A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE MIDDLEWICH DIARY AND SALT TOWN PRODUCTIONS!
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
ERF SERVICE 1971 - 2000
by Dave Roberts
the year 2000 ERF closed its 'Sun Works' in Sandbach and the
Middlewich Service Centre and moved operations to a new 'factory' in
ERF Way, off Pochin Way (the truncated 'Middlewich by-pass').
new building was in no way suitable as a truck factory and it wasn't
long before the company's new owners MAN Trucks announced that
production of ERF Trucks in Britain was to cease.
announcement of the first major batch of redundancies - in effect the
announcement of the imminent closure of the new Middlewich plant - came
on, of all days, September 11th 2001, when the attention of the world
of ERF Trucks - or, at least, trucks with the ERF badge on them -
struggled on for a few more years in Germany but eventually, on 23rd
July 2007, MAN announced that ERF was no more.
photograph was first published on Facebook on 20th May 2011, and the
original Facebook feedback is below:
used to live on a canal boat - in fact, on two canal boats - moored
very close to the ERF Service Centre's boundary and the Training
School near the Kings lock pub.) Not
totally related, but one ERF loss that I mourn is the training centre
near the canal. The trees along the canal from the Kings lock car
park to the winding hole* were planted by a genius. Each
tree had a different colour leaf and different colour blossom and
fruit, and the trees turned different colours in the Autumn. I
can't imagine that this was just good luck. I
frequently walked down there. The training centre itself became an
eyesore and a hang out for local undesirables who went onto the
moorings causing damage, so the centre was knocked down. But why most
of the trees had to go is beyond me. *a
winding hole is a wide section of canal used for turning boats
the training centre was in one corner of the site, close to a gate
which opened onto the Kings Lock car park. Unfortunately this gate
was always locked, thus making a long hike necessary if one wanted a
lunch-time pint. I
got myself crossed off the training centre's Christmas card list by
driving a heavy fork-lift truck into the middle of their nice
posh lawn and getting it stuck there. We had to get a tractor to
retrieve it. I wasn't ERF's best fork-lift driver. Then again, nor
was I the worst, by a long chalk. Ian
fence in that corner was cut and re-attached with bits of wire so
workers could crawl through. Latterly, it grew a sign which
'Next time you come to work this way will be the last
time you come to work!'* The
ground adjacent to the winding hole was once a dry-dock with a
cottage beside it. I rented this area for years as a garden. We dug
up loads of interesting things as it was the custom to bury rubbish
in those days. Later,
it transpired that the ground actually belonged to ERF rather than
British Waterways, and it was sold. The
fence was moved towards the canal, and it became a used car lot. *
A typical ERF management touch - Ed.
training school, and the original office block are long gone, but the
rest of the ERF Middlewich buildings are still there, re-clad in
light grey and looking bland and anonymous.
They appear to be
serving the motor industry still
anyone know who uses them now?
published 13th July 2011
re-formatted and re-published 13th September 2017.