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Group enjoys tour of famous factory

Posted on December 23 2015 at 2:16:03

Probus group

Nearly thirty members of the local Kingfisher Probus club recently enjoyed a guided tour of the JCB factory near Uttoxeter.

The tour took place the day before the company celebrated its 70th anniversary and it was clear that there was a lot of pride in their product, writes Malcolm Shine.

Afterwards our guides gave us a personal tour of the ‘’Story of JCB’’ exhibition.  Towards the end of World War II Joseph Cyril Bamford returned from Africa full of ideas for hydraulics from his time in the RAF.

Fired from the family firm by his uncles, in 1945 he began making tipping trailers for farmers to hitch to the new generation of petrol-driven tractors.

Four years later he introduced the Major Loader, which was designed to bolt onto a Fordson ‘Major’ tractor. The following year the company relocated to a disused cheese factory in Rocester, where the company is still based; currently employing nearly 3,000 people on the site.

In 1952, Bamford developed the JCB Mk 1 Excavator, essentially a Fordson tractor with hydraulic excavator at the rear & Major Loader at the front. It was painted in the famous JCB yellow to make it stand out from other machinery.

We were able to view the various machines including military equipment for the US army and the fastest diesel vehicle which took the world land speed record for a diesel-powered car In 2006.

The tour then moved on to the assembly line where we saw how the machines are built. Unfortunately there was no opportunity to drive one! Each machine is made to order, and customers can have their machines finished in any colour they like, provided they’re prepared to pay the extra cost! 

Kingfisher Probus Club of Redditch is a socially oriented activities club for retired or semi-retired professional and business people. With members from local villages including Alvechurch, Barnt Green, Blackwell and Burcot as well as Bromsgrove and Redditch, it arranges trips to a wide variety of places of interest. 

It meets at 11.30 on the second Thursday of each month, at the Foxlydiate Arms, Webheath, for lunch and to hear talks from visiting speakers. For more info visit http://www.kingfisherprobusredditch.co.uk

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