The Humber Enterprise Park story: Robert Blackburn’s flying machines

By Humber Enterprise Park | Posted: 23 Aug 2017

Today, the Humber Enterprise Park offers modern office and industrial spaces over an 86-acre site, after a two-year £6m regeneration project was completed in 2016. The site’s logo, exterior murals and internal office vinyls however all pay tribute to the park’s origins as the home to Robert Blackburn’s aircraft manufacturing business over 100 years ago.     

Robert Blackburn first discovered the site when he stayed overnight in the small town of Brough on a business trip from Leeds to Hull. An entrepreneur, Mr Blackburn rose in the morning to run his dogs down to the foreshore, and what he found that day was the ideal location for his true passion and business venture – aircraft manufacturing.

Despite aircraft manufacturing not being a common pursuit in the early 19th century, he saw in the site a wide expanse, a flat terrain and a foreshore from which he could launch his planes. Robert built a successful business on the back of creations such as Buccaneer, Bluebird and most recently Hawk – the Red Arrows aircraft.

The site played a key role in Brough and the surrounding villages, employing over 10,000 people at its peak. Since then the site has passed through various ownerships and guises, from Blackburn Aircraft, to Hawker siddly to British Aerospace and now to LC Industrial - a joint venture between Citivale and LRE Capital to rejuvenate underperforming business spaces across the UK.

It was crucial to LC Industrial to celebrate the sites heritage through its redevelopment, not erase it: outdated buildings were reborn as Hawk, Firebrand, Mercury, Buccaneer and Bluebird, with each office entrance featuring a bespoke vinyl wrap depicting the aircraft which gave it its name. A series of murals created by local graffiti artists Spray Creative further pay tribute to its history.

Members of the Blackburn family were present at the site’s official opening in March 2017. Robert’s daughter Janie Rayne said at the event that her father would have been thrilled with how the redevelopment respects the sites heritage whilst at the same time breathing new life into it.

If you’re interested in the Humber Enterprise Park, you can take a 360 tour of its available office space here.

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