Ferguson Club

Ferguson Club Journal Vol.1 No.1 1986 Editorial

Ferguson Club Journal first Editorial, Autumn 1986

Dear Member,

Welcome to The Ferguson Club – run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. The three founder members, Ken Goodwin, Geoff Smith and myself David Bate are all enthusiasts of vintage tractors, though none of us are professional authors. We got together during the early part of 1986 through our interest in old Ferguson tractors and implements, and the idea of forming a Club developed to bring together the many people who shared our affection for the “Grey Fergie”.

Vintage tractor enthusiasts have a great many area’s and a National Club which cater for all makes and models of tractors built prior to 1960. The Ferguson tractor, a relatively new make compared to others like International and Ford, have during the past few years become most popular tractors to own and restore. The Ferguson Club will be affiliated to the National Vintage Tractor’ & Engine Club and hopefully local area Clubs so that in the future we may share ideas and information with their members.

Judging by the response from our original letters to the farming press, and from talking to enthusiasts throughout the Country, there definitely’ was a need for a Club specifically catering for Ferguson enthusiast. We have been overwhelmed by the response so far ­BUT we do need extra members to help cover the costs of printing “your” magazine. We rely entirely on your subscription to pay for the printing and postage.

Words cannot describe the feelings we had when Massey Ferguson UK Ltd gave us their official blessing. We spent some time with their personnel who were quite delighted to find that someone was going to start a Club. In fact, they have a number of letters each week from enthusiasts and are happy for us to look after such enquiries for service in­formation and the availability of spare parts. Various members of their staff will be working in co-operation with us to pass on to you the member, technical advice on overhaul, how and where to get spare parts etc. In fact one member of their staff is at present compiling a listing of the spare parts which are still available (quite a con­siderable number are still made). and in due course we will publish a complete listing with computer part numbers so that you can easily order these from your local M F tractor dealer.

/’Is you can imagine, in this first issue we are still feeling our feet. Because this is your Club, the editorial staff invite you to write to us with your requirements. We will gladly publish your needs because a number of enthusiasts have already written in offering their services on advice based on their experience. Some problems we may be able to answer ourselves, other answers may come from MF personnel, and we wish to encourage members to communicate with each other to broaden the preservation of old Ferguson equipment.

Many of you in your original letters to us have expressed the need for historical back­ground information, repair and overhaul details, and restoration advice. We aim to handle all these and other topics of interest in future issues. We envisage that the sales and wants section will be a most popular item in the magazine. So please send in your advertise­ments for the Winter Edition. Some areas of the Country seem devoid of old Ferguson equipment, but you may be able to locate a much needed spare part or implement not too far away from home through the magazine.

Looking through your letters it is most interesting to see where people come from, and what professions or types of work Ferguson enthusiasts are engaged in. Surprisingly there are many not actively engaged in agriculture, but the important thing about this Club is that everyone is welcome. In the United States of America there are a number of Clubs who specialise in individual makes of old tractors. Their magazines often con­tain articles and photographs of their ‘pride and joy’ – how about sending The Ferguson Club an article on yours. We will be happy to publish articles and photographs – black and white are the best type to reproduce (it’s also cheaper to buy the film!).

Whilst talking about other makes of tractors, the guy who runs the Massey Harris Club in America with a magazine called “Wild Harvest” is most enthusiastic about the Ferguson Club. We do not have any information about old Massey Harris tractors but hope in the future to publish articles. We will be working in co-operation with the MH Club to ex­change information in the future. We also hope to liaise with a new Club in America which caters for Ford-Ferguson enthusiasts over there. From your letters we know that a considerable number of you have these quite rare tractors, and because information is scarce, we will cover them in due course.

Many people who look at old Ferguson tractors think that they are all alike. This is far from the truth, Ferguson probably built more variations for specialist use than any other manufacturer. I am relatively new to Fergusons myself and can ‘spot subtle differences when looking around. Of course the range of implements is the most extensive of any manufacturer, and we will be giving coverage to these in future articles. At shows and rallies one often sees a TE-20 with two furrow plough, but there are so many interesting and unusual implements which can still be easily found and at realistic prices which make a fascinating display. (I say this with tongue-in-cheek because I have spent some time looking for a particular implement without success – see my advert).

