It was at Whetstone that Frank Whittle set up what is believed to have been the first factory in the World built specifically for jet engine production. By 1944, up to 300 employees were producing 20 engines a month for the Gloster Meteor aircraft.
Whittle's original Company was called Power Jets Ltd. This became part of the National Gas Turbine Establishment in 1946 and was later transferred to Pyestock. The Whetstone site was acquired by English Electric, which then became GEC and is now ALSTOM. There has been an almost continuous presence of staff working on gas turbine design, development, test and production for the last 50 years. Back in the 1940's the Whetstone site also developed and tested new jet engine ideas. The related activity of gas turbine development is carried on to this day at Whetstone by the ALSTOM Power Technology Centre. It takes place now in a state-of-the-art test facility just yards from the original buildings and named after the pioneer, the Whittle Research Centre.
The site also housed the Atomic Power Division and Mechanical Engineering Laboratories. A lot of early computer technology was developed here, as well as robotics, wind turbines, and nuclear power plant, among other things.