on 21 August 2008
This book is, for all intents, a picture book of the history of Herbert Austin's Longbridge factory from the early days of the last century until its final closure as MG Rover in 2005.
Both authors have close links to the subject area, Gillian Bardsley having completed a biography on Alec Issigonis and Colin Corke who is the Chaplin of the Longbridge factory. There are hundreds of images from both war years and post war of the factory, its products and people giving an insight into the conditions and changing times the site has faced.
Full credit for the research carried out as many of these books do turn up some fascinating images of times past.
The last chapter is particularly poignant as the images were taken shortly after the closure of the plant with rows of both Rover 25 and 45 cars waiting to be completed on a desolate construction track.
Overall almost a coffee table book pictorial history of Longbridge with a few paragraphs of general history starting each chapter, which is slightly disappointing as there are no other sources included or any detailed map of the factory areas piecing together the images. For the casual reader to dip in and out of this is a good book, for those wanting a bit more flesh around the bones it is a little of a let down.
on 1 March 2007
I looked forward to reading this, having enjoyed Gillian Bardsley's excellent Biography of Sir Alec Issigonis. I can recommend it as a fascinating 'illustrated' guide to 'making cars at Longbridge' but as a result, it's a little short on words! Admittedly, the 1970's troubles are well documented elsewhere, as is the BMW ownership debacle, but there seems to be a continuing eerie silence on the genuine detail of it (BMW's ownership) all. I was hoping for some insight into the relationship between the two companies, perhaps something on why John Towers resigned so suddenly shortly after the takeover (He seemed far from happy in the BBC2 documentary "When Rover Met BMW") and I was hoping for a bit of closure over this, and the medium size car that was planned to prototype stage - ready for launch in 2005 - but now languishes in a cellar in Bavaria, as BMW took every detail of it away with them! (For me, another example of them willing Rover to disaster) This part of it all is dismissed in a short paragraph! Why?
So as an insight into the glory years of the company, this book is an affectionate tribute, but as a bona-fida bit of 'closure' it will still leave you clueless and having to rely on the hearsay and rumours that persist.
on 20 August 2014
This is essentially a "picture book". I found the choice of photographs, particularly for the earlier years very good,but the coverage of the last 5 or so years years up to the demise of the MG Rover group (in its final incarnation) to be a little disappointing. However, there are some wonderful photographs, particularly the Austin 7 climbing the test hill near the factory and a stern looking Herbert Austin making a telephone call in 1932. I enjoyed the section on the use of the factories to produce armaments in W.W.2. I feel many of us who remember family trips in the 50's and early 60's in the Austin Devon and latterly the Austin Cambridge will enjoy the photographs of those periods - but the story told is tinged with sadness.I wonder did the fashionable political interference in manufacturing during the 1950's and 1960's ultimately hasten the end?
on 7 March 2014
I use books like this for teaching, I teach automotive engineering and the these publications are extremely well written with fantastic pictures and diagrams seem to let my learners ( in some cases of limited abilities) understand how things work, they translate this in to real life when at work and the results of the feedback from their employers is encouraging