National Aeronautical Establishment

The National Aeronautical Establishment (NAE) was founded in 1947 at Bedford. The aircraft sector was singled out as a primary industry for exploitation. However, it was realised that large and expensive research facilities would be required for such exploitation to succeed and as this would be in pursuance of national objectives, the provision of such facilities would have to come from central government sources. Accordingly it was decided to create an entirely new organisation to provide this necessary research capability. To be called the “National Experimental Establishment”, it was initially proposed that it should be sited at Farnborough and embrace the already-existing Royal Aircraft Establishment

However for a variety of reasons, it was later decided that the new organisation would be built on land in North Bedfordshire embracing the war-time airfields of Thurleigh, Twinwood Farm and Little Staughton. It would also be more appropriately styled the “National Aeronautical Establishment”. Subsequently, in 1955, the NAE was renamed the Royal Aircraft Establishment Bedford.