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MG Cars in Abingdon

Updated on November 10, 2014

Tourist Guide to Traces of MG Cars in Abingdon

MG Cars closed down in Abingdon in 1980 nearly 30 years ago. This lens records remaining traces of their 50 year stay in Abingdon. In 1980 much of Abingdon's male population would have been employed either by Morlands the Brewery or MG Cars now both are gone.

There are several excellent websites on the famous MG Sports Car but this lens is more about the factory, it's effect on Abingdon when it closed down, and what remains of it's former presence. This lens should be a useful guide for MG enthusiasts on pilgrimage to the home of the MG

MG Cars, Morlands Brewery and Morris Dancers that was Abingdon

MG Cars "Old Speckled Hen" Leaving morland's Brewery Ock St Abingdon
MG Cars "Old Speckled Hen" Leaving morland's Brewery Ock St Abingdon

MG History in Abingdon

MG Cars is a British sports car brand and former manufacturer, which was founded in 1924.

MG Cars is best known for its two-seat open sports cars, but MG also produced saloons and coupés. More recently, the MG marque has also been used on sportier versions of other models belonging to the parent company.

The MG marque was in continuous use (barring the years of the Second World War) for 56 years after its inception. Production of predominantly two-seater sports cars was concentrated at a factory in Abingdon, some 10 miles (16 km) south of Oxford. The British Motor Corporation (BMC) competition department was also based at the Abingdon plant and produced many winning rally and race cars. In the autumn of 1980, however, the Abingdon factory closed and MGB production ceased. Quote from Wikipedia

New MG Museum at Abingdon : Hoisting in an mg Car
New MG Museum at Abingdon : Hoisting in an mg Car

New MG Museum at Abingdon

The new MG Section of the Abingdon Museum in the former County Hall opens soon. An MG Car was hoisted by crane into the upper floors. The crane however was not sufficiently powerful and Abingdon was blocked for 4 hours.

Photo: Abingdon Blog

MG Works Exhibition Poster

Former Factory Sign with Pavlova Leather

MG Cars was built on land belonging to Pavlova Leather. Pavlova were famous for their leather gloves which were worn by Royalty.

Both have now gone. Before them there was a Parchment Factory.

Former B Block Still Used

MG Admin Block (Before Modernisation)

Former Admin Block from Front With Bay Window - This is Kimbers Bay Window

MG Cars Administration Block Refurbished

What it looks like today

The Bay Windows have fortunately been retained.

MG Car Club Display in Abingdon Market Place

Kimber House: The MG Car Club - Visiting Kimber House, Cemetery Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1AS

This is just out the former factory gates, but I believe was owned by the Pavlova Leather Company.

KIMBER HOUSE Abingdon is the office of the MG Car Club and is right next to the gate to the former MG Car Company factory. There is an exhibition of various MG and MGCC memorabilia, a library of MG and BMC Comps Dept books, an archive of more than 15,000 photos plus production records for most MGs produced up to 1950. There is a range of items including club badges, clothing, books, dvds and more available for sale in our shop area. Browse before you visit by clicking here.

They are open from 09:00 to 17:30 Monday to Thursday and 09:00 to 16:00 Friday and at weekends and evenings by appointment. There may be some days where we are all involved in events out of the office - in particular, the week before our MGLive! event is very busy! So, please do phone ahead if you are planning a visit.

Kimber Rd - A modest road dedicated to Mr M.G.

Cecil Kimber was general manager of MG in Abingdon in the early years, eventually fell out with William Morris, left the company and then died in 1945 in a freak railway accident.

Kimber had negotiated contract work on aircraft but this was done without first obtaining approval and he was asked to resign and left in 1941. He had also had separated from his wife in 1931 who died shortly afterwards, he married his girlfriend 2 months after this and this was disapproved by the religious William Morris (later Lord Nuffield). Cecil Kimber quickly found other work but his heart was broken by this; but this is how we British treat people who get too successful.

(Google for the article by The Independent)

He is remembered today by a rather modest industrial estate road.

Boundary House Pub, Former Home of Cecil Kimber

You can just make out the round plaque

Cecil Kimber Plaque on his former home now the Boundary House Pub

New MG Tribute Pub Sign for Boundary House Pub Abingdon

New MG Tribute Pub Sign for Boundary House Pub Abingdon
New MG Tribute Pub Sign for Boundary House Pub Abingdon

Magic Midget Pub (now called The Midget)

This is the pub associated with MG as it is on the estate where many of the former MG workers lived it opened in 1974 a few years after the closing of MG. There are many MG Plaques and Display cases on the walls: A Must Visit for MG Fans coming to Abingdon.

Midget Close, Preston Road, Abingdon, Berkshire OX14 5NR, tel 01235 535593. The pub is not easy to find so look it up on Google Maps beforehand.

