Why and How I Started the Coldridge Collection Parts 1 to 7

Why and How I Started the Coldridge Collection’ (Part1) Mike Thorne

   Click Here to visit the Coldridge Collection in the Ferguson Club Gallery:
   (Then scroll down to ‘Coldridge Collection, Devon’)

It was suggested to me by Club Member, John Selley, that I write this article for the Journal. So here we go, but be warned, it may go on a bit!

Well, like most things in life, I did not suddenly decide to start The Coldridge Collection, at Lower Park Farm, Coldridge in Devon. No, of course it had a long gestation period before I actually bought a TED20! So this is the story which will unfold as a series, the tractors, the implements and the buildings they are now displayed in.

A Ford Ferguson and Ferguson Brown displayed at the Coldridge Collection

On leaving school with one GCE in maths in 1954 I started working as a student at Little Stoke Manor, a 1000 acre mixed farm in Oxfordshire. Their range of 11 tractors would sit very well on a rally field today! There were 2 Fordson Standards, 2 American Allis Chalmers Model B, 2 Caterpillar R’s, an International F20 and a 15-30, a Minneapolis Moline Model GT, a new type Fordson Major Diesel and a Ferguson TED20, 6 volt with a Posthole Digger and a Ferguson tipping trailer. I happened to be the main driver of this tractor which suited me very well.

At the end of this year in Oxfordshire my next stage was to attend a one year National Certificate of Agriculture at Oaklands, St. Albans, Hertfordshire. They also ran a Diploma course in Horticulture. Their fleet of tractors included a Field Marshall Series 3, a new type Fordson Major Diesel, an International of some sort, a Ferguson TEF20 with a high lift loader and a David Brown Diesel Cropmaster which was in the throws of being rebuilt in their well-equipped workshop. I found the tuition very much to my liking, working in all the departments of their farm as well as classroom learning in the afternoons. We were treated like adults, but needless to say there were some pranks and, for some reason, I was submerged in a cattle drinking trough! I then had to dry out my clothes as well as some paper money I had in my pockets!

One evening we were given a talk by a representative of Harry Ferguson Ltd, at the end of his talk there was a question time, so some clever dick in the front row (me!) asked him why Ferguson did not make 4 WD tractors to which he replied ‘our tractors have such good traction they do not need it’. Well what do you make of that today!

While I was attending Oaklands my father moved house to rent a farm house at Nicholls Farm, Redbourn, Hertfordshire. It had previously been owned by L.F. Dove Ltd., who had been a Ferguson dealership for that part of Hertfordshire. The only evidence of their ownership I found was a rear axle half shaft and hub!

When I had finished my second year at Oaklands I returned to work at Little Stoke Manor where I spent a further year. Three of us were taken, by the bailiff (in this context he is The Landlord’s Agent!), to The World Ploughing, which that year was held at Shillingford, Oxfordshire between 10th and 12th October 1956. It was on this occasion that I first encountered the recently launched Ferguson FE35 and I took the opportunity to speak with a ploughman who was using one to ask his opinion of the tractor. His response was very positive and provided me with the opportunity to make my own inspection. I gave it ten out of ten and a bronze star!

This second year at Little Stoke I lodged with farm bailiff, David Blomfield and his family and two young teenagers, boys. One of them had been given a 1/16″ scale Airfix model kit of a TE20 which I helped them put together and paint. I wish I had that in the Coldridge Collection today, sadly all I have is just 4 front wheels!

I left Little Stoke for the second time to return to living at Nicholl’s Farm and I found myself a farm job at Organ Hall Farm near Boreham Wood about 12 miles away. This was a rented 120 acre farm run by two brothers, Ron and Joe Salter, mainly based on dairy cattle with about 40 cows housed in traditional cowsheds over the winter period, this was a real working farm. Their tractors were two new type Fordson Major diesels and a rather forlorn Fordson Standard Industrial on small wheels – a real collector’s piece today, this was parked outside in the yard. I worked there for about 3 years and then decided on yet another change, this time working for the Milk Marketing Board (MMB) as a trainee cattle inseminator. Part of my early training was at one of their main centres, in my case Little Horwood, Buckinghamshire. I was able to lodge with the Blomfields as they had moved to a nearby farm, very handy! Part of the early training was handling and looking after the stock bulls, there were about 6 different breeds. By day in Spring, Summer and Autumn the bulls would be taken out, one by one, from the bull sheds (rather like traditional cow stalls but larger and more robust) to be tethered for grazing. This operation was done by passing a looped rope up through the ring in the bull’s nose and then placing the loop around the base of the horns. The long end of the rope was tied to the nine holed rear bar of the farm’s TED20 and then tow the bull slowly out to the field to tether him. I can remember carrying out this procedure with a big mature Hereford bull, Porch Jumbo, with the engine at a brisk tickover, on petrol, he decided to stop and stalled the engine! I restarted and off we went in the most nonchalant manner! I was very glad he did not become aggressive and charge the rear of the TED20!

