Massey Ferguson has unveiled a new public artwork which salutes the contribution of Coventry’s Banner Lane tractor manufacturing plant and workforce to the City’s industrial heritage and the development of farm mechanisation throughout the world.
The new work is the gift of Massey Ferguson and its parent company AGCO. Crafted in bronze and granite, it celebrates the production of over 3.3 million Ferguson and Massey Ferguson tractors at the Banner Lane site in Tile Hill from 1946-2003.
Richard Markwell, Vice-President and Managing Director, Massey Ferguson, Europe, Africa, Middle East (EAME) presented the artwork to the Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of the City Coventry, Cllr Hazel Noonan. Also present were Andy Peters Managing Director Persimmon Homes, South Midlands, redevelopers of the site, and Ted Everett, Massey Ferguson’s longest serving employee. They were joined by current and past AGGO and Massey Ferguson staff together with the Friends of Ferguson Heritage Club.
“Our tractors are part of the fabric of Coventry’s automotive engineering heritage. 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,” explained Richard Markwell. “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.”
Thanking him, The Lord Mayor, herself from a farming background, said: “The Banner Lane plant and its workforce left a lasting footprint on the City and we are delighted to accept this wonderful new artwork. Massey Ferguson tractors generated millions of pounds in exports and helped define Coventry’s global reputation as a centre of industrial excellence. Indeed, my father owned a ‘Little Grey Fergie’ tractor and had many years of faithful service from it. The artwork 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.”
Created by sculptor, Jemma Pearson, the artwork consists of a bronze plaque set on a granite base. Sculpted in bas-relief, the plaque depicts the first and last tractors to be manufactured at the Banner Lane plant and also incorporates a portrait of Harry Ferguson, co-founder of the Massey Ferguson brand and widely recognised as the pioneer of modern tractor design.