There are many types of books in an MG collection. There are shop manuals, marque histories, racing stories, advertising records, and on and on. There are few however that standout is completely different. MG, Made In Abingdon: Echoes from the Shop Floor by Bob Frampton is one such book. This book is one of the few that while dealing with the MG factory, doesn’t actually have a ton of information about the cars. Instead, it is about the people and is told in their own words.
MG, Made In Abingdon will give you a feel for the people and the time and the place made famous by the sacred octagon. In the book, we hear from the true voices behind the cars. We hear stories that range from tea-girls bringing cinnamon buns to the line-workers to fist fights in bars to men going off to war. We also here, first hand, how the laborers viewed the factory and management. Of particular interestest in this aspect is the insight into the final days of the plant which occurred mere days after the anniversary celebration.
I was reading this book one evening as my wife was watching the BBC program Call the Midwife, and the resemblance between the two was remarkable. If you haven’t seen the show, you should – even if just for the cars. An MG Magnette sedan featured prominently, as do Morris, Rover, Austin and many others. This is a story of people and lives and relationships. Exactly the things that helped make MG followers so loyal.
In addition to the stories, the book is chocked full of period photographs. The images, many of which I have never seen anywhere before, cover everything from the early pre-war hand-assembled and the other marques built at the factory all the way up through the closing of the factory and beyond. There are even photos of some of the items MG produced during World War II such as tanks and wings for Tempest airplanes.
The author, Bob Frampton, left school at the age of 15 and pursued a short career in the army before returning to civilian life and completing a degree in History at Durham University. Completing a second degree in Law he taught in further education for the predominance of his working life. Upon retiring Bob became an active volunteer at Abingdon County Hall Museum, Oxfordshire, where his research has uncovered much of Abingdon’s unwritten history and has resulted in the unique collection of personal stories that appear in this book. He is well suited to author this book.
MG, Made In Abingdon: Echoes from the Shop Floor is a must-have for any MG enthusiast. It is not a large book, but it is full of anecdotes and history. I promise that it will win a favored spot in your library.