© Mike Thorne – Journal 101, Summer 2022

Why and How I Started the Coldridge Collection’ (Part2) Mike Thorne

After three years of working for the MMB at their Little Kingshill Sub Centre, Bucks, the head inseminator and I decided to form a farming partnership and we bought, with a mortgage, a 120 acre farm Lower Whitsleigh, North Devon. Most of my friends thought I had made a mistake! Anyway, the purchase included a new type Fordson Major diesel with a Cameron Gardener Rear Loda. After a year of dairy farming at Lower Whitsleigh we were offered a private mortgage so we bought Lower Park Farm, Coldridge and 57 acres where I looked after the 40 dairy cows, more or less 6 days a week, on my own. It was with the purchase of Lower Park we became the owners of a TEF20 minus its fuel injection pump, a Ferguson rear mounted mower and a Ferguson fertilizer spreader. I soon found and fitted the correct CAV fuel pump so now we had two tractors. The partnership was terminated in 1967.

Next I found myself a job as a welder for a firm of well respected steel fabricators A.E.Watson of Exeter, who always had some high profile projects underway. Passing their exacting welding test at my interview I was take on at 6 shillings per hour. For me the nine months I spent at Watsons was Iike a condensed apprenticeship in steel fabrication and I took every opportunity when overtime was offered, and there was plenty. After nine months I left feeling I could do better on my own. Well things did work out steadily for me. I was still living in Lower Park’s rather dilapidated farmhouse, rent free until it was sold and I received my share of the money I had put into the partnership. By 1970 my business was quietly established and I was employing a few people. In 1977 I was offered Lower Park and its 57 acres. I thought the asking price was fair but I was unable to raise a mortgage. The owner offered me a mortgage over a three year period which, by hard work, I was able to payoff to the terms of our agreement.

By 1980 a friend, who worked as an estimator for a scaffolding firm in Exeter, called at my workshop one afternoon to tell me he had noticed a grey Ferguson for sale for £100. I was quite fired up by this rekindling of my Ferguson interest, so I arranged to view it, making sure I had £ 100 cash in my pocket!  Well, I bought it although it was a non-runner, and made arrangements to collect it with my TK Bedford lorry which had a hydraulic lifting crane fitted. On getting it back to Lower Park I put fresh petrol into the tank and cleaned up the plugs and points and it fired up and just about ran. This tractor is No.1 in the Coldridge Collection. It was at this point that the collecting bug really got a hold of me! For the next few years I purchased lots of tractors that came my way, different makes and even some crawlers, all done in an indiscriminate way, with a tally of just short ono. Then, at one of our early open days I can remember talking with an enthusiastic visitor who remarked about the variety and number of tractors I had. I suddenly thought that this was crazy having such a wide assortment, I would need 200 years if I were to get them all restored! No, it would be much more realistic to concentrate on one marque and that, of course would be Ferguson. I had read a lot about Harry Ferguson and his small team who doggedly developed a pioneering concept into a solid functioning piece of engineering, i.e. the Draft Control ­the integration of tractor and implement on the converging three point hydraulic linkage. In terms of tractor models that I would focus on it would be the time span between the Ferguson Model A through to the end of the 100 series. I would also embrace the range of implements and memorabilia, technical data as well as the other Ferguson achievements particularly in the automotive area.

So as time went on I gradually sold off the non-Ferguson models including several that my friend, the late Ernie Luxton had restored for me to a very high standard. Ernie was a most competent Ferguson trained engineer, who, in all the mechanical work he carried for me, was never beaten by any problem that arose. The painting of most of the restoration projects was carried out by Peter Clarke to a very high professional standard.

Gradually it dawned on me that there was not much point in just restoring tractors and implements then storing them sheeted up in a dry shed. No. What would be more creative would be to design and build a space in which to display the finished result in a civilized setting. Of course, this was just the excuse I needed to indulge in a bit of design fantasy! From a young age I have been interested in architecture and making things, Meccano was a great educational toy for me.

