Sir Richard Fairey
Aircraft designer, yachtsman, owner of Bossington
Bossington Estate was bought by Sir Richard Fairey in 1937. He bought it as a sporting estate, to indulge his love of fly fishing and shooting. Across the valley Tommy Sopwith owned the neighbouring estate, Compton. The two aviation tycoons, Fairey and Sopwith, were good friends, and when they wanted to relax, they raced their J-class yachts in the Solent.
Before he made his fortune, Charles Richard Fairey, as he was then, started out by designing model aeroplanes. On, 4th June 1910, he entered a model flying competition organised by Hamleys, and won the 1st prize of £200, when he was just 23 years old. This helped him to start the Fairey Aviation Company 5 years later.
Sir Richard founded Fairey Aviation in 1915. He was responsible for designing aircraft such as the Fairey Swordfish, affectionately known as the “Stringbag” by the Fleet Air Arm. This was instrumental in the sinking of the Bismark in WWII, and also the sinking of the fleet at Taranto. In the 1950’s the progressive Fairey Delta 2 was designed, which broke the air speed record by the greatest margin before or since – the plane reached a top speed of 1,132mph, the first plane to break through the 1,000mph barrier. The FD2 was a prototype for Concorde, which used its drop nose design and delta shape, among other things. Sir Richard was also responsible for designing some more unusual items, not all aviation related. These ranged from the flaps on aeroplane wings to a safety razor.
Sir Richard frequently entertained heads of state for shooting and fishing parties at Bossington. His guests included friends of his such as the King of Norway and Neville Chamberlain. Modern day fishing guests have included members of the Brunei royal family, George Bush Snr. and Prince Charles.
Today the Bossington Estate is owned by Trustees and managed for its beneficiaries.