What of the future? We can see an ever increasing number of Ferguson tractors being restored. With the increase in prices of old tractors, more and more people are now buy­ing and restoring Fergusons. This is not to say that they are increasing in value – but that more and more people are recognising them as a nice little tractor to own and restore.

With today’s ever increasing costs, many people find that a Ferguson is small enough to store in a private garage and easy to transport around on a trailer to shows. Another ‘feature’ is that they have a relatively high top speed coupled with the ability to mount an implement directly to the 3-point linkage, means they are suitable to drive to a show or rally. This feature alone was enough to convince me (before the idea of the Club) to buy a Ferguson. The big bonus of course is that they are still easy to find, cheap to buy and restore, and easy to find spare parts for., It’s hardly surprising to see from the in initial letters written to us, that many of you have a number of different Ferguson Tractors­ once the ‘bug has bitten’ the enthusiasm grows.

A question which often arose during the initial stages of the Club foundation was ‘at what date or tractor model should we stop at’. After much discussion with enthusiasts and M F personnel we have loosely decided that 1965 is the most appropriate date when the Red Giant range of 130, 135, 165 and 175 models were introduced. However in the future we may decide to feature these tractors as the demand for information grows. The little French built 130 was never a popular selling tractor in it’s day, and there are not many around today. Perhaps these may become collectable and members may ask for information to be published in the magazine.

I have a slightly biased view on this subject having a Ferguson FE-35 tractor myself. How­ever over the past couple of years I have been surprised to see a number of these tractors appearing at ploughing matches and shows, very nicely restored, and recently I have noticed a number of red and grey M F-35′ s being restored.

As many of you are aware, the Ford-Ferguson-Farmer magazine from the States has ceased to exist. Recently Gerald Rinaldi from Connecticut has formed the 9N-2N-8N Club to cater for the Ford-Ferguson enthusiast. We have received a very nice letter from Gerald expressing interest in our Club and offering to exchange information for the benefit of both Club’s members. We will be liaising closely with Gerald (and with Keith Oltrog of the Massey Harris Club USA) to bring you historical information, technical details and restoration advice. If you have any particular requirements, please write to us and we will try to get specific answers.

I will close this first editorial and introduction to The Ferguson Club with this thought­ it is your Club, please help us the editorial staff by sending in an article and photograph of your tractor; your sales and wants; requests for information and information that you may have which could benefit fellow Club members. Remember, the more we can get will mean a better magazine.

David Bate – Editor, Volume 1 No. 1, Autumn 1986.

The Evolution of the Journal

The Evolution of the Journal: John Selley

I have the privileged of serving on the 4th Journal sub committee. Having seen how many recent changes we have made in the production and distribution handling, I thought you might enjoy reading about the evolution of the Journal.

You will find following this article in this 100th edition of the Journal a copy of the cover and Editorial by David Bate ofthe first edition, so I will spare you a repeat of that!

What amazed me was how organised the 3 founders were because the first edition ran to 27 pages, professionally printed by PDC Copyprint, Shrewsbury, and there were even 3 pages of ‘Sales and Wanted’!

In the 2nd edition, published Winter 1986/7, they proudly state they have 180 members and this edition has 34 pages.

In the 3rd Journal they are advertising lapel badges, either gold or silver background for £1.50 inc. postage! They certainly worked very hard.

Sadly by the 4th Journal Dave Bate has resigned due to pressure of work and we have an Editorial Committee.

In Autumn 1987 they published the complete list of 180 members with their addresses and, bearing in mind David, Ken and Geoffrey were members 1, 2 & 3, we still have members 4, 8 & 10 as Life Members, among others!