My business, by this time (early 1990’s) centred on fabricating and erecting both agricultural and industrial steel framed buildings, from providing the customer with just a basic frame and roof to full ‘turn key’ projects, and it was flourishing. However, there was hardly any opportunity to build something a bit special, but now I had the excuse I was looking for. What sprung to mind was a seven sided building (a heptagonal) set slightly into the sloping site, thus helping it to integrate into the landscape. Five sides would be glazed with tinted toughened glass thus following the arc of the sun from East to West. The vertical glazing bars would be set to lean outwards by 20°, springing from a 2′ high plinth stone wall, rather like the arrange­ment used on airport control buildings to reduce glare. The two remaining sides, would follow the same profile but would be in-filled with heavy duty tongued and grooved boarding set on the diagonal and stained black. The roof would be slate clad (weight 8 tons) topped off with a glazed finale. I set myself the challenge that I did not want fixing bolts on the finished exposed frame. This involved fabricating the seven main frames and the top ring beam on a level concrete floor. To erect the building the centre ring beam was raised on scaffolding set at the correct height with projecting stubs welded to each external comer, these had one 13mm hole drilled in them. At the top end of each of the seven main frames was drilled a corresponding hole. The idea being that as each main frame was raised into position and bolted down to the foundation bolts, a temporary long bolt could be inserted into the aligned holes with the ring beam. When all the seven frames were erected and bolted down we had a relatively stable structure. One by one the eve beams were cut to the correct length, each end having a com- pound mitre, and tack welded into place. After all this was completed and all Ihe intersections fully position welded, (he long bolts were withdrawn and the holes filled with weld and ground smooth. Now the scaffolding could he taken down. The next stage to complete the frame was the cutting and tacking into place the twenty-one purlins, each ring of a smaller rectangular hollow section which is functional and looks aesthetically correct. The last element to be welded into the frames were the window sills, glazing bars and the necessary steelwork that forms the porch and doorway. Then the steelwork was painted in MF Brown.

There was a serious down turn in the construction industry about 1992 so further work had to be put on hold for two years, so at our open days, we displayed a circle of tractors within the skeleton framework! By May 1995 the building was completed.

1 would like to give credit to those people who were key players in this project. My good and long-standing friend Robin Haughton who dealt most professionally with the exposed roof timbers, the continuous internal timber window seating and the diagonal boarding. Robin was also involved with the steelwork assembly but I did most of the site welding – it took ages!

The late Frank Conibere did a super job on the perimeter stone walls using stone from a local quarry. Geraint Vanstone and his son Graham did an excellent job with the complicated intersection of the slate roof using lead soakers rather than the ridge tiles which I thought would look too heavy: but the line of the change had to be spot on, anything less would have been an eye sore! However, Robin and I were allowed to do a lot of the straight forward slating!

Prior to starting this building, I intuitively chose to use 160 x 100 x 4mm rectangular hollow section (RHS) for all the main structural members but when I had worked out the weight of the roof slates I thought I had better get this checked out by my qualified structural engineer, Alan Beal. All was in order but he sensibly pointed out that I could reduce the size of the purlins as they became shorter towards the centre of the building. I am very glad he raised this point, which was followed, as it does look right.

Well, this heptagonal shed was completed in May 1995. Just to round off by relating the fact that a bit before it was completed, I went to see a clairvoyant lady in Crediton for a consultation. Several times during my time with her she said ‘I keep seeing a bleeding flying saucer’. Well, at night, when the internal lights are on, that is just what it looks like!

Needless to say, we soon moved in all the restored tractors – that was a good feeling!

© Mike Thorne – Journal 102, Autumn 2022

Why and How I Started The Coldridge Collection (Part 3) Mike Thorne

What follows is a brief description of what is now displayed within. On entering, and moving around in a clockwise direction, and dealing with the exhibits on the perimeter we have a 1976 Ex-Army MF20, the industrial version of the MF135, with only 283 miles on the clock and 1611 hours on the tractometer. This is Coldridge Collection number 79. Next is a late MF135 with a quick release cab and low hours, one of 6 tractors on loan from AGCO. Next is a pair of doors which I rescued from the main entrance to the Banner Lane offices prior to demolition. At the same time, I was given two impulse electric clocks, I have these displayed on brackets on either side of the door frame. Behind the doors is a drawing board, once owned by MF, loaned to me by my friend Jeremy Burgess, who also gave me 15 bricks from the site.

Bricks salvaged from the Banner Lane site.

The 1976 built MF20, the industrial version of the MF135.

The rescued doors and impulse electric clocks from the Banner Lane offices.

Next to the doors is a Massey Harris Pony powered by a Simca petrol engine which is also on loan from AGCO. Next is a MF35 vineyard model, I bought many years ago from OE Culverwell of East Sussex, a MF Dealer for that area. This I have fitted up with a Ferguson Post Hole Borer and is exhibit No.48. Next is another loan tractor, a MF35 with Multi-Power and PAVT rear wheels, again a low hours example.

Adjacent to this is Coldridge Collection No.40 MF825, a French built machine powered by a Perkins 4 cylinder diesel engine. The next one round is a rather tatty MF130 Vineyard model awaiting restoration and is collection No.80.

