From London To Paris By Air circa 1923


Jeff Quitney
Published on 7 Jun 2016

Early airline travel between London and Paris. The airline is Handley Page Transport Ltd.; the aircraft are Handley Page Type O (converted World War I bombers). The fare was 300 francs, equal to about $25 then (or $350 in 2016).

“The daily trip of one of the huge passenger planes in the English Channel Service. Arrived at the flying field we watch the plane being brought from its hangar and see its folding wings spread and secured in position for flight. Ten passengers enter and take seats in the roomy cabin. Each is allowed fifty pounds of baggage.”

The Handley Page Type O was an early biplane bomber used by Britain during the First World War. At the time, it was the largest aircraft that had been built in the UK and one of the largest in the world. It was built in two major versions, the Handley Page O/100 (H.P.11) and Handley Page O/400 (H.P.12).

The impression made by the Type O was such that for many years after the war, any large aircraft came to be called a “Handley Page” in Britain and entered the dictionary as such…

After the war, O/400s remained in squadron service until replaced by the Vickers Vimy toward the end of 1919. War-surplus aircraft were converted for civilian use in the UK and nine were used by Handley Page’s pioneering airline, Handley Page Transport. Eight O/400s were fitted with passenger accommodation and operated by the 86th (Communication) wing, formed at Hendon to provide quick transport between London and Paris for officials engaged in the negotiation of the Treaty of Versailles. Two were finished in silver dope and named Great Britain and Silver Star and fitted as VIP transports, while the others, seating eight, retained their dark green finish……

Handley Page Transport Ltd was an airline company founded in 1919 by Frederick Handley Page in the new era of civil flying after the First World War.

The first planes were a small number of Handley Page Type O/400 bombers modified for passenger use. These flew London-Paris. At a request from the Air Ministry the Handley Page Type W8 was later used for both Paris and Brussels.

On 31 March 1924 the assets and operations of Handley Page Transport were merged with three other British airlines to found Imperial Airways. The company itself remained dormant until reconstituted to take over Miles Aircraft in 1947 as Handley Page (Reading) Ltd…

Cricklewood Aerodrome

Cricklewood Aerodrome was adjacent to the Handley Page factory in Cricklewood, which had been established in 1912. The airfield was used by the factory and the transport company. Initially though, Handley Page Transport used Hounslow Heath Aerodrome to embark or disembark passengers for customs clearance, as customs facilities were not provided at Cricklewood until 17 February 1920. The company inaugurated a London-Paris air service from Cricklewood Aerodrome in 1920.

The aerodrome closed in 1929 as it was being surrounded by suburban development, and the Golders Green Estate was built on the site. A new aerodrome was built at Radlett, where most aircraft were now to be constructed. However the construction of aircraft at Cricklewood continued until 1964 when the premises were sold to become the Cricklewood trading estate.

Accidents and incidents

On 14 December 1920 a Handley Page O/400 used by the airline crashed on take-off from Cricklewood Aerodrome, hitting a tree and killing both of the crew and two of the six passengers.

On 14 January 1922, the Handley Page Transport Handley Page O/10 G-EATN, operating on a scheduled passenger flight from Croydon Airport in London to Paris–Le Bourget Airport outside Paris, crashed while on approach to Paris–Le Bourget, killing all five people on board…

NOTE: Although online sources seem to agree that Handley Page Transport operated HP O/400 aircraft (HP .12), the British Civil Aircraft register… shows that G-EASY and G-EASN, seen in this film, are both HP O/11 aircraft (apparently meaning HP .11, that is O/100 airplanes).


Public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.

The film was silent. I have added music created by myself using the Reaper Digital Audio Workstation and the Independence and Proteus VX VST instrument plugins.

Author: Old Boy

Love the past and the future but live in the present