In 2010 the Midget won 'Pub Of The Year' for Greene King

Magic Midget Pub has a Wall Devoted to MG Exhibits

Blacklands Rd MG Plaque

MG Car Club, Spring Rd Plaque

Brian Moylan Who Organised the MG Room at Abingdon Museum - Brian Moylan formerly of MG Cars now an Author

MG Exhibition Poster Showing Factory Interior

 

MG Exhibition Abingdon Museum 2009

Origin of the "Old Speckled Hen" : Morland had an old MG that they used to run around the factory grounds. When not in use, it was parked outside the paint shop, where it was constantly splattered by paint. The car became affectionately know as the "Old Speckled Hen”.

This is now commemorated by the still existing "Old Speckled Hen" Beer

Magnette Close, The Vineyard, Abingdon
Magnette Close, The Vineyard, Abingdon

MG Magnette

Magnette Close The Vineyard Abingdon

Abingdon is making a belated attempt to remember it's MG Heritage by naming a new development off the the Vineyard "Magnette Close". The Vineyard is one of the areas of Abingdon totally redeveloped in recent years.

Abingdon MG Cars Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Barley Mow at Clifton Hampden of 3 men in a boat fame was used in many an MG photoshootThe Dog House Pub , Frilford, on the MG Factory Test Route
The Barley Mow at Clifton Hampden of 3 men in a boat fame was used in many an MG photoshoot
The Barley Mow at Clifton Hampden of 3 men in a boat fame was used in many an MG photoshoot
The Dog House Pub , Frilford, on the MG Factory Test Route
The Dog House Pub , Frilford, on the MG Factory Test Route

MG Tribute Park Planned in Abingdon

Corner of Drayton Rd and Marcham Rd

Abingdon Town Council propose to transform the rather scruffy open area which is not far from the former MG factory. A statue of an MG Car is proposed. It should prove a focus for the many MG tourists who currently visit Abingdon from all around the world. In the photo from the Abingdon Herald can be seen Council leader Lesley Legge with MG Car Club members Julian White, Andy Knott and Chris Seaward. This is news in March 2010 will report progress here.

Grave of William Morris (Lord Nuffield) Founder of MG with Cecil Kimber at Nuffield

Nuffield is a small village about 10 mile from Abingdon on the road to Henley. The small church there is just off the Ridgeway there is a fresh water tap much appreciated by hikers. Lord Nuffield's delightful former house Nuffield Place is not far way and has been left untouched. In the summer there are occasional Open days with cream teas and tours of the house available (I don't know the prices). Recently I heard there was some threat that the house would have to be sold.

Abingdon's Futuristic Police Station on the Site of the Former MG Cars Factory

Nuffield Press Abingdon in Administration another link to Morris & MG Cars Lost

Nuffield Press Abingdon in Administration
Nuffield Press Abingdon in Administration

Morris Oxford Press was established in 1925 in Cowley to print literature for the Morris Motors. In 1942 renamed the Nuffield Press.

The Magic Midget Preston Rd Abingdon Opening Day postcard

New MG Mosaic Corner, Ocorner of OCK Street and Drayton Road Abingdon

New MG Mosaic Corner, Ocorner of OCK Street and Drayton Road Abingdon
New MG Mosaic Corner, Ocorner of OCK Street and Drayton Road Abingdon

Restored MG Cars & Pavlova Factory Signs

Restored MG Cars & Pavlova Factory Signs
Restored MG Cars & Pavlova Factory Signs

MG Cars Cycle Sign : Rare Surviving Relic

MG Cars Cycle Sign : Rare Surviving Relic
MG Cars Cycle Sign : Rare Surviving Relic

The last MGB Roadster off the production line

The last MGB Roadster off the production line in Abingdon in 1980 returns to Abingdon Museum on 1 December 2011. When the first crane proved inadequate, the time it took to get a second crane caused traffic chaos in the centre of Abingdon

Your MG Cars Feedback

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My dad was a test driver for MG during the 1960s and 70s. For a time I worked next door at Pavlova Leather - aka 'The Pav'. Hedonism everywhere during the early 70s and there I was in the dye shop. Happy days.

    • PickupTrucksFan1 profile image

      PickupTrucksFan1 5 years ago

      Bought a 1963 MGB in 1970 while still in high school. Cool car but required constant tinkering to keep it going.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      This brings back memories, we used to drive through Abingdon years ago on our way from Bournemouth to Rugby to see the family 3 or 4 times a year. Of course now it's all bypass and motorways. So sad to see so many British industries disappear. My cousin's husband used to be an engine designer with Jaguar, my Uncle and another cousin's husband used to work for Rolls Royce aero engines. It's a miracle we have any industry left. Excellent lens, recording our rapidly disappearing heritage, blessed.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 8 years ago

      MG's were the favorite cars of the Belgian teenagers who just got their driving license at the time I was young - including me! And I still love those cards and really enjoy looking at them whenever a car parade passes by my village. This is a real pleasure to see that so many people still care about those cars that were of quality.

      Dom.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Wonderful lens! Love the history you have shared here and love those MG cars!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      I love MG cars. They are so cute! I always think of my very big brother-in-law driving his Midget and laugh. Nicely done.