The unrestored MF130 Vineyard Model

Next is a MF135 Narrow version, once used as my working tractor, No.81, but now replaced by a MF1020 4wd compact tractor, not yet given a collection number. Moving on is a MF65 Mk2 Industrial with Instant Reverse Shuttle, having a 4 speed gearbox controlled by two separate levers. Forward and reverse speeds are all the same, this is No.54. Next is a MF175 with Multi-Power and PAVT wheels, No.78. A nice hefty, easy to drive tractor. To complete this row is a MF135 tractor.

4WD and equipped with a mid-mounted mower driven off a centre PTO. I imported this from Austria and it is No.85. It was usual practice to supply Coventry built tractors destined for either Germany or Austria to have the facility to have a mid­-mounted PTO as mowers of this type were widely used in these countries.

Now filling in the remaining space; right in the centre I have placed ‘The Nipper’, again on loan from AGCO, which I have described fully in a previous edition of the Journal.

Next to the entrance doors is a MFl35 petrol model, No.83, that was originally used in Jersey on a mushroom farm, presumably to reduce exhaust fume contamination. These models are quite rare in the UK but many were exported to New Zealand and Denmark where petrol was rebated for agricultural use. My friend in Belgium has one which he tells me was originally imported from Denmark. I was told by the late Dick Dowdeswell (ex­-Ferguson/Massey Ferguson demonstrator) that MF would often loan petrol MF135’s to horse riding events for ground duties because the much quieter engines were less likely to spook the horses!

The French built MF825 with Perkins engine.

Also, in this part of the building is a MF135 Vineyard No.86, it is fitted with the MF reduction gearbox which, because it is a sandwich box, extends the length of the tractor. The final tractor No.74 in this shed is a MFI 30 complete with two furrow Disc Plough 2-P-AE20. Luckily for me, when I was grit blasting it prior to painting, we turned it over and heard a rattle in the main tubular frame which turned out to be the large single ended spanner that was provided with these ploughs and fits the large nuts on the disc carriers. One final exhibit that must not be forgotten is an early Avery Hartnol petrol pump finished in Shell colours of red and yellow. It is topped off with a Shell Mex globe and is in working order!

The MF65 Mk2 stands out in its industrial yellow livery.

The next building to house tractors was completed just in time to host the Club’s AGM & AMW in April 2000. I had arranged for Jamie Sheldon to perform the official opening of this shed known as ‘The Ferguson Shed’. Sadly, at that point I had not installed a visitor’s book which was a shame but was soon rectified. This building was not purpose built, but a conversion of a 60′ x 30′ lean-to farm storage shed made soon after I purchased Lower Park in 1977. To ensure this conversion tied in with the adjacent heptagonal shed, the rafters supporting the roof were extended by about 5′ (1525mm) thus enabling us to replicate on the long side the arrangement used next door i.e. sloping outwards by 20° and to provide an overhang of about 3′ thus giving a bit of shelter from the rain or sun. A couple of long garden seats are in place for visitors to relax and take in the views! To create a bit of dynamic I aimed to give the inside a sort of high-tech look which I thought would contrast well with the old tractors displayed within. To this end Robin and I cut 5.5″ holes in the rakers and 3.5″ in the stanchions. We installed, 2′ below the metal roof lining sheet, two runs of oval section ventilating ducting with home-made uplighters and an assortment of spots and down lights on the underside.

The MF35X vineyard model

The 4WD MF135 with cab and mid-mounted mower.

Across the far and back wall Geraint and Graham built us an internal wall using lightweight blocks, this gave the opportunity to create separate ladies and gents toilets and to build in illuminated display cases. Along most of the back wall we were able to install a mezzanine area about 9′ (2286mm) wide reached by an offset staircase with treads of aluminium chequer plate, with stainless steel handrail, being supported by blue painted steel balustrades, also with holes for decoration which continues the full length of the mezzanine. This is where I have my desk, phone and expresso coffee making machine: NO computer! This is where the bills are paid and writing done. Keeping me company I have some railway models in three display cases plus a decent sized bookcase and some framed prints by none other than Terence Cuneo as well as a very fine 5″ gauge model of No.70013 Oliver Cromwell, a British Railways Britannia Class locomotive designed by Robert Riddles and built at Crewe in 1951.

Photographs by Dr Mike Oakins
© Mike Thorne, first published in Ferguson Club Journal No.103 Winter 2022/23

Why and How I Started The Coldridge Collection (Part 4) Mike Thorne

On entering, to the left is Coldridge Collection Nol, a restored TED20 fitted with tyre tracks type A-TE-l J3 and an American made Ferguson PTO adaptor. This accessory serves two functions, it increases the diameter to 13/8″ and moves the far end 1 0.5″ from the centre hole of the Ferguson 9 hole drawbar i.e. to a SAE Standard. Also fitted to this exhibit is a Ferguson accessory made by the English Numbering Co. an hour counter that is bolted to the dynamo and driven by a gearwheel fitted between the pulley and the end part of the body.

