Driving In My Car

Posted on 15th April 2007

Yesterday was "The Pride of Longbridge Rally". It started with a large gathering of cars at Hopwood Services, junction 2 of the M42, followed by a long drive around the old MG Rover / Austin Rover works before turning into Cofton Park. It must have been slightly disheartening to see the disappearance of such a large part of the works. I tried to find some old pictures of what the place used to be like, but it's been a bit difficult. None of them really capture enough of the site as it was, so you can see how much has gone.

Then I discovered this photo of the plant from 1978, and this one from roughly the same time. The first photo faces west, whereas the second photo faces east. The large building at the top of the first photo, is the same large building in the lower part of the second photo. The white (it was really grey) bridge (The Conveyor Bridge) over the road in the centre of the first picture was where the car frames would be transported to the assembly line. Thankfully as Google Maps are based on data from around 2000, this satellite photo was taken just before the demolition started and you can see the areas of the site quite well. However, this image helps to identify the areas that have actually gone.

Take a good look at those photos. The bridge has gone, everything from the large building to the west of the Bristol Road has been flattened [West Works], the corner piece between Bristol Road and north of Longbridge Lane has long been flattened (in the Google Map photo it was used a temporary car park), and looking at the first photo, everything north of the white building at the bottom of the photo, north all the way to Longbridge Lane has also gone [North Works]. Also the area to the south of Groveley Lane and to the east of Lowhill Lane [East Works] has gone.

DanDan and I took a wander around the works and recorded how it looks now. I just wish I'd thought to have taken a tour around the site before demolition had begun. As we live less than a mile away from the site, we have been included in the plans for the area's future. There is a site Future 4 Longbridge that has been detailing the plans and recording all the responses from residents. The now proposed plan looks to be quite an interesting prospect. Whatever happens it's going to be a major change to the area.

Taking a step back, as mentioned at the start, it was also "The Pride of Longbridge Rally". DanDan and I had a walk round some of the early arrivals at Cofton Park, as the classic cars and more recent ones all lined up to show off their part in the Longbridge Legacy. I personally love the old classics and have always held a liking for Minis, but the more recent Allegros, Metros and numbered cars have never held a candle in my opinion, so we didn't stick around to watch them line up. Apparently there was entertainment lined up from a live band, but judging from the soundcheck, we didn't miss much. I'm sure everyone there had a good day, and it is great for the area of Longbridge to remember the part it has played in the history of the Motor Industry.

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