Posts Tagged ‘Tractor’

My little grey Fergie

June 24, 2015

The Fergusson tractor was the work horse on British farms in the 1950s and early 60s. Many still survive and they are very definitely collected. I have two friends who own what affectionately get called little grey Fergies. One uses his for hauling a trailer into unlikely places. It has been in use on the village streets this week. The other is more of a collector and I believe he has three different versions which he is in the process of restoring.

I don’t have one and whilst I love the old girls, I really wouldn’t want one. I just wouldn’t find the time to care for it – even if I had the expertise to do it. I just have a little model that was stuck on the front of a tractor magazine I gave my son a few years ago.


She may look tolerably the part but this little tractor is little more than 5cm long. It brings a smile to me, though, because this really was the ubiquitous farm power of my childhood years.

A tractor parade at Whitchurch

April 17, 2015

There are plenty of places called Whitchurch. At a guess it means the church was made of a stone which looked white. The one I refer to is in Hampshire between Basingstoke and Andover. The date was March 27th 2011. We had a family get together there.

As usual, we were early arrivals and enjoyed seeing tractors on their way to or from a rally.


I think the front one dates from the 1960s and is clearly a Massey Ferguson.

The one following it was an earlier Massey Ferguson but may well have been of 1960s origin too.


By modern standards tractors were tiny back then and offered no protection for a driver, either from the weather or in the event of a roll over.

This one, another M-F tractor, has a roll bar fitted.


And here we have a tractor with some weather protection.


This is a David Brown tractor and it was registered in 1969. The cab looks very basic but no doubt a roll bar is incorporated.

Here’s a much newer M-F tractor with a Ford in the background. It was tractors of this shape that my son collected on his toy farm in the 1980s.


That’s three Massey Fergusons of different eras.


This one was bringing up the rear as far as we were concerned for we had family to meet.


I don’t suppose motorists were too happy getting behind that lot but it provided a delightful interlude for me.


November 28, 2013


OK, I know that correctly the piece of agricultural kit that both cut corn and tied it up into bundles was called a reaper-binder. In my experience, though, the fact that they reaped or cut the crop was taken as read. They were always called binders.

I associate them, very much, with ‘camp’.

Back in the early and mid-50s the sight of a binder working the fields with men following and stoking up the sheaves was commonplace. To me, as a child, it was timeless. As a child you imagine that things are as they always have been so to me a tractor hauling a binder with a crew of two must always have been what happened. I did know that historically, horses had provided the motive power but that was before my time and I probably guessed that it might have been alongside the Stone Age, rather than having been the norm for my dad.

However, the future was with us, and I remember my brother and me dashing up to the top of the downs to see a new-fangled combine harvester at work. My dad, sensible as ever, recorded the binder scene and here we have one of his charming photos.


So, a classic scene from 1955. Driving the tractor was a young man called Julian Freeman.


The farm we camped on was managed by his uncle Dick and he normally managed the controls of the binder, but on this occasion, I don’t think it is him.


In fact I really don’t know who that is. Julian’s father, George would have been helping at the harvest and his other uncle, Harry would have been around as well. But this isn’t either of them.

As the fifties drew to a close, the binders began to get swept into oblivion. My dad, realising this had another go at recording the scene at ‘camp’ using a colour slide film.


This was actually in 1964. Julian is still on the tractor but this time it definitely is Dick Freeman on the binder.

But the binder never quite died. In Wiltshire, where I have lived all my adult life, a few farmers grow long straw wheat and cut it with a binder. This keeps the straw in good order, and after the grain has been threshed out, the straw can be sold for thatching

So here we have a 21st century binder resting after harvesting a local field.


Haymaking on South Uist

January 16, 2013

South Uist is one of the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. It is a remote and beautiful place. It’s in the region of a five hour ferry journey from Oban although you can reach North Uist from Uig on Skye in a little less than two hours on the ferry. North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist are linked by causeways so, with a car you can drive freely on these islands.

Being remote in place tends to make places remote in time as well and here we have a case of this – some haymaking to the south of Dalabrog. The tractor in use was one to excite little grey Fergie lovers everywhere.


These tractors were the power source for British farmers in the 1950s. Many are preserved and run by enthusiasts but on South Uist they still do the jobs they were built for.


But turning hay to help it dry – well that was a job for a man with a hay fork.

The year was 2010 but on South Uist the clock was turned back fifty or more years.