Gateway fire engine was not ‘Made in Leyland’

An artist's impression of the new gateway feature - with a tongue-in-cheek interpretation of how the sign should probably look
An artist's impression of the new gateway feature - with a tongue-in-cheek interpretation of how the sign should probably look

The town’s next ‘Made in Leyland’ gateway feature was not totally made in Leyland, it has emerged.

The 1938 TL Fire Engine, set to be unveiled in a huge glass case outside the Leyland Hotel on Thursday this week, was in fact assembled in Chorley.

Vintage vehicle enthusiast Roger Bullough called the Guardian to say: “All Leyland Motors fire engines were made in the Chorley Works factory near Pilling Lane. To say it was ‘Made in Leyland’ is not strictly true.”

South Ribble Council is using the heritage vehicle as part of the town’s ‘Made in Leyland’ series, following on from the Centurion Tank which is placed on the roundabout of Flensburg Way and Penwortham Way.

Mr Bullough, 71, of Brindle, said: “All the council can really say is ‘Made by Leyland Motors’. I think it’s being too possessive when it says ‘Made in Leyland’.

“Chorley should get some recognition as being the leading arm for Leyland. Chorley did a lot of work for Leyland Motors.

“The two boroughs are very closely linked, so the councils should look at getting together and celebrating that heritage.”

The fire engine, which was used during the Second World War, was in a collector’s garage for around 30 years until a South Ribble Council employee found it on the internet.

Leyland businessman Martin Ainscough bought it and donated it to the council, for use as the town’s next ‘Welcome to Leyland’ gateway feature.

A planning application put forward by the council’s regeneration team indicated that the fire engine, which they have nicknamed ‘Norma’ after the original owner’s wife, would be placed in a giant glass case near the M6 motorway junction.

It will include a ‘Made in Leyland’ sign and information board for visitors. Now, the council has revealed where all of the fire engine’s parts were made – some as far away as Germany – before it was assembled in Chorley.

Council cabinet member for regeneration, leisure and healthy communities, Coun Phil Smith, said: “Norma was designed in Leyland, by Leyland Motors, and proudly carries the name of the town on her grill.

“The chassis and engine were built in Leyland, the bodywork was put on in Chorley, the ladder was built in Germany and the wheels made in Birmingham.

“It shows why the name ‘Leyland’ is known all around the world for its industrial heritage, and we are hugely proud of that.

“Our first gateway feature, the Centurion Tank, is still proving extremely popular, and I’m sure the fire engine will too.

“We’re already knocking ideas around for our next ‘Made in Leyland’ feature for another prominent route into town.”