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The End of Banner Lane
Banner Lane 1937 -
These office complexes at the front of the site housed drawing offices and the experimental shops of the Standard Motor Company
Built as a "Shadow" factory, using War Department finance, immediately before World War II, Banner Lane was used by the Standard Motor Company to produce huge numbers of Aero Engines. Immediately after the war, Standard struck an agreement with Harry Ferguson to built the Ferguson Tractor here and more than 500, 000 were produced. This company later became Massey Ferguson and more recently "AGCO". Earlier his year "AGCO" announced it's intention to cease Tractor production at Banner Lane and transfer it to France and Brazil, and this will happen around the end of 2002.
So, 65 years of production and yet another piece of Britain's manufacturing heritage is closed, 1200 people are out of work and the future of the plant is uncertain. No one seems to need manufacturing plants anymore, so no doubt it will flattened to become another housing estate, supermarkets or roads going nowhere.
Lynda and I took what will be the last opportunity for the general public to visit the site and to see the last of production. The tour included their tractor museum. Such is the nostalgia for all things vintage tractor that there was a huge turn out of many thousands of people with memories of the place and the products. I have recorded the day here on the website for tomorrow it will be gone forever. All the smaller photos can be clicked on to bring up a larger version, press "back" to return to this page.
A view of the "production line". Here, flywheels, foreground, are being mated to engines, behind, or they would be, except it is Saturday
A display by Ferguson enthusiasts included this Standard 10 van with Ferguson System signwriting
A later Ferguson Model tractor in the enthusiasts display
Unfortunately, my camera didn't cope very well with internal shots of the factory floor, so I only have one worth reproducing, that is of Flywheel attachment to engines. There is no "production line" as such, as old hands told us there was in the fifties. This is presumably because then there was only one model, but today there seems to be a whole variety of tractors, so they seem to be produced in "batches" rather than on a "flow" system. Still, soon there would be no flow at all.
Another interesting point is that these tractors are so huge now that almost every component has to craned into place, as no one person could lift these huge castings. The rest of my photos are of the museum and a display of Ferguson Tractors and equipment put on by "Friends of Ferguson"
It is a shame that the AGCO management could not see fit to allow the Club to provide a display of Standard Cars to compliment the Ferguson display, or even allow our cars to park together. As a result several wouldbe participants refused to attend. If any member of Management would like to respond with a good reason why not, I will gladly print their response here.
The little "Grey Fergy" The very first production Standard built Ferguson Tractor, commission number TE1, in the AGCO museum, produced 1946, spot them all over the world still in service today
Somewhere under this Combine Harvester a littele Grey Fergy is struggling to get out! Can you spot it?
An example of a Ferguson System Trailer
I think that this is a Seed Drill, but someone will correct me, if not