make buildings, we make objects and, in making them, we involve ourselves with the people who make them. The front cover of our brochure as you see here has a strange picture. It's a man with very greasy hands talking to a man in a bowler hat. The man in the bowler hat may have been a draughtsman; he could have been a bank manager, possibly the client. But there's no doubt that the man with his hat on back to front, with his hands inclined, is an aviator, somebody who has literally just come down to earth. Grease is everywhere and the fact his hat is on back to front means he's been in an open cockpit. This man's a true engineer. In fact, this man is A.R. Rowe, the founder of British Aerospace who was the very first British person to build and fly his own aircraft.
We live in the end of the 20th century, and it's interesting to think about what was happening exactly 100 years ago. This next picture is of a man called Lillental who died in 1896, he killed himself flying this machine. He had managed 2,000 flights. Lillental was a boilermaker and a successful man. He had sufficient spare time and, wishing to discuss flight or to invent flight, or work on flight, he set about in a scientific manner working out how to do it. He was so enthusiastic that he had constructed a huge bill, a conical hill from which he could launch himself into the direction of whichever way the wind was blowing. Anyhow, you see here this picture of him gliding to the ground.
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