To date we have had 5 Editors, David Bate, George Field (6 years), John Cousins for just the one year, Alan Dunderdale (5 years) and Tim Hanson our current editor with 17 years and counting under his belt!

Under the editorship of George Field it received, for the first time, a colour cover and 85 pages.

Alan Dunderdale has sent me an excellent piece about when he was Editor but it runs to 1100 words so, with Alan’s agreement I include a precis of it.

“I became Editor of the Ferguson Club Journal with my first edition, issue 25 Spring 1997 and I decided that 1 wanted the Journal to be the best Club journal around, a change of printer made the difference.”

Under Alan’s editorship, at issue 30 Winter 1998 the front cover format we are all used to was introduced.

Alan was also responsible for the much treasured Handbook, a ‘Free Gift’ to all paid up members to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Club.
A number of advertisers wanted to go colour, so, by getting them to agree to higher charges, the Journal became ‘Colour’ granted only a few pages at first. Alan was under no illusion that it would not be tolerated for the Journal to lose its ‘quality feel’ hence we have a slightly thicker paper for the cover over the other pages. The size of the Journal was also important – it had to fit into a boiler suit pocket. (A true fact I am sure you’ve never thought off).

The committee were worried about copyright of our Club material, so we investigated the ISBN book registration (International Book Registration) and became the first tractor club to be issued with our own ISBN number. So, if any material is copied from a Journal without written permission, the person or company can be taken to court. That is how important the Club’s members’ contributions are!

When he started as editor, we had 450 members when he stepped down, it was some 1800 members! Thank you Alan.

“Yes, I am pleased to say that I had achieved my goal to make the Journal one of the best in the world. It was not my work alone – it was all those members who contributed to make it so special.”

When Tim Hanson took over with issue 43 Spring 2003 we had 1800 members and he, and his long suffering wife Gill, put each copy of the Journal into an envelope, stuck an address label on and put it through the franking machine, so it was no surprise, that when he was asked if he would carry on being our Editor for the fourth edition he said NO!

Of course, we on the Fourth Edition subcommittee, had no idea this is what went on, so moves were made for our printer to do the fulfilling, addressing and postage. This move removed this ‘burden’ from Tim and he agreed to carry on being our Editor. Thank you Tim and Gill for all those years and all those Journals you put into envelopes, we now can fully appreciate the work load you both did on behalf of the

Club especially as at the end membership was 3000+ and Tim said they had 400kgs of Journals to process each edition!

Another milestone, achieved under Tim’s Editorship, was the Journal going to full colour.

If you wish to find out how talented our editor is then you should read his leader in issue number 43! 1 feel quite tired after just reading it!

I think we have 5 Editors to thank for producing such a fine publication as the Journal is today. It has evolved, as has the way in which it is printed and handled, and we have two members of the Club who are involved in this process and in Journal I they will tell you how that happened for this edition.

Published in Journal No.100 Spring 2022

Ferguson Club – 25th Anniversary – 1986-2011

The Ferguson Club – 25th Anniversary – 1986-2011

fc25thbadge“Special Anniversary Badge – free to all who were paid up members during 2011, our Silver Anniversary year.”

Formed in the Autumn of 1986 ,the Club had only 180 members by the end of that year. Officially recognised by Massey Ferguson(UK) Ltd., the Club was administered by David Bates ( Editor ), Ken Goodwin ( Membership Secretary ) and Geoffrey Smith (General Secretary). The principal objective was to promote interest in the late Harry Ferguson, his designs for the mechanisation of agriculture and in particular “the Ferguson System”.

The Club covered – Ferguson A (Ferguson Brown), Ford –Ferguson 2N,8N & 9N, TE20, TO20,, TO30, USA & UK implements, and by agreement with Massey Ferguson the MF35 & MF65.

Right at the beginning they decided to issue 4 Quarterly Journals per year, to the Membership, who paid the princely sum of £10 per year.

The Journal ( Volume 1 No 1 ) promised to give Members the opportunity to advertise Sales & Wants, help other members with technical queries, and publish Member’s articles on their Tractors with Photographs.

