Chapter 1 of 24
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.