Seen on the Green - The 'Creator of Concorde' Sir George Edwards

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is an area centric biography on Sir George Edwards, one of many famous people to come from Chingford, North-East London. This article was originally published in The Chingford Directory in July 2011.

Submitted: October 23, 2015

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Submitted: October 23, 2015




Seen on the Green

Famous Faces From Chingford

by Thom Goddard


This Month: Sir George Edwards, OM, CBE


Sometimes it is almost impossible to quickly introduce an individual who achieved so much in their life. So here is HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh’s praise for an Old Chingfordian: “Sir George Edwards is one of those exceptional men who have stamped their genius on the course of events. His achievements have earned him a place among the greatest pioneers and innovators in the world”. 


George Robert Freeman Edwards was born in Chingford on 9th July 1908. His mother died soon after birth but his father, Edwin, stoked George’s interest in transportation from his position as Walthamstow Station Master. George attended Selwyn School, Highams Park, where he developed a passion for cricket and then won a scholarship to study engineering at South-East Essex Technical College, Walthamstow. Before the Second World War George began working for Vickers Aviation and soon encountered Barnes Wallis. Drawing on his cricket knowledge, it was Mr Edwards who suggested to Barnes Wallis that the Dambuster’s “bouncing bomb” should have back-spin to make the weapon more controllable.


After the Second World War George Edwards quickly ascended from designer to Managing Director at Vickers Aviation. This was due in no small terms to George working on some of Britain’s most successful civil and military aircraft. His design team created the first pressurised airliner, the Vickers “Viking”, and the first nuclear capable bomber, the Vickers “Valiant”. George Edwards continued to oversee his productive designers who went on to create the “Jaguar”, “Tornado” and “Harrier” aircraft that are still being used in combat by Great Britain today.


Successful military designs lead to a Knighthood in 1957 but some feel George’s greatest contribution was still to come. He realised that air travel would have mass appeal and crucially that people would want to get where they wanted to go quickly. In 1962 Vickers launched the VC-10 jet airliner and the plane was so fast it still holds the subsonic record for the quickest crossing of the Atlantic, New York to London. Of course, the actual record is held by “Concorde” and no prizes for guessing who led the British design team. In fact, it was George Edwards who suggested adding the “e” on the end of the French “Concord”, feeling this would soften the name. He was also the first person, who wasn’t a member of the flight crew, to fly on “Concorde”.  


Sir George Edwards’ enormous contribution to the world of aircraft was recognised once more in 1971 when he was awarded the Order of Merit by the Queen. The only other aeronautical legends ever to be honoured are Sir Geoffrey de Havilland and Sir Frank Whittle. So do keep a look out for any Chingford legends you meet in the Mount or have seen on the Green!


If you spot anyone contact:



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