Membership at this early stage included Members from USA, Australia & Ireland.

The first Technical Article gave valuable data on the TYPE TE-F20 (1951/2), this being a Diesel engined version of the TA-20 petrol Tractor, and listed the Special tools from V.L. Churchill & Co Ltd.

This Journal included the recipe for TVO ( Tractor Vapourising Oil ) as :

5 Gallons of 28 second Central Heating Oil /1 Gallon Petrol /½ Pint Universal Engine Oil. (TVO–25 litres @£8.50)

It also gave the costs of a TE-A @ £ 395, and many more items.

The Club has a very privileged and proud connection with the Ferguson Family, and in 1989, Mrs Elizabeth Sheldon (daughter of the late Harry Ferguson) became the Patron, and followed later by her son Jamie Sheldon,our first President under the new Constitution.

Recently the Club announced that Mrs Sally Fleming & Mrs Caroline Blest ( Mrs Sheldon’s daughters ) had accepted the invitation to become Vice-Presidents.

Publication of the Journal continued without any missed years and currently Journal No 68 is much improved , and has a current circulation of approx. 1500. Colour pictures having been introduced in 1996, by the then Editor Alan Dunderdale.

In 1994, the Club became, as it is now, a totally independent Members Club, and income relying mainly on annual subscription . Some income is also derived from advertising in the Journal and Sales of Merchandise .

3 very dedicated people have succeeded in ensuring that the Club is structurally sound — John Cousins( General Secretary) Ian Halstead (Chairman) & Lawrence Jamieson (Membership Secretary) were elected in1995, and these Officers were instrumental in keeping the Club in good shape, implementing a 5 year Plan, whilst unfinished business was completed. The first Constitution & Rules were agreed in 1995, and have only been modified to take account of new Officer positions. The Club is financially secure and Membership continues to increase year by year, and is currently 1500.

In 2001 the Club produced the new “Handbook”, which contained Maintenance information, Tractor data, the Constitution & Membership application Form.

The Club organises annually, a large number of Rallies, Shows, Ploughing matches , Harvest work-ins, Charitable events, Workshops, Agricultural shows and a host of recreational events across the UK.

A highlight of the Club’s activities was” the Grey Ferguson Challenge” , held in 1994 at Wickenby, when over 100 tractors ploughed together in one bout covering over 1000yards.

Management of the Club is carried out by the Executive Committee- ( Chairman, Vice Chairman, General Secretary, Treasurer & Membership Secretary) and Area Representatives forming the General Committee, with the Executive Committee. The Club Rules include the tenure of office for the Chairman & General Secretary, serving for only 2 consecutive years.

It is worthwhile noting that in 1986, the number of Area Reps. was 8 , rising to 18 in 1989, 30 in 1991 and 37 in 1993.

The Club has also appointed members to be responsible for :- Commercial Advertising, Website Co-ordinator, Area Rep. Co-ordinator, Merchandise Co-ordinator, DVLA Officer, Safety Officers & Technical Team.

The Annual Members Weekend & AGM is held around the UK, in order to give members the opportunity to meet new faces and to take part in the AGM, as well as seeing other members tractors, and has proved to be a great success.

The 25th Annual Weekend & AGM was held in Beamish, Co. Durham and our 2012 event was held in Sheffield.

The Club is enjoying probably the best years now, since formation in 1986, with a high level of interest by the Members and the Management.

Harry Turkington

General Secretary/Executive Committee

Mrs Elizabeth Sheldon (1920 – 1997)

Mrs Elizabeth (Betty) Sheldon, daughter of Harry Ferguson, died on 1st May with dignity after a short illness.

Born Elizabeth Ferguson in Belfast in 1920, where she attended school until the age of 14 when her father decided that any further education would be best obtained in the big wide world. Consequently she spent much of her time travelling the world accompanying her father on his many trips particually to America.

