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Wings On Windermere
The history of the Lake District's forgotten flying boat factory

By Allan King

Mushroom Model Publications


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number:

Wings On Windermere The history of the Lake District's forgotten flying boat factory
by Allan King
Mushroom Model Publications White Series No. 9105.



Media: 160 A4 sized pages with a card cover, 138 B&W period photos and 14 colour profiles of Windermere built Sunderlands.
Price: GBP £24.99 from Mushroom Model Publications
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: A fascinating read, relevant and clear photos and excellent colour profiles.

Are you looking for something different but still related to your hobby? Well, here it is. It's not about the aircraft or the aircrews who flew them. It is about the factory that built them.


Reviewed by Glen Porter

"Wings on Windermere" is available online from Squadron


F i r s t  R e a d


I am an avid reader. I read women’s magazines in doctors’ waiting-rooms and if there aren't any, notices on the walls. I simply find it an interesting and informative way to pass the time. Naturally, as a modeller, I buy lots of books on aircraft, vehicles, ships and the people who manned them but this is the first time I've come across a book on the factory that built them and I must say I've found it totally fascinating.
Mushroom Model Magazine’s latest title, “Wings on Windermere” begins with an explanation as to why and where the factory was built. This wasn't the first factory to build Sunderlands, in fact Short Brothers already had two, but such was the demand for them that a third was built on Lake Windermere in the Lakes District. Now, in England during WW II, with everyone supposedly pulling together to defeat the dreaded enemy, there were still many who opposed its construction. But, built it was.

Production begins. Many of the original workers have been interviewed and their stories told with a good deal of humour, like apprentices being sent for left-handed screwdrivers or a short wait (weight) and the girls in the office eyeing off the young aircrew who had come to pick up their brand new flying boats.

A factory building such a large aircraft as the Short Sunderland out in the sticks, so to speak, there had to provide somewhere for the workers to live. An entire village, complete with schools, shops, meeting halls, dormitories for the singles and bungalows for the families, was built next to the factory and it too had its opposition.

Then we come to the product itself - mainly Mk. III Sunderland and later many were modified to Mk. V standard. The problems they had getting the lines started and the many modifications and repairs that are part of the life cycle of any aircraft and all interspersed with numerous period photos.

Sunderlands at War contains a little bit of history of aircraft built at Windermere from the Battle of the Atlantic and northern climates to the Indian and Pacific Oceans and Australia. All saw the Sunderland operated and some specific actions are detailed.

With so much opposition to the building of the factory and village, the British Government agreed to remove them at war's end. We are told how this was done and what is there now, again with many photos to illustrate the text.

Appendices cover such subject as Abbreviations, RAF Aircraft damage categories, Sunderland Specs. (Mk. III), Surviving Sunderland, etc.

Finally, 14 full colour profiles of Windermere-built Sunderlands, both wartime and civilian, relating to the text.


C o n c l u s i o n


So, you think I'm impressed? Yes, very much so.

I have never seen an aircraft related book written from the point of view of the factory and its workers before, beautifully written and illustrated. Only MMP could come up with something like this.

Thank you Mushroom Model Publications.

Thanks to Mushroom Model Publictions  for the sample.


All Mushroom Model Publications books are available direct from the publishers, who now accept credit cards (Visa, MC, Amex, Switch)  

North American distributors are MMD, Australian distributors are Platypus Publications. In Europe, the books are available from any good bookshop (via our UK distributors, Orca). Contact MMP direct in case of difficulties. 

Thanks to Roger at Mushroom Model Magazine  for the sample.

Review Copyright 2009 by Glen Porter
This Page Created on 3 June, 2009
Last updated 3 June, 2009

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