There are two subjects I really wish I could feature more of here on the Brownhills Blog – recent, postwar history and images of Chasewater, and more on local industry, like the BRD – well, today I get to feature both are reader David Hughes recently sent me the following article out of the blue, and it tells of a bit of local history I didn’t know: the BRD in Aldridge experimented with boat motors.
Thanks to David for a wonderfully informative article, and for highlighting the innovative nature of local industry. I nearby appeal for scans of the BRD book if anyone can manage it as I think it would be a lovely addition to the works here on the blog, and I know many readers are interested in the history of the company.
David Hughes wrote:
Chasewater and the BRD
In the late 1950s the BRD Company in Aldridge started to develop an outboard motor for powerboats.
The engine was called the Bermuda. I was told at the time that the name was chosen because it was ‘exotic’ and contained the letters BRD in order.
After the Staffordshire Hydroplane Boating Club gave their permission, most of the engine testing was carried out at Chasewater. The Bermuda project team spent many days testing the prototype engines and entered them in many powerboat races held at Chasewater. In 1961 they were 1st and 2nd fastest in the ‘D’ class times in the boat builder trials at Chasewater.
However, the most exciting test was the one which took place around November 1961 when a team of 20 men took turns to drive a twin Bermuda engine boat round Chasewater for 24 hour a day for 7 days. They covered around 4000 miles. This kind of endurance test had never been done before and gave the company national and international attention.
My father, Reg Hughes, was a development engineer on the Bermuda project and was one of the drivers. He drove the boat on the night shift and it was an experience he would never forget.
As a result of his involvement with the project our family often found itself at Chasewater watching the racing and sometimes manning the rescue boats. We also spent many weekends in Aberdovey where the salt water testing took place.
I hope this is of interest