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Remains of Goodyear factory wiped from Wolverhampton skyline

By Richard Guttridge | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Demolition teams have moved in to begin flattening the remaining parts of Wolverhampton’s iconic Goodyear plant.

Diggers tearing down the buildings on site

Buildings at the landmark factory will soon disappear from view on Bushbury Lane as developer St Modwen clears the site to pave the way for hundreds of new homes.

Much of the Goodyear site has already been redeveloped, with the last remaining parts of the plant now to be bulldozed.

The tyre giant, synonymous with the city for almost a century, closed its doors for the final time last summer.

Diggers have begun clawing away at remaining buildings and when the work is complete, virtually all trace of the plant which once employed thousands of people in the city will have disappeared.

Heyday – the factory was once one of the biggest employers in the city

Cyril Barrett, chairman of the Unite branch at Goodyear, said it was a ‘sad day for Wolverhampton’.

He said: “This is the last phase of demolition of a factory which has been there since 1927.

“When I heard it was being demolished it filled me with a great deal of sadness.

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“It isn’t just a factory. The people who worked on the shop floor at Goodyear were one big family.

“This is the end of an iconic firm. Generations of fathers, uncles and grandfathers worked there since 1927. It is a sad day for the community and for Wolverhampton itself.”

Former worker Wayne Devaney, from Wednesfield, tweeted a picture of the demolition.

Former Goodyear worker Wayne Devaney at the plant

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He said in the tweet: “The Banbery Decks are being crumpled as @goodyear Wolverhampton’s production record busting plant is levelled, consigned to the history books. It rankles me still that it closed, I’ve never worked in a better place and with better people. RIP OLD LADY thanks forThe memorises xx.”

Mr Devaney worked at Goodyear for 28 years, said: “It is final, the last nail in the coffin, it is not ever coming back.

“We won’t see again as we come over Bushbury Lane the silos and the plumes in the distance. It is a landmark gone from here.

“I’m gutted for the people of Wolverhampton.

“This place provided good employment, we will never see its like again.

“It’s a crying shame that it was let go so easily.”

The remaining factory buildings are pulled down. Picture: Wayne Devaney

More than 200 homes could eventually be built on the site.

The plant, which in recent years produced rubber compounds for tyre factories overseas as well as retread tyres, closed for the final time last August when 12 remaining workers completed their final shifts.

The closure of the plant was announced in 2015 after years of scaling down at the once-mighty employer, resulting in the loss of 330 jobs.

Bosses concluded the site had become unprofitable. The decision was a huge blow for the city and more than a 1,000 people signed a petition calling for it to be saved.

The tower has long gone, now other buildings are going

Hundreds gathered in June 2008 to see Goodyear’s iconic blue and yellow tower pulled down to make way for the development.

Former tyre workers were among those who gathered to witness the end of an era.

Since the closure thousands of pounds has been donated to good causes from the Goodyear workers’ 5/344 Transport and General Workers Union Benevolent Fund including vital medical equipment for New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton and a £1.5 million donation to help extend Compton Hospice. The Goodyear workers’ fund was built up over more than 30 years from sick and distress pay

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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