Originally Boulton & Paul, long-established engineering firm in Norwich awarded 1915 contract for FE.2bs followed by many others. In 1917 set up design office under John Dudley North (ex Horatio Barber, Grahame-White and Austin-Ball). First design P.3 Hawk, later renamed Bobolink, narrowly beaten by Snipe as replacement for Camel. P.7 Bourges twin-engined bomber was looped, rolled and spun. This led to Bolton, Bugle and Bodmin, with wood structure replaced by steel, and hence to Sidestrand (1926) and Overstrand (1933) used by 101 Sqn. P.31 Bittern and P.33 Partridge fighters and P.64 mailplane remained prototypes, and only 2 P.71A passenger aircraft were built. In 1934 B&P formed new subsidiary, Boulton Paul Aircraft Ltd, and in 1936 this moved from Mousehold aerodrome, Norwich, to large new factory at Wolverhampton. First flown 11 August 1937, Defiant 2-seat fighter with power turret was a failure, most of 1,065 built being night fighters with radar or target tugs. Via 3-seat P.108 turboprop, 2-seat Merlin-engined Balliol T.2 was produced from 1951. P.111 and P.120 were subsonic delta jet research aircraft. BPA withdrew from aircraft manufacture 1954 and became world leader in flight controls and other systems, joining Dowty Group 1969.

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