|Castle Bromwich Jaguar|
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Supermarine Spitfire (photo:Wikimedia)
In 1938 and with war almost certainly round the corner, it was decided to build a number of "shadow factories", which could be used to produce equipment in the event of war. The first of these was Castle Bromwich, which started in July. The operation was overseen by Lord Nuffield of Morris Motors, who had experience in running a large factory from their automotive operations at Cowley. By May 1940, the factory was unfinished, overbudget and had produced no aircraft, so Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Aircraft Production, took over the project and put Vickers-Armstrong in charge. Under Vickers-Armstrong control, the first ten Spitfires were produced in June, with 12,000 more to follow before the end of the war.
After the war, the site was sold to Fisher and Ludlow, manufacturers of sheet metal products, such as car bodies and kitchen sinks. In 1953, Fisher and Ludlow was bought by BMC, who merged with the Pressed Steel Company in 1966, and the bodyshell division became Pressed Steel Fisher, who controlled the Castle Bromwich site.
BMC merged with Jaguar in 1966, and Jaguar took overall control of the Castle Bromwich plant in 1977. Following the closure of Jaguar's plant at Browns Lane, Coventry in 2005, and the end of X-Type production at Halewood in 2009, Castle Bromwich is now Jaguar's only assembly plant, assembling the current XK (X150), XF (X250) and XJ (X351).
A steel sculpture was erected between 1997 and 2000 to remember the part played by the factory during the war.
Sentinel sculpture on Spitfire Island
Vehicles produced at Castle Bromwich