The story of Beagle Aircraft Limited started in 1959 when the directors of the Pressed Steel Company of Oxford met Peter Masefield, the MD of Bristol Aircraft, who had ideas of building light aircraft to meet current demands. Masefield, having left Bristol, became MD of Pressed Steel’s embryo company and then acquired the Auster Aircraft Co. at Rearsby and F G Miles Ltd. at Shoreham. Thus followed on the 7 October 1960, the formation of the “British Executive & General Aviation Ltd.” (BEAGLE) as a subsidiary of Pressed Steel, comprising two companies known as Beagle-Auster Ltd and Beagle -Miles Ltd.
Initial products were those designs currently in hand at both Auster and Miles, and the Masefield design of an executive twin was to follow. The three design offices concerned were all eventually merged under the
Technical Directorship of H G Miles at the central design office at Shoreham and on the 10 May 1962 the two separate Auster and Miles companies were consolidated to become Beagle Aircraft Ltd.
The initial development of the large number of aircraft types involved required a great deal of capital outlay by Pressed Steel, i.e. £2 SM, whereas only £1 /4M was recouped from sales during the first 2 1/2 years. Putting the B.206 into production proved the most expensive and by the end of 1964 costs had reached £3M with further expenditure inevitable. The directors of Pressed Steel Fisher (as it had since become) were then being faced with a situation way beyond their original expectations, despite the fact that in 1965 a small portion of the B.206s costs were being underwritten by the Government. Pressed Steel Fisher were eventually absorbed into the British Motor Corporation who, having reviewed the aviation side, realised that its full potential could not be exploited without a substantial investment of funds and they were not willing to do this. Discussions with the Government for additional financial support proved fruitless and eventually escalated to the point where, on the 1 2 December 1966, the company was acquired by the Government for £1 M. However, under capitalisation remained the main problem to the point where, in 1969, the Government refused to grant an additional £6M for further development and the company was placed in the hands of the receiver.
Although production continued, albeit at a very low rate while efforts were made in both America and Europe to sell it as a going concern, it was of no avail and the assets were gradually disposed of.