Established as a building constructor in Norwich, Norfolk, turned to subcontract construction of aircraft in First World War, including RAF F.E.2d, Sopwith 1/2-Strutter and Sopwith Camel. Known originally as Aircraft Department of Boulton & Paul Ltd. As the war neared its end, the company decided to continue in aircraft industry and the aircraft division of Boulton & Paul was incorporated as an independent company, Boulton Paul Aircraft in 1934. First original design P.3 single-seat biplane fighter which did not enter production. Designed and built P.6 research aircraft, which provided much data for later P.9. P.7 Bourges twin-engined fighter-bomber built at the end of 1918, followed later by similar Bugle. Neither entered RAF service. Continued to build small numbers of civil aircraft during inter-war years. Sidestrand 3/4-seat medium bomber entered RAF service with one squadron in April 1928. Replaced by improved Overstrands, with power-operated gun turret, in 1934. When production ended, in 1936, company re-established at Wolverhampton, Staffs. Name of Boulton Paul Aircraft Ltd. adopted 1934. Designed and built P.82 Defiant for RAF, prototype first flew 11 August 1937; two-seat fighter with power-operated gun turret was entirely new concept and enjoyed initial operational success. Production ended 1943 after more than 1,000 built. Designed P.108 Balliol three-seat advanced trainer for RAF, 162 built subsequently as two-seat Balliol T.2, of which 30 built under subcontract by Blackburn Aircraft Ltd. Built P.111 and P.120 for research into behavior of delta wing at transonic speeds.
In 1961 the company became part of the Dowty Group.