The plane

by Terry Chapman

Mr A.M.Grose & Mr N.A.Feary had constructed the above monoplane in a barn at Manor Farm, Oakington, whose tenant was Mr Cooke, Farmer of the Manor House. The monoplane was built in an attempt to win a prize of 1,000 offered by the Daily Mail for the first circular flight of at least one mile, by an all British aeroplane.

The Prize was never claimed by Grose & Feary. The first Briton to complete the mile was J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon of Tara 1884-1964 on 30th October 1909. Feary & Grose were both well known in the aeronautical world. Grose having travelled extensively throughout England, America & India, in the motor trade, and was reputed to have had the first motor drivers license . Feary was an aeronautical Instructor to the Regent St. Polytechnic. They both lived in Oakington, Grose at the former public house, the Kings Head (Closed 1905) Whitehall cottages, Alehouse Green and Feary at Mafeking Cottages in the High Street.

The Grose Monoplane had a four cylinder air cooled engine of 20 HP - built by The Advance Motor Manufacturing Co. of Northampton. The propeller by Handley Page of London, and the chassis was constructed by Mr H.V.Quinsee of East Road, Cambridge. The monoplane was designed to carry the pilot & one passenger. The wings had to be removed in order to move the plane from the barn it was housed in (removable wings are mentioned in the Cambridge Chronicle article). In the first trial it was tethered to a tree and villagers helped to push it after it was allowed to career across the fields (where the airfield now is), but it never flew. A mark II was constructed and later exhibited in a marquee in a field at Oakington (admission 6d). It was eventually dismantled & taken to De- Havilland at Hatfield.

Oakington Plane