Final Blow to Factory

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Extract from February's MGCC publication - Safety Fast

Final Blow To Factory

In the news section of the January issue of Safety Fast!, we brought you a picture of the demolition of the last section of the old M.G. factory "A-block". As promised, here are further final views of the factory's demise. The clearing up is now almost complete, but the demolition work has raised the emotion of many people.

Many of the local feelings are summed up the letter from Nigel Dawe which was sent to the Abingdon Herald. Ex M.G. employee and local historian, Brian Moylan, also made his feelings known in the Oxfordshire press. Brian's well-Known book 'Behind The Octagon' is about the history of the factory. "It is rare to find an Abingdonian who didn't work in the factory themselves or had a relative that did. Whole families would work there". In its heyday, as many as 1,400 people were employed there and many people regret that the site will no longer reflect the history of the town's motoring industry.
We met up with Jimmy Simpson (now 82) who started working at the factory in 1930 when he left school, and left shortly before its closure in 1981. "That was a serious mistake, and one of the most stupid things they ever did". Jimmy was visibly moved as he witnessed the progress of the demolition. "It makes me sick to see the place where I spent so much of my life reduced to this".
The factory opened for car production in 1929, but during the war became extremely busy as part of the war effort. Thames Valley Police bought the site in early 1997 and see it as the best option for a new station, which will become the new headquarters for the Southern Oxfordshire police area.

One week to go

One hour before the final wall comes down


Above are two recent panoramic views of the factory. The one on the left is with a week to go, and the one on the right is the scene just one hour before the final wall came down.
Below we bring you an archive shot of the A Block arch with the telephone exchange to the right, and the scene with just days left to go.

Heritage Destroyed
As a resident of Abingdon for many years, I cannot believe that the last remnants of the old M.G. car factory have been allowed to be demolished. On many occasions I have seen M.G. sports cars with number plates from all over the world, running around Abingdon. Their enthusiastic owners shipping them many thousands of miles to bring them to the place where they were born. Now there is nothing at all left of the former factory.
Why did they not keep the original wall running alongside Marcham Road and incorporate it in the new buildings that will be built there, as they have done at Cowley with the old John Allen works?
Why not save at least a small part of our history and heritage, something that Abingdon was proud of for many, many years? Is nowhere safe from the glass and tin eyesores favoured by the planning authorities (Vale of The White Horse)??

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