Ferguson 30cwt tipping trailer.

The next exhibit is a Ferguson 30cwt tipping trailer type L-SE-30. Although rebuilt, the tipping pipe and handbrake linkage is not yet fitted. Next is Ferguson TEE20 No.64. This example has been fully restored and I have fitted it with a pair of narrow rear wheels, 4.00 x 36″ and aFerguson Low Volume sprayer type S-LE­20 and an Allman Speedometer calibrated to 20mph, earlier ones went to l5mph. The odometer is calibrated in furlongs. (Readers may remember I wrote an article about this for the Journal some while ago).

TED20 fitted with tyre tracks and lighting kit.

TEE20 with an Allman Speedometer fitted.

Next is No.91 an experimental prototype based on a TED20 but fitted with a Meadow’s direct injection diesel engine. (Again, this is covered by an article in a previous Journal). This is most likely the only surviving one but at least two examples are known to have been built.

The engine starts instantly, even in very cold weather and it pulls like the preverbal train! Fitted with a MF793,3 furrow plough set at 12″. On hard red Devon soil in 3rd gear it pulled well but the smoke was disgusting, in 2nd gear it purred along beautifully!

TED20 with Meadow’s diesel engine fitted.

The unrestored TEF20 Reekie conversion fitted with narrow rear wheels.

The complicated hitch of the Mark 1 trailer.

CC No.38 is a restored 1947 TE20 which is coupled to a Ferguson 3 ton tipping trailer F-JE-A30, often referred to as the Mark l. These early examples have a very complicated hitching linkage that does enable weight to be transferred from the trailer to the tractor’s rear wheels. They were only in production for a very short time before Harry Ferguson asked Industrial Inventor, Theo Sherwen to develop the hitch that is used today. It is rumoured he was given just 10 days to develop the new hitch. Once the modified design had been worked out, Harry Ferguson offered conversion kits to enable early trailers to be brought up to the later design.

Next we have CC No.61, this is a TEL20, a TVO Vineyard model. I bought this from a market gardener in North Somerset and it came complete with Howard Reduction Gearbox which is fitted within the transmission case. Howard designed these gearboxes especially for use in the TE20s. When hitched to a Howard Rotavator; it is vitaJly important not to subject the transmission to high loads when in low range as there is a risk of broken teeth!

Following this we have CC No.70, a Standard Motor Co. prototype designated Zero 1, the only survivor of the two that were made. Mine is fitted with a 23C diesel engine with a modified cylinder head to take a heater plug in each of the combustion chambers. (Again, this has been the subject of an article in the Journal). They were followed by two more different prototypes known as Zero 2. Both of these have survived in private ownership.

Standing next to this is CC No.93 an unrestored Reekie conversion of a Ferguson TEF20 fitted with 4.00 x 36″ rear wheels and a Howard Reduction Gearbox. (I had better do an article on this tractor!).

CC No.4 is a restored TEA20 I bought locally and was restored by the late Ernie Luxton. This is fitted to a Cameron Gardener Handy Loda with an earth bucket. The three point linkage has an assister contracting ram drawing high pressure oil from the pump. It works well and has plenty of wheel grip but drivers tended to get neck ache! This tractor is displayed with a genuine Ferguson tractor cover A-TE-A68.

The Cameron Gardener Handy Loda.

Next is CC No.82, a rare surviving 4WD conversion by Selene of Nichelino, near Milan, Italy. Drive is taken from the rear end of the gearbox within its own ‘sandwich’ or transfer box with sliding gears to enable the drive to the front axle to be selected. The front axle is ex WW2 Jeep but cut back to reduce its track width so as to align with the rear-wheels. Front tyres are 7.50 x 16″, needless to say the steering lock is much reduced. Interestingly, within the swivel hubs are proper constant velocity joints. Also, the gearing ratios are spot on as it is possible to drive the tractor at full speed and then engage 4WD without any horrible noise! Also fitted to this tractor is a Ferguson Tractometer A- TE-93 which records hours worked as well as engine speed. Drive is taken from the dynamo shaft and transmitted, via a flexible cable, to the instrument mounted just below the dash.

The 4WD TED20 conversion by the Italian firm Selene.

