THE LINK between the David Brown tractor and the Yorks village of Meltham has been restored with the opening of a museum dedicated to the all-British machine.

It has been created by the David Brown Tractor Club which has 1200 members all over the world. The club has long nursed an ambition to have a base in Meltham where David Brown tractors were made for almost half a century.

The museum will be in a former textile mill only a stone”s throw from the site of the old tractor factory, where the last machine came off the assembly line 17 years ago.

“Meltham is the natural home of the tractor and therefore the museum,” says Club secretary Peter Murray. “David Brown tractors are regarded with a lot of affection. Many people who still live in the area helped to make them.”

The museum, which opened last month, has the last machine made in 1988 on permanent show, as well as engines, records, photographs and memorabilia.

It traces the tractor”s origins back to 1936, when David Brown formed a partnership with another engineer, Harry Ferguson. The machine they created, the Ferguson Brown, revolutionised the British agricultural equipment industry. It was the first in the world to have hydraulic lift and three-point linkage.

The partnership split up and David Brown forged out on his own with a tractor he had built in secret. When arguments broke out about the livery, Brown threw his red hunting jacket on the tractor and said: “Paint it that colour.”

The early red David Brown models are now collectors” items and still working on farms all over the world. Later the colour was changed to white with chocolate and white with red.