IT WAS an historic day in Meltham - the tractors are back home.

A long-awaited museum dedicated to the David Brown tractor company finally opened in the village.

Hundreds of members of the David Brown Tractor Club braved freezing weather on Saturday to watch the museum officially open at Spinks Mill, Huddersfield Road, Meltham Mills.

The museum has moved from its previous base at Colne in Lancashire to a site just yards away from the former tractor assembly line.

Darrel Clegg, club chairman, said it had always been the club's intention to bring the company's history back to Meltham.

He said: "The museum in Colne, which we had for four years, was really a stopgap.

"It's great to have the museum back here. It's a big thing for us."

Although the museum is set to stay in Meltham, the Spinks Mill site is only a temporary home.

The club is in talks with Kirklees Council about getting planning permission for a purpose-built museum on land near Meltham Hall, off Huddersfield Road.

The land will be donated by Meltham Town Council.

Mr Clegg said no planning application had been submitted yet and the club was still working on raising funds for the project.

The club, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has about 1,200 members spread across 20 countries.

The opening ceremony attracted overseas tractor enthusiasts, who travelled to Britain to witness it being opened by John Hudson, who has worked for the David Brown company for over 50 years.

He is based at the David Brown Park Works site in Lockwood, but in the past has managed the company's worldwide training and been in charge of its South African operations.

Mr Hudson said: "It gives me really great pleasure to be able to come here and see the return of the museum to Meltham.

"It's back in its home town and I hope it will succeed and carry the name of David Brown for a long time in the future."

Visitors on Saturday got to see two special items - one of which was the very last tractor to come off the David Brown assembly line in 1988.

The tractor had been in a museum in America, which donated the vehicle to the David Brown Tractor Club for permanent