Photographs by Dr Mike Oakins
© Mike Thorne, first published in Ferguson Club Journal No.104 Spring 2022/23

Why and How I Started The Coldridge Collection (Part 5) Mike Thorne

The penultimate tractor in the Ferguson Shed is a Ford 9NAN, a late 1943, CC No. 24. I came across this tractor whilst we were erecting a building near North Tawton just a few miles from Coldridge. It was a lease lend tractor that had spent all it’s working life on that fann. It is a TVO model so the gear ratio to the layshaft in the gearbox is slightly lower than the petrol models. TIris is an attempt to compensate for the slightly lower power output from the engine. The only work done to this is a poor quality respray and a new set of tyres. Finally we have a Ferguson Model A, often referred to as the Ferguson Brown, this is CC No.39 with serial number 88, a 1936 example with the Coventry Climax petrol engine. This was purchased from a gentleman living in Dorset who in tum had imported it from Jersey. This was fully restored by Ernie Luxton, but only to include the mechanical elements. I had decided not to paint it thus showing off the different metals used for the different components. New tyres all round were fitted as the others were seriously perished. All the parts that make up the radiator had to be replaced, the castings for the top, bottom and side panels as well as a cast aluminium steering wheel were sourced from Clive & Robert Lunn of Grantham. These components had to be machined to close tolerances by my friend Jonathan Lewis. The manufacturing of a replacement core was entrusted to Barnstaple Radiators who replicated the correct profile to the cooling fins. I decided to fit a pair of rear mudguards which were available to customers as an optional fitment.

Number 24 in the collection is the 1943 Ford 9 NAN made in the USA and sent over as Lease-Lend. Insert picture shows the 9 NAN was badged as a Ford with a second badge – Ferguson System. The centre badge reads made in USA.

The Ferguson Model A (Ferguson Brown) was built in 1936, serial number 88.
Insert picture – Badged Ferguson, David Brown has been acknowledged on a brass
plate at the foot of the radiator.

The Ferguson Model A with period twvo furrow plough. Note the optional wings.

As this was going on I was offered the optional belt pulley and PTO assembly so this was installed, sadly the actual PTO shaft was missing. It should be mentioned here that on these models the hydraulic pump only works when the rear wheels are rotating so, as this one is fitted with a period two furrow Ferguson plough, before moving it I have to jack up one of the rear wheels, set the quadrant to lift and then hand turn the wheel!

On one occasion I took three Ferguson tractors to a ploughing day at Stoneleigh, which included this one with its plough. The late John Chambers was in attendance and spent a good couple of hours doing some ploughing, he was smiling like the cat that had got the cream!

Outside this shed is a 16″ single furrow plough of this early era.

Two exhibits which are not tractors should be mentioned, one is a cutaway, full size motorised model of the Perkins A4¬203 diesel engine. Although this is actually an automotive engine, it is in fact very close to the Perkins engine installed in the MF65 Mk1 tractors.

The Ferguson flat four car engine circa 1955, 2.2Iitres, ohv.
This engine is at present being restored.

The other exhibit is of a prototype Ferguson flat four-cylinder car engine, P97/420, one of a batch of 7, developed to power the R5 Ferguson Estate car. This was kindly restored for me by my good friend Peter Smith and his friend Robert. This has been the subject of a recent article in the Journal.

This later development of the Ferguson flat four engine has belt driven over head cams. It has been restored and at present is the only Ferguson car engine running.

The final shed adjoins my mezzanine and was refurbished in the latter pm.! of 2007 and completed ready to host the Club’s AGM &AMW in April 2008. When I bought Lower Park in 1977 part of this building was in place in the form of an Atcost building with a concrete frame, the main building was 45′ long i.e. three bays and 20′ wide with a 20′ wide lean to on the left-hand side as viewed from my office area. It was used for housing cattle and fodder storage. By 1978 I decided to extend the length by one bay of 15′ both to the main frame and the lean-to. On the other side we erected a 30′ wide lean-to the full length, obviously all the new frames were built of steel. Concrete block walls were built 5′ high around most of the perimeter apart from a large central sheeted door to allow access. Above the block walls space, boarding was used as an infill. This then became an over wintering shed for cattle with a central feed passage with bedded cattle pens in each lean-to. When my farming tenant had a change of farming policy this building quickly filled with a collection of stuff and a certain amount of junk! As time went on, we found that more display space was needed, so a start was made to clear the decks plior to a full refurbishment. Firstly, the sloping floor levels had to be realigned to one continuous gentle fall and finished with a power float surface. Next all the space boarding was lined on the inside with marine ply which was followed by having all the internal surfaces, except the floor, sprayed with a thick foam insulation. A filthy job done by two men to a very high standard. I was so impressed I gave them a decent gratuity. Once this had been completed Robin and I did some careful measuring of heights, the outcome of which showed that it would just be possible to install a mezzanine over most of the floor area of the centre part of the building and still have enough height below to operate a small forklift. In order to increase the actual area of this upper floor it seemed prudent to extend the edges beyond the line of the main stanchions by about 2’6″ (750mm). With the ceiling at this point sloping upwards to a finished edge of about 6″ (552mm) which supports the balustrade and, in turn, the stainless-steel hand rails. This, I feel, gives the deck a lift and provides the opportunity to install some down lighters. The mezzanine is reached by a staircase again with aluminium chequer plate treads. Above the floor we installed a 500kg electric hoist track along the apex of the building, this enables implements and cutaway models to be lifted from ground level and trundled along the track to their approximate positions. To facilitate this the mezzanine finishes about 10′ (3m) from the electrically operated roller shutter door. The centre section of tile balustrade at this end is detachable and incorporates a handmade electrically lit double sided Ferguson trade mark sign.

