2012

Tony Sheldon

Tony Sheldon passed away peacefully in hospital on 20 December 2012.Tony was the husband of our former President Betty Sheldon nee Ferguson and father of our current President Jamie and Vice Presidents Sally and Caroline

Gwent and East Wales Usk Show- Sept 2012

General Secretary Peter Aston presents a cheque of £500.00 from the Ferguson Club to Phil Reece, organiser of the National Vintage Tractor Road Run 2013.

The 1st prize in the main draw is the Massey Ferguson 35.

The run takes place on Easter Sunday 31st March 2013 starting from Beachley Barracks, near Chepstow. (Further details can be found at www.nvtrr2013.co.uk)

Proceeds from this event are going to:- SARA – Severn Area Rescue Association

The 53rd All Wales Ploughing Championships and Five Nations Challenge, September 2012

At last! For two days the sun shone down on the coast at Morfa Mawr, Llanon, Ceredigion where the 53rd All Wales Ploughing Championships were held, against the backdrop of Cardigan Bay. Not only good weather, but also good company, such as Basil George and one of our younger, newer members Sam Ritchie aged 14 and other members. Sam participated in the Ferguson class, ploughing alongside other Ferguson club members, some of which have been ploughing for many years. Photographs by Andy Ford.

Rotary Club Charity Ploughing Match 20th October 2012,
Nr Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.

The first photo is of Bob Shepherd who went on to pick up the third prize on his first shot of competition ploughing. The second one is of a 1948 TEA Ferguson being driven by Club member Mr. Henry Michie (5740) who is over on holiday from Australia and had no idea that he had been roped in to take part in this match, but he thoroughly enjoyed the day out, although the ground conditions were far from ideal, at least the rain stayed away and Henry Mitchie also came away with a prize, a bottle of whisky for his efforts. The group photo is of some of the Club members we managed to press-gang into the line up. From L to R they are, Henry Michie, Bob Mitchell, Bob Shepherd, Douglas Scott & Bill Beaton, Thanks to Henry Pirie for the photos.

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National Ploughing Co-ordinator

The Ferguson Club are pleased to welcome Mrs Sylvia Bills in a new role as National Ploughing Co-ordinator.

If you have any queries as to ploughing rules or upcoming ploughing matches please let Sylvia know.

Sylvia is on 01455 284639 or e-mail…. glynpdriver@tiscali.co.uk

Banner Lane – a brief history – by Duncan Russell

Banner Lane, means much toomany people, not only those who worked there but to the many owners and enthusiasts of Ferguson and Massey Ferguson tractors throughout the world.But Banner Lane is no more; the site is now a housing developmentcalled Bannerbrook Park which has been planned and developed by house builder Persimmon, eventually some 1000 new homes will have been built on the site, together with a school, shops and an entire infrastructure.

Gone completely is the factory that had stood on the site since the late 1930’s when the site was developed as a Shadow Factory as part of the Government’s plan to rearm the forces, particularly the RAF in the run up to the Second World War. The Banner Lane site had once been farmland on the outskirts of the industrial city of Coventry, home to many manufacturers, including the Standard Motor Company who would administer Banner Lane on behalf of the Government during the war period.

The last Massey Ferguson tractor rolled off the production line on Christmas Eve in 2002 ending over six decades of manufacturing, including 56 years of tractor production.

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The facade of Banner Lane Factory, familiar to so many.

As the demand for military aircraft and aero engines increased at the beginning of the Second World War, a number of Government financed shadow factories were built all over the UK. One of the largest was the Banner Lane site just west of Coventry. The site covered 80 acres in total,with a floor area of over 1 million square feet and had cost £1.7 million to build and prepare for production. This was quite a figure when the cost of a small car was around £130. The Standard Motor Company agreed to manage the site for a fee of £40,000 per annum. The Banner Lane plant manufactured the huge Bristol Hercules aero engine, as fitted to the Wellington bomber and several other aircraft. The Bristol engine was a massive 39 litre, twin row, 14 cylinder radial engine, producing between 1290 and 1735 horsepower depending on application. During the war years some 20,000 engines were produced.

With the end of the war in 1945 the plant was quickly shut down and the Standard Motor Company negotiated a lease for the factory for £36,000 per annum. The Standard Motor Company was keen to take on the factory as Sir John Black, Standards Chairman, had been in discussions with Harry Ferguson to produce the new Ferguson tractor in the UK. Thus in September 1945 the deal was struck for Standard to build tractors for Ferguson, Standard being paid a fee for each tractor produced. Standard then signed a ten year lease for Banner Lane and agreed a plan to produce up to 200 tractors per day.

