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This company, founded in 1936, moved to Welwyn Garden City in 1939 due to a lack of suitable factories in the London area - choosing a factory site in Woodfield Road. In Purdom’s The Building of Satellite Towns (1949 edition) Aviation Developments Ltd states “The advantages we have found have been those in connection with transport, close proximity to London, hygienic conditions both in the works and in housing accommodation. In addition, we have found that the presence of a variety of industries gathered together in one centre has been of considerable help from the point of view of mutual assistance.” Eric Balley in ‘Innovative Manufacturers Of WGC’ explains “Aviation Developments Ltd described themselves as makers of engineered assembly systems. They were in fact pioneers of blind riveting - a technique developed for the aircraft industry, and for which they manufactured both the equipment and the supplies. By 1960, their range of fastening systems included Avdel Rivets, Avlock Blind Anchor Nuts, Chobert Rivets, Huckbolts, Jo-bolts, and Pip-pins.” In 1961 to reflect its broading product portfolio and cross-market / industry capability, Aviation Developments changed its name to Avdel® and opened its new manufacturing facility at Mundells, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. Stanley T. Johnson had started off with just 8 employees - at its peak the company employed 1500 staff.

A collection of AVDEL Rivets that was donated by Doug C to the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust archive as part of the 'Where Do You Think We Worked?' project.
We are extremely grateful to STANLEY Engineered Fastening who have gone through their archive and sent us a wonderful collection of images of Aviation Developments Ltd / AVDEL - just in time for our forthcoming exhibition! These two images show the company made use of other premises during WWII - storing metal at Barclays Bank and expanding into offices in Parkway.
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