A PUBLIC artwork saluting the contribution of Coventry’s Massey Ferguson factory has been unveiled.
More than 3.3 million Ferguson and Massey Ferguson tractors were built at the Tile Hill site between 1946 and 2003.
The 97-acre site is now a new housing estate which will eventually see more than 1,000 new properties built.
And the bronze and granite plaque, unveiled last week, sits in the Bannerbrook Park development as a symbol of its past.
It is more than two metres wide and depicts the first and last tractors to be manufactured at the Banner Lane plants, as well as a portrait of company co-founder Harry Ferguson.
The new work was commissioned by the farm equipment manufacturer and its parent company AGCO, now based in Stoneleigh.
“Our tractors are part of the fabric of Coventry’s automotive engineering heritage,” said Massey Ferguson managing director Richard Makwell.
“We are extremely proud of the legacy of the Banner Lane factory and the pioneering work of Harry Ferguson which initially took us to the site.
“The creation of this prestigious new piece is a tribute to all those who worked here over a 60-year period.
“They helped drive the spirit and camaraderie of one of the world’s most famous farm machinery brands and laid the foundations for its ever-growing success today.”
The work was six months in the making and was created by sculptor Jemma Pearson, who said it was a privilege to be involved.
A launch date of Sunday, July 6 was chosen to mark the date the first tractor – a Ferguson TE 20 – left the assembly line 68 years ago.
And further recognition will see a new bridle path branded Massey Ferguson Way and a new road named Ferguson Close.
Lord Mayor Hazel Noonan added: “The Banner Lane plant and its workforce left a lasting footprint on the City and we are delighted to accept this wonderful new artwork.
“It is an important new addition to the city’s cultural landscape and an enduring testament to the achievements of all those who worked here over the years.”
*The Banner Lane plant employed nearly 10,000 people at its peak.
It had the capacity to produce 100,000 fully built-up tractors per year.
The factory closed in 2003 after a review of AGCO’s worldwide operation with production instead going to Beauvais, France.
The firm finally left the Banner Lane site in 2006 and launched an office at Abbey Park Stoneleigh, eight miles away, where it employs 500 people.
Persimmon Homes have already built 750 homes on the Bannerbrook Park development with 250 more set for completion in October along with new sports pitches and a community centre.