Spitfire designer’s family angry over school renaming

Sunday, February 27, 2011

LONDON - The family of the creator of the Spitfire, Reginald ‘RJ’ Mitchell, have expressed dismay that a school named in his honour is to be closed. itchell High School, in Stoke-on-Trent, was attended by the aeronautical engineer and renamed after him to recognise the role of the Spitfire in the Battle of Britain. A propeller from the aircraft hangs in the foyer.

From this summer, however, it will be replaced by a new school known as Discovery Academy, The Telegraph reports.

A 24 million pound project, part of the Building for Schools Fund set up by Labour, will see the current site closed and pupils transferred to a new building in another area.

“It would have been more appropriate to keep the school name; especially as Stoke was his birthplace and has benefited in the past from his legacy,” said his grandson, David, 61.

“Having the name taken away is almost worse than never having been named in the first place. Heritage is important, and RJ Mitchell is an inspiration for the younger generation.”

His comments come as Britain prepares to mark the 75th anniversary of the first flight of the Spitfire on March 5. In Southampton, a Spitfire will take to the skies at 3.30 p.m., the exact time in 1936 when Mitchell watched Vickers test pilot Capt J ‘Mutt’ Summers make the pioneering test flight. (ANI)

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