Founded by C R. (later Sir Richard) Fairey, initially to build 12 Short 827 seaplanes. Leased premises at Hayes, Middlesex, replaced by new factory 1917-1918. Became a public company March 5,1929 and the following year opened new airfield at Harmondsworth, later requisitioned and incorporated in site for London's Heathrow Airport. Reorganized as holding company The Fairey Company Ltd. March 31,1959, aircraft manufacturing subsidiary becoming Fairey Aviation Ltd. and the Stockport plant Fairey Engineering Ltd. Fairey Aviation Ltd. merged with Westland Aircraft Ltd. in 1960. Britten-Norman (Bembridge) Ltd. acquired 1972. Fairey group into liquidation 1977; engineering activities acquired by National Enterprise Board; Britten-Norman operated by liquidator pending sale.
Company designs included F.2 twin-engined biplane fighter; camber-changing trailing-edge flaps introduced on Hamble Baby. Fairey III series introduced 1917; final model IIIF entered production 1926 and declared obsolete 1940. Fairey Hendon (1930) was the first British cantilever monoplane heavy bomber; Long-range Monoplane captured absolute distance record for Britain 1933. The famous Fairey Swordfish ("Stringbag") torpedo bomber entered production in 1936; 2,392 were built by Fairey and Blackburn; it was the only biplane to remain in service throughout Second World War. Other famous aircraft included Battle light bomber, Fulmar fleet fighter, and Barracuda dive-bomber. Firefly name revived for Rolls-Royce Griffon-powered monoplane which entered FAA service in 1943, serving in Korea in 1950. First FAA aircraft to combine search and strike roles was the Gannet with Double Mamba coupled turbines; developed Gyrodyne convertible helicopter 1946; Jet Gyrodyne 1953; Rotodyne compound helicopter airliner 1957. Fairey Delta 2 research aircraft set world air speed record of 1,822km/h on March 10, 1956.
Faiery Aviation joined Westland in 1961.
Britten-Norman became Fairey Britten-Norman in 1974.