At the height of production Banner Lane employed more than 6,000 people and in ten years produced over 500,000 Ferguson TE tractors for export all over the world.

The Standard/Ferguson agreement continued through various squabbles and disagreements until the summer of 1959 when Standard severed all connections with Massey Ferguson and tractor production.During this time Harry Ferguson Ltd had sold out to Massey Harris to become Massey Harris Ferguson and then Massey Ferguson. Massey Ferguson hadtaken the lease of Banner Lane factory from Standard Motor Company in 1956.

Massey Ferguson developed the Banner Lane site and at one stage it was reported to be the biggest AGCO manufacturing facility in the World and was headquarters of AGCO’s European, Middle and Far East operations. The famous tower block was officially opened in September 1966 and had office space for around 500 people.

As with all things change was inevitable and new Massey Ferguson tractors were gradually being built elsewhere, particularly at Beauvais in France. When production was being further rationalised and it was proposed that either Banner Lane or Beauvais would be closed, the French plant proved the more difficult to close due to Government and worker pressure and Banner Lane was to be no more.

The last tractor number 3,307,996 was driven off the production line on Christmas Eve 2002 and the factory site was earmarked for housing. The huge task of decommissioning started before the demolition and clearance of the site, the last part of the demolition and the most spectacular, took place on 8th July 2012 when the 16 storey Tower Block was downed using high explosive.

There are many proposal’s on how the mark the site of the once great factory, a factory that produced so much for the British economy with much of its production being exported. The suggestions range from naming various roads around Bannerbrook Park and naming the school. But, there needs to be a permanent memorial to the tractors produced there, something that continues to remind future generations that at thissite was produced the tractor that revolutionised mechanised farming throughout the world.

Banner Lane “Tower” demolished – 8th July

The tower building on Banner Lane in Coventry which was latterly the HQ for AGCO Europe (Massey Ferguson) for many years was demolished on 8th July at 1000hrs.

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The Coventry Council are looking into ways to commemorate Banner Lane and any ideas are welcome by them. There is also an e-petition at :-www.coventry.gov.uk/epetitionsCouncillor Thomas is interested in hearing ideas of how the site should be marked for posterity. Please can you let your Ferguson rep or the Committee know your thoughts for a Ferguson Club mark; alternatively Councillor Thomas can be emailed with ideas here Steven.Thomas@coventry.gov.uk

2012 Lincolnshire Road Run- Sunday 10th June

The Lincolnshire Road Run organised by John and Judy Jeffries was held on Sunday 10th June. 62 tractors congregated at Red Lodge Farm, Holbeach St Johns and were a site to behold. It was a lovely sunny morning and there were many spectators too. As well as local entrants there were two visiting tractors from Durham and four from North Lincolnshire.

The route took them along 21 miles of local villages and countryside and took about 2.5 hours to complete.

The local airfield had a Vintage Show on the same day and several of the tractors exhibited there after the road run.

The run concluded by having a Ploughmans lunch in the local public house where the village was holding its annual fete. Many wives, partners, sons, daughters, grandchildren and friends joined in to make a really sociable end to the event.

Special thanks to those who helped in any way and to Mr Mawby for the use of his farm yard and facilities. A grand sum of £418.25 was raised which will be presented to the local branch of Macmillan Nurses.

 

FergusonClub Jubilee Rally – Burnside.

An event Colin Pike & his wife, Sylvia organised to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. The aim was to amass sixty Ferguson & M.F. tractors, a figure that was exceeded. All entrants had a great time, thanks to the attention to detail that Colin & Sylvia put in to organising the event, Many thanks- Henry Pirie (3238)

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FergusonClub Stand at 2nd Scottish rally of the season
– BA Stores 2oth May 2012

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The first picture shows the beautiful scene as seen from the stand, the 2nd. shows the ladies holding the trophy that the Club were awarded for the best stand, an accolade we are very proud of, Cheers Henry Pirie, (3238)

Royal Welsh Spring Festival and Small Holders Show, Builth Wells

Over the weekend, 19th/20th May 2012 the South Wales branch of the Ferguson Club attended the show and enjoyed the company of both existing and new members.

On the Sunday, four young lads, representing the Ferguson Club, took on the challenge of rebuilding “Daffodil” the Fergie T20, they were Sam Ritchie, aged 13, Rhodri Huish, 14, Jamie Williams, 15 and Morgan Sussex aged 17, they did very well, completing their first rebuild in 11 minutes and 4 seconds! After a very short positive discussion they decided to have another go later in the day. On this occassion they completed the rebuild in…….9 minutes and 58 seconds!! Congratulations to them all.