The next job was to install the first fix of all the electrical wiring, i.e. for lighting and ring main and three phase for the hoist. This was followed by the building of internal cavity walls incorporating illuminated display cases as in the Ferguson Shed. Next the underside of the roof was hidden by a suspended ceiling of white polystyrene tiles, again executed to a very high standard by a specialist contractor – again these chaps were rewarded with a gratuity. This was followed by painting the walls ‘off white’ and the steel work in blue. The final job was for me to lay the interlocking floor tiles on both levels.

Now to outline the tractors and imple¬ments that are displayed in this shed. We will go through the opening adjacent to my office area and proceed in a clockwise direction around the perimeter walls and finishing off by looking at what is in the centre part and then up on the mezzanine. The first exhibit is sadly partly covered by odds and ends but is a Massey Harris binder of the 1900’s Model 321. At some time in its life, it has been converted from horse drawn to tractor drawbar. This is on loan from AGCO.

Massey Harris binder circa 1926. Originally horse drawn but later converted for tractor use.

Photographs by Dr Mike Oakins
© Mike Thorne, first published in Ferguson Club Journal No.105 Summer 2022/23

Why and How I Started The Coldridge Collection (Part 6) Mike Thorne

Next in the collection is No.16, a 1957 FE35 diesel SDF52778 which is fitted with a MHF mounted spreader, both are restored. Adjacent to this is a MF35 petrol No.90. These models are unusual in the UK for obvious reasons! This one has been restored by the previous owner. Next is an experimental MF35, painted yellow No.58 and missing its commission plate. It has been fitted with a Ford F3 diesel engine as fitted in the Dexta models, although very similar to the Perkins A3-152 it is fitted with the pneumatic governor so it tends to ‘hunt’ when idling. The castings for these engines were produced by Ford at their Dagenham foundry then sent to Perkins to be machined, built and returned to Dagenham to be installed in their Dexta tractors. On the right-hand mudguard there is a large warning plate ‘No Unauthorised Person to Drive This Vehicle’, you have been warned! Behind these three tractors is a Ferguson Weeder type M-RE-A21, it is 13′ wide and equipped with 71 thinnish spring steel tines, the outer sections can be folded up for transportation. Directly behind the Yellow tractor is a Ferguson winch W-VE-20 which is restored but not yet had its rope or hook fitted. Next to this is a Ferguson FE35 No.72 preproduction model serial number FE003, engine number SBE, a 23C design but has a crankcase breather as fitted to the 20C engines. This feature was carried over on the very early production models. Sadly, this tractor has been fitted with Ford Dexta mudguards and I am pretty sure that the bonnet is not original. Next to this we have No.49 a 1957 TVO FE35 SKF52100 example, with a Devon registration XTA 464, a one lady owner tractor. When I bought it, I was glad to see it was fitted with a Ferguson mid mounted mower FE¬79-77 with a 5′ cutter bar. In 1996 I bought a British made Ferguson side delivery
rake type D-EE-20 serial number 1762 and I mounted this onto this tractor’s three-point linkage.

In the summer of 1999, the Ferguson Club was invited to have a stand at the Bath & West Show at Shepton Mallet. Four Club members in the south¬west were to volunteer to take on the setting up of the stand, needless to say I was one of them. To make a change from just a line-up of tractors and implements I thought we could replicate a display my friend, the late Keith Base, put together in New Zealand when the FE35 were introduced in 1956. Luckily Keith had given me some photographs of their setup which we were able to replicate pretty closely. With the tractor and rake fenced off from the visitors, with its engine running on petrol, at a brisk tick-over the bars of the rake slowly rotating and the hydraulic lift arranged to cycle gently up and down, with one of rake’s rear castor wheels appearing to touch a hen’s egg set in an eggcup. It worked a treat with the engine note changing with the upward and downward movement. The Club was awarded a second prize in the Trade Stands section with The Health and Safety Executive being awarded first. Their stand was good but at the taxpayer’s expense unlike us volunteers!

