the Shirley Local History Group set up an annual series of public talks which have proved to be very popular and have continued every autumn in the Shirley Parish Hall, which was identified by Don Smith as a former secret Spitfire production site. Alan Matlock’s talk in the autumn of 2019 broke record audience numbers and received a very positive response. At the talk, a member of the audience asked why the ‘hidden’ locations that Alan shared with them were not currently recognised in any form and so, the seeds of an idea for the Spitfire Makers Memorial plaques were sown. Since then Alan has been joined by a small group of like-minded enthusiasts including guides from Solent Sky Museum and local historians, who want to ensure this heritage is preserved and commemorated. The project was launched to a capacity audience on 23rd February 2020 in the Shirley Parish Hall with the aim being to recognise the many women, girls, men and boys who worked in the dispersal factories through a series of plaques to be located on the site of each “Shadow Factory”.
Images by Bruce Larner, FoSJP