England

What is still 'Made in the Midlands'?

  • 27 February 2014
  • From the section England

The West Midlands used to be the "Workshop of the World" but what is still being made in the region?

The Mini, MG Rover, the ceramic, brewing and carpet industries - all were well known and associated with the West Midlands.

But as manufacturing declined, tens of thousands of jobs were lost over the years. Unemployment in the West Midlands remains high with 226,000 people out of work, more than 1% above the UK average at 8.3%.

As the economy starts to turn around and experts predict much of the growth will be manufacturing-led, BBC Midlands Today has been looking at what is "Made in the Midlands".

The team has gathered together more than 100 items produced in the region, some well known, others perhaps not so.

A selection can been seen here, but have we missed any out? Send your pictures and comments to newsonline.westmidlands@bbc.co.uk

Classic cars

The automotive industry has been a constant presence in the region, although it has reduced in size since its heyday.

Famous names such as Morgan, MG, Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover are all made in the West Midlands and, as the industry looks towards a green future, hydrogen fuel cell vehicle the Microcab was unveiled in 2011 and is produced in Coventry.

Goodyear Dunlop and Michelin also produce tyres in the region, with Michelin specialising in truck tyres in Stoke-on-Trent.

Armoured vehicles

With its highly experienced and skilled workforce, defence company BAE Systems in Telford, Shropshire, builds and maintains armoured vehicles.

Used in conflicts around the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan, the vehicles were adapted to have extra plating added to protect soldiers from roadside bombs.

Last year, the company announced it was to take on apprentices in Telford for the first time in 27 years.

Four apprenticeships became available to school-leavers to become design engineers or operational fitters at its Hadley Castle Works.

JCB

JCB has been a manufacturing heavyweight construction and agricultural machinery in Staffordshire since 1945.

Its familiar yellow diggers are a common feature on building sites and the firm sold its one millionth vehicle last year.

In December, the industrial vehicle manufacturer said it planned to create 2,500 new jobs as part of a £150m expansion of its business.

Black cabs

More than 130,000 black cabs had been made in Coventry over 60 years when production ended in October 2012.

London Taxi Company (LTC), previously known as LTI, went into administration, which led to 99 workers losing their jobs.

But Chinese company Geely rescued the brand when it bought the company last year.

Celebrity fans of the vehicles include Stephen Fry and Kate Moss, and the flamboyant King of Tonga used one to tour his island state.

Carpets

Carpet-maker Brintons is a 230-year-old company, based in Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

At the height of Kidderminster's carpet industry, the town had 25 factories and employed about 15,000 people, but it has since declined.

Brintons was taken over in 2011 when it had debts of £20m but last year a £3m investment package for the Kidderminster and Telford factories helped safeguard 500 jobs.

Aga cookers

Although designed and invented in Sweden, Aga has had a factory and foundry in Shropshire since the 1940s and still employs 350 people.

The company said it has seen a decline in cooker sales over recent years - dropping from 9,000 to 6,000 units a year in 2011, during the recession, after returning to profit a year earlier.

William McGrath, CEO at Aga Rangemaster, said at the time the recession had been "tough".

More on this story