No 1 Returns to its Tullylagen Home


The manor at Tullylagan recently restored by its present owner, Mr Raymond Turkington. The house has been restored as it was when Harry Ferguson first visited it before the Great War. Photo: G Field, Sutton, Tenbury Wells, Worcs

On Saturday 8th June 1991 Ferguson type ‘A’ No 1 returned to its former home near Cookstown, Northern Ireland, after an absence of 45 years.

The occasion was the Tullylagan Manor ‘Heritage Day’, a tribute to the memory of the late Thomas MacGregor Greer DL, JP, a former director in the pre-war Ferguson farm machinery companies who died on 9th June 1941. This event also happened to be the first ever organised by the Ferguson Club in Northern Ireland. ‘No l’ was recently restored by Club members John Burge and David Bull. It is due to their efforts that the tractor is now in truly pristine condition.

Normally ‘No l’ is on permanent display in Massey-Ferguson’s museum at Banner Lane where it is one of the company’s most prized exhibits.

When the idea of a tribute was originally conceived one or two cynics thought it unlikely that ‘No l’ would be allowed out of the factory gates, let alone to Northern Ireland. However Mr Aaron Jones. Managing Director of Massey-Ferguson Tractors Ltd, recognised the significance of the event and very kindly permitted ‘No l’ to return to its former home. We believe this is the first time that one of the world’s largest manufacturers has sent one of their vintage models to a venue in Northern Ireland. Needless to say, all concerned were absolutely delighted by this and a very big ‘thank you’ is due to Aaron Jones and Massey-Ferguson. without whose generosity it would not have been possible.

Prior to departure, ‘No l’ was completely serviced, checked and resprayed by John Burge and David Bull, who also volunteered to accompany the tractor to Cookstown. Thus on 8th June 1991, ‘No l’ was reunited with its original ‘B’ type plough, No 1, as well as its general cultivator, in the very same yard to which they were delivered 55 years ago in 1936. This must be a terrific achievement by any standards and one of which the Ferguson Club can be justly proud.

The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum was also represented in the form of a full sized replica Ferguson monoplane loaned by our good friend John Moore, keeper of the museum’s transport section. This particular replica was, for several years, on display at Belfast International Airport.

In order to transport it the wings and certain other fittings have to be removed and John was already at Tullylagan at 7am assembling the machine. Recent members who are interested in Harry Ferguson’s pioneering aviation activities are recommended to read John’s excellent article in the Spring 1990 Journal, Vol 4 No 1. (Back issues are still available – see details below. John Moore also wrote in ‘Fly-Past’ magazine, December 1984, on the same subject. Editor)

Among the other Fergusons present were four other Ferguson type ‘A’/Ferguson-Browns. Type ‘A’ No 307, now owned by Noel Greer, has a special association with Tullylagan Manor as its original owner, the late Robert McGucken, saw the ‘Black Tractor’ being demonstrated here in the early ‘thirties. No 307 was itself demonstrated near Cookstown in August 1937.

Dan McTaol from Ballymoney, Co Antrim, attended with his 1937 model, registered as DZ 5220. Dan is a well known vintage tractor enthusiast and appears at many events all over the province. This tractor has Dunlop rear wheels fitted with 24″ tyres instead of the normal 22″ size. Ian McAllistair of Dervock sent his 1937 model, No 467, and driven by Robert Kidd of Broughshane, Co Antrim.

‘No l’ on arrival at its former home for the years 1936 to 1946. Ferguson Club executive officer George Field, with David Bull and John Burge who carried out this impeccable piece of restoration. Harry Ferguson was uncompromising when it came to the presentation of his machinery. He would have been well satisfied with the standard of turnout for this, his first production tractor. Photo: Mid-Ulster News

Published in Volume 5 No. 2 Winter 1991

Footnote: During September 1991 the farm buildings at Tullylagen Manor were extensively damged by fire.  The room where Harry Ferguson slept on his early visits to the manor and the garage and coach house were fortunately undamaged.  The main building including the hydro-electric plant, stables and function hall were gutted.  At the time of writing the extent of structural damage is unclear.  The cause of the fire is unknown.  Leslie Hutchinson, Newsletter Winter 1991,