AN appeal has been made to find stories and pictures to help celebrate a landmark event at the Cowley Mini Plant.

Next March sees the centenary of the first car – a Bullnose Morris – to roll off the production line at the factory.

Bosses want to mark the event with a celebration of car-making on the site.

They want to hear from staff, past and present, their families and anyone who may have memories and photographs of life at the plant to contribute to an exhibition which will be focused on the March 28 anniversary.

Mini spokesman Sarah Heaney said: “The Oxford plant has generated considerable wealth for the UK, as well as many other countries around the world during its 100 years.

“There will be more than one event next year to mark the anniversary and we want to let as many people know as possible. Already we have had a good response with people asking us if we would be interested in stories and pictures they have.”

It will be the second centenary celebration after this year marked 100 years of the original works being built in 1912 in the former Oxford Military College at Cowley for WRM Motors, later renamed Morris Motors.

Under William Morris, parts were brought in for assembly by a newly-recruited workforce.

Morris had left school at 15 and set up a bike repair service from his Oxford home. He then opened a shop at 48 High Street, where he began building cycles.

In 1901, he built the Morris Motor Cycle and also acquired a garage in Longwall Street, from which he repaired cars, but his dream had always been to build cars that were affordable for working people.

Since 1913, tens of thousands of people – 26,000 at the peak in the 1950s and 60s – have worked on the site, building more than 11 million cars.

Brands made there include MG, Wolseley, Riley, Vanden Plas, Triumph, Rover and Rolls-Royce.

In the past 11 years, more than two million Minis have been manufactured by BMW. The majority of a £250m investment is being ploughed into the plant in preparation for the third generation of new Minis.

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