Ransomes's workers roll back the years

DOZENS of former employees of an Ipswich company which had a worldwide reputation, have gathered to reminisce about its proud history. Ransomes Sims and Jeffries workers from years gone by reunited last night at Ipswich Transport Museum in Cobham Road.

By Tracey Sparling

DOZENS of former employees of an Ipswich company which had a worldwide reputation, have gathered to reminisce about its proud history.

Ransomes Sims and Jeffries workers from years gone by reunited last night at Ipswich Transport Museum in Cobham Road.

Brian Bell, author of a book on the company's history, and honorary secretary of Suffolk Farm Machinery Club, presented an 1846 Ay plough, which had been rescued from a Suffolk field and renovated, to the museum.

Brian Dyes, chairman of the museum said the plough was made in the same year that the railway came to Ipswich he said: "Ransomes was always known for its ploughs, so to have this one is very special."

Tim Reeves, 64, who worked at the company from 1955 to 1981 recalled the days when he used hammers and brodgers (tools to make holes) to make the ploughs. He said: "It was hard work, heavy lifting until we moved to Nacton and got a production line going. Life got easier then."

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Mr Reeves, of Hill House Lane, Needham Market said that Ransomes regularly exported ploughs to 140 of the world's countries, including South Africa and Mexico.

He said: "You could walk into any farm machinery company in any overseas country and say you worked for Ransomes of Ipswich and they would know straight away – the company had such a wonderful name."

Jack Wright, 79 of Clopton Gardens, Hadleigh, started worked aged 14 straight from school in the pre-war year of 1937. He stayed for 47 years and said at its peak the company employed 3,000 people. He said: "A lot of families worked there as people tended to follow in their relatives footsteps."

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