Before moving on to the next tractor there are close by two Ferguson ploughs, a single furrow Reversible type T-AE-28 complete with coupling parts and a two-furrow general purpose plough with mouldboards set at 10″. Alongside is No.52 a Ferguson FE35 Vineyard model serial number VDF 74050, 1958.

Very few of these were built but it is safe to say that 12 are known to have survived in preservation. The last one on this side of the building is No.66, a Ferguson FE35 diesel Industrial model serial number SNJDM 20515 1957. I found this tractor in a very sorry state at a school playing field near High Wycombe. Since then, it has been fully restored by the late Ernie Luxton complete with the wide front and rear mudguards, twin braking system and electric horn. We have fitted this tractor with a Ferguson Fork Lift 737 serial number 103, these were made by Fewsters of Northumberland. As recommended in the Instruction Book front wheel weights are fitted and, as an additional precaution, the front weight frame has been retained with the addition of three ‘Jerry Can Weights’¬ – power steering would be a great help!

Down the right-hand side, we start with group of implements. A Ferguson Seed Drill Universal 13 row model with Suffolk Coulters type G-PE-A20. This was given to me many years ago by a local dairy farmer, the late Frank Beer. Next, we have a Ferguson Kale Cut Rake type G-HE-20. This concept was thought up by a farmer and is basically a buck rake with a reciprocating cutter bar fitted at the far end of the tines and PTO driven. The Instruction Book suggests reversing into the crop at full engine speed! Also in this location is a Ferguson Electric Hammer Mill type H-LE-21 serial number 109. There is also a Ferguson Steerage Hoe, rigid type IB-KE-20 without discs, a pair of wheel girdles type A-TE-89, a Ferguson multipurpose grader blade and a pair of Ford Ferguson rear steel wheels.

Photographs by Dr Mike Oakins
© Mike Thorne, first published in Ferguson Club Journal No.106 Autumn 2022/23

Why and How I Started The Coldridge Collection (Part 7) Mike Thorne

Next in the collection is a Ferguson TEF20 on loan from AGCO and described in a previous article, it is fitted with my Ferguson Potato Planter type P-PE-20 serial number 287050 in nice clean condition. It is complete with the Fertilizer attachment.

Number 71 in the collection is the Ford 8N made in March 1950.

Standing next to it is No.71, a Ford 8N serial number 27848051 made in March 1950, it is unrestored. These models are often referred to as ‘The Law Suit’ model because of Ford’s use of the Ferguson patents in its design. It has a four-speed gearbox and incorporates not only Draft Control but, by moving a small lever on the top of the hydraulic cover, Position Control becomes available. Ford did not flout Ferguson’s patents on the adjustable front axle on these 8N’s, if one chose to alter the track width the drag links would have to be adjusted individually to maintain the correct steering geometry.

The Ford 8N’s distinctive light grey and red colour scheme.

The next tractor down the line is No.84 a preproduction TEF20 serial number EXP 11 built about 1951. In 2001 when I bought it, I was told by the owner, a tractor service engineer, that it had been given by Harry Ferguson to University College, London for grass cutting duties at their playing fields at Chislehurst, Kent. This was recently validated by a visitor to the Collection whose father used to drive this very tractor with the red painted bonnet and mudguards. He went on to tell me, that as a child, he would sometimes sit on his father’s lap as he cut the grass. Sadly, the original engine is not fitted, but the dash panel is made of aluminium. Another Ferguson in this batch, EXP 16 exists in the Coventry area.

Number 67 in the collection is this 1947 TE20 fitted with an early Perkins P3 diesel engine.

Next is No.67, a 1947 Ferguson TE20 serial number 2634 but it has been fitted with an early Perkins P352 (TA) diesel with a CAV Coaxial starter motor. These engines developed 34hp compared to the 20.3hp produced by the Continental Z120 engine. It is also fitted with a Ferguson Epicyclic reduction gearbox type A-TE-118 serial number 196 as it is fitted as a ‘sandwich’ unit behind the main gearbox and extends the wheel base by 4”, it also provides Live PTO in low range, maybe this was fitted before the engine change. Also fitted to this tractor is a 25cfm rotary compressor made by Hydrovane type A-UE-20.

Fitted to the TE20 P3 is a Hydrovane rotary compressor type A-UE-20.

Published in Journal No. 107, Winter 2023.  Mike Thorne.
Photographs by Dr Mike Oakins

This is the last entry in the ‘Why and How I started the Coldridge Collection’ series.
Mike Thorne sadly passed away on Tuesday 19th September 2023. A Memorial service was held in Coldridge Parish Church on Wednesday 22nd November 2023.