It was in America that one of the many amusing stories of her life happened. One particular day Harry Ferguson was entertaining Henry Ford and Elizabeth was sent to make a pot of tea. Unfortunately she could not work out how the new fangled electric kettle worked and knowing that her father was intolerant of failure was beginning to panic. After some time Elizabeth relented and returned to the meeting room to summon help, both Harry and Henry Ford, two of the greatest engineers that the world has known could not get the kettle to boil also. “Well” said Harry “lets forget about having tea Mr Ford has to return to his office, we will detain him no longer”.

After the war Elizabeth spent some time in France where she attended the Sorbonne and helped set up Harry Ferguson France. Elizabeth spoke french fluently and played tennis with distinction and rode when time allowed with the Cotswold Hunt.

Elizabeth married Tony Sheldon in 1950 they lived near to Abbotswood in Stow on Wold as Tony worked for Ferguson Research after its formation. They moved to the Isle of Wight in 1970 where she enjoyed, with Tony, many hours sailing, supporting him when he was Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes. She continued to represent the memory of her father and his engineering achievements through Harry Ferguson Holdings and Ferguson Research. She was of course Patron of the Ferguson Club.

Mrs. Sheldon was respected by everyone who met her and made one feel ‘at home’, she had a great sense of humour. She is survived by Tony, has a son Jamie, two daughters Caroline and Sally and five grandchildren.

Duncan Russell

Little Grey Fergie enables us to meet interesting people

A wonderful example of how our Little Grey Fergie enables us to meet interesting people

My experience of being a member of the The Ferguson Club for over 20 years has given me so many memorable experiences of life. Attending country shows, tractor rally’s, road runs, agricultural auctions, the list goes on. Each one of them has a connection somewhere to the Little Grey Fergie. But the one over riding memory is of the people that are involved in all these activities.

Really genuine down to earth people getting on with enjoying life and helping others with a similar interest around them. I’m sure the many readers of Classic Massey will have empathy to these thoughts.

My story here is no exception. The UK has a National Transport Trust, est. 1965 (NTT), it is the only national body which promotes and encourages the preservation and restoration of Britain’s transport heritage in all its forms – road, rail, wings and water.

The NTT’s Annual Awards were being held in the third week of October at Fawley Hill in Buckinghamshire. Fawley Hill is the home of the late Sir William and Lady Judy McAlpine. They have been and Lady Judy McAlpine still is a great supporter of our vintage tractor movement. Sir William was well known for rescuing the Flying Scotsman from its poor state in the USA back in 1973. He was an acknowledged railway enthusiast and built a full gauge private railway running to over a mile long in his grounds. The Ferguson Club Chiltern Vintage Tractor Charity run often uses Fawley Hill’s Railway Station as a base for its run.

It was through these connections that I was asked to supply an appropriate vintage tractor for the NTT Annual Awards ceremony. The patron is the Princess Royal and she was going to be in attendance.

I picked a Ferguson TET20 with a Scottish Aviation Cab, pulling a 30cwt Ferguson trailer, all restored to original specification. It was what I put in the trailer that seemed to draw the most attention though.

A “barn find” Austin J40, it had been sat in a corner of a shed for around 50 years. The big question today for many restorers is do you undertake a full concours style or a patina restoration. Certainly, in the vintage tractor World we now see higher prices for the patina styles than freshly painted. I put a poster up by the TET20 asking the question, “patina or repaint?”

The majority of NTT members seemed to be in favour of patina. HRH Princess Anne took great pleasure in studying the Ferguson set up. She was genuinely interested in the question posed and initially said it should be repainted. I discussed the merits of both with her and then she seemed to change her mind. Although I was told by Lady McAlpine that shortly afterwards she raised the subject again and went back to saying a repaint. The fact that you could have such a down to earth discussion with the Princess Royal was really lovely. I was told one of the reasons she took on the patronage of the NTT was because her father, the Duke of Edinburgh, was equally into British engineering and passionate about its future.

© Gary Anderson, John Selley, Classic Massey and Ferguson Enthusiast Magazine, Jan/Feb 2022.