Willie Carson reports on this year’s successful Cultra working day, which took place at the Ulster Folk Museum.
The last Saturday in June – which this year fell on the 24th – is always a special day for Ferguson enthusiasts in Northern Ireland. It’s become the traditional date for a working day within the grounds of the Ulster Folk Museum at Cultra, just outside Belfast. The event began on the village green – set in the Edwardian era – where tractors and implements gathered and parked throughout the morning.
Previous events have been open to all Ferguson tractors from the Ferguson Type A of 1936, through the years of the Ford Ferguson and up to the end of the TE-20 range in 1956. This year it was decided to include the FE 35 ‘grey and gold’ model to mark the 70th year of the merger between Harry Ferguson Ltd and Massey-Harris Ltd, to form Massey-Harris-Ferguson Ltd.
As it is with such events on this side of the water, very little happens until after everybody has caught up on all the latest craic but, eventually, to the accompaniment of the Harry Ferguson Memorial Pipe Band, the museum’s farm manager – Robert Berry – led the long grey line out through the lanes to the fields. The work began with a bit of muck spreading; Anthony Bradford loading the spreader from the seat of Colin Taylor’s Ford Ferguson. Imagine travelling all the way from Surrey just to fill a muck spreader!
Then, as soon as the first load had been spread, the ploughmen set off down the hedge toward the low end of the field to begin turning over a few furrows. The field wasn’t much more than a couple of acres, so the headrigs were turned in before lunchtime, after which various cultivators knocked the furrows down and it was time to return to the village for a bit more craic.
Notable among the many carefully-restored Fergusons present was a 1952 TE-D 20 displayed by Albert Reid, complete with a potato planter and fertiliser attachment. This tractor, originally registered in Staffordshire, was donated to the Seaforde Working Vintage Club, and is to be raffled in a competition with the proceeds going to the Diabetic Centre at the Ulster Hospital. Tickets are available until mid-December 2023, costing £10 each and can be purchased from David (tel: 07801 980324) or Michael (tel: 07540 539420).
With over 60 tractors on show, bright sunshine throughout the day and many visitors making the journey across the Irish Sea, it was another memorable day at Cultra, ending with a road run through the back lanes of the 170-acre museum, a setting that is so much in keeping with the era of the little grey Fergie.
This feature comes from the latest issue of Classic Massey & Ferguson Enthusiast, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE
Collectable Highwayman and Constructor models from Corgi