Banner Lane – Massey Fergusson

Banner Lane was the site of a wartime shadow factory in Coventry run by the Standard Motor Company and dedicated to making Bristol Hercules aero engines. The war-surplus plant was taken over by Standard in 1946 to make Ferguson tractors and it was made Standard’s registered office. After the 1959 sale of Standard’s part ownership of the tractor partnership to Massey Ferguson it became Massey Ferguson’s base for tractor-building operations until production ceased in 2002 and the site was redeveloped for housing.
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Banner Lane and Massey Ferguson

During WW2 The Standard Motor Company had operated on behalf of the Government a new “shadow” factory making aero engines. This 1,000,000 sq ft (92.903 sq m) plant in Banner Lane, Coventry, stood idle once the war had ended and Standard’s managing director Sir John Black was anxious to find a use for it. Such a large empty factory was also of interest to Harry Ferguson and a deal was struck between the two. As usual Ferguson was to be in charge of design, development, sales and service while Standard Motor Company made the tractors for him.

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Edward Ken Wadsworth

My father (Edward Ken Wadsworth) came from Manchester and started working at The Standard Motor Co as a qualified electrician and progressed to the position of Plant Director responsible for all maintenance and tool room departments that included Canley, Fletchhamstead North and South, Radford and Western Avenue.

I ( Peter Wadsworth) first went to visit the Canley factory just after the war in about 1946 at the age of 6 years. It was almost inevitable that 10 years later I would start my Standard Motor apprenticeship training to be a Factory Layout Engineer. The school was located at the Massey Ferguson plant on Banner Lane where I eventually came back to finish my working life. My early recollections are having a ride on the fire engine and going into the boiler house and seeing a row of 13 huge boilers, originally coke fired and later converted to oil fired.

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