Pioneer, visionary and record breaker – Hubert Scott-Paine
Born in Shoreham, just along the coastline from our studio in Emsworth, Scott-Paine grew up by the sea. As a young man he dealt in yachts working and learning from Noel Pemberton-Billing at their Woolston works where he soon became factory manager. In 1916 he bought the company and renamed it Supermarine Aviation Co Ltd with the aim of building flying boats for the admiralty, and in 1917 in a stroke of genius, Scott-Paine employed the hugely talented Reginald Mitchell as his personal assistant. Supermarine now went from strength to strength designing and manufacturing their flying boats.
By the mid 1920’s air travel was in its infancy but becoming popular and Scott-Paine, seeing an opportunity, merged BMANC with three other airlines in 1924 to form Imperial Airways. As a director of the newly merged and formed company he was instrumental in developing flying routes between Europe and principally the British Empire including South Africa, India, Malaya and Hong Kong. These were the halcyon days of flying boat travel and the beginning of international air travel as we see it today.
Despite being heavily involved with Imperial Airways, Scott-Paine had a passion for fast boats. He designed them and raced them and now that he was well financed from the sale of Supermarine in 1927 he purchased the Hythe shipyard and renamed the British Power Boat Company. It soon became a state-of-the-art mass production boat building yard producing seaplane tenders and many high performance award winning racing boats such as Miss England.
In 1932 he took on a personal project with Fred Cooper to design and build their own world breaking boat, Miss Britain III. The boat was powered by a single 1350 horsepower Napier Lion engine and the construction was revolutionary with wood and aluminium composite stringers which were clad in aluminium. Scott-Paine himself piloted Miss Britain III on Southampton Water to a speed of over 100mph setting a record to be the first ever single engine hydroplane to break that barrier.