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Chiltern vintage tractor charity run

The Ferguson Club completed the above in mid May with tremendous success. 58 tractors took part and over £2,000 was raised for the local Air Ambulance.

A lunchtime stop was held at Wycombe Air Park and we were very lucky to have the Helicopter position in to support us from a call out.

Here is a picture of the Paramedics having a tractor driving lesson on a Ferguson TET 20, please click on this link for more photos of the event……..CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS……..

……..Click here for Superb Video of the above run…

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2012 Annual Members Weekend & AGM Draws to successful end

A great weekend was held by all Ferguson Club members and families attending the 2012 AMW/AGM in Sheffield and Derbyshire Dales. The AGM was held at the Crich Tramway Museum near Matlock. Full details will appear in the next Club Journal.

..Venue of 2012 AGM …..outgoing Chairman John Selley(left) congratulates new Chairman – John Jeffries

Report on The Ferguson Club AGM & Annual Members Weekend. 2012.

The 26th AGM & AMW was this year based on the excellent Sheffield Park Hotel on the outskirts of Sheffield. Members gather on Friday evening and enjoyed an informal buffet whilst renewing old friendships and making new ones.

On Saturday morning we boarded the coach, which took us to the National Tramway Museum at Crich where the AGM was to take place. There were 42 members together with their spouses and partners. The business was conducted in the usual efficient manner and it was soon time for the elections. John Jeffries was elected as Chairman, Brian Pickering as Vice Chairman, Peter Aston as General Secretary, Denise Bailey as Treasurer, and Jo Pickering as Membership Secretary. The departing Chairman, John Selley thanked the committee and the membership for a very enjoyable two years and wished the new Chairman every success for the future. Our thanks to Maurice Kirk, our Returning Officer, and his team who conducted the election.

There then followed an illustrated presentation by Mr Dave Whittle about his restoration projects, which varied from JCBs, through lorries to buses and coaches. This was followed by an excellent buffet, after which many of the ladies took the coach to Masson Mills for retail therapy whilst the fellows took the trams around the site. The South Wingfield Tractor group had brought several tractors and stationary engines, which they exhibited. Our thanks to them for the work needed to do this.

We then returned to the hotel in time for the ladies to put on their finery for the semi formal dinner. After dinner John Jeffries presented John Selley with a beautiful cut glass decanter and two glasses for which JS thanked those present. The raffle then took place with Henry Anderson drawing the tickets. What would we do without the lad? We are most grateful to Fergiland, Blue Force Tractor Club, Trevor Rose Vintage Restoration, Mrs Margaret Bywater and Kirby and West Dairy who provided the prizes. £345 was raised for the MacMillan Nurses and The local Air Ambulance. The band Rockwood played and the brave danced. All had a very enjoyable evening.

Sunday saw us once again board the coach to travel to Kelham Island Industrial Museum. Here the Past Chairman thought he had passed to heaven when The River Don engine was fired up. This is a 12,000hp three-cylinder steam engine, which was used for nearly 70 years driving a steel rolling mill specialising in rolling amour plate up to 16” thick. This amazing engine is capable of slowing, reversing and regaining speed in 2 seconds without shutting the throttle! Quite some feat when you consider the flywheel alone weighs 51 tons!

Two quite amusing things happened which should be recorded.

Firstly at The Tramways Museum is a ‘functional’ external urinal for use by the gentlemen. One of the ladies thought this was just an exhibit and entered. The incumbent was able to give a full description of its use, which seemed to take quite a long time. On exiting, the enquiring lady was embarrassed to find a long queue of desperate blokes!

The second occurred at the dinner. Our Chairman heard that a certain Michael Vaughan was attending the ball, which was being held in an adjacent room. He enlisted the help of a most attractive, but scantily dressed, young lady to verify this fact. His efforts were rewarded by MV autographing his dinner programme, MV’s efforts were rewarded with the past Chairman’s commemorative badge!

The AGM did attract the attention of the BBC. A couple, who were not members but had travelled with a member, visited The Crucible. A reporter asked them what they were doing in Sheffield and they told him about the Ferguson Club AGM and the piece went out on Radio Sheffield.

Members started to return home and reflect on another great weekend.

Our grateful thanks must go to Sylvia Bills and Glynn Price who took on this task because their good friend, Brian Bywater’s, who was doing the organising, became very poorly and subsequently died. They provided us with a lovely weekend, Thank you both.

Now is the time to start saving for the 2013 AGM & AMW which will be held in Newport, Gwent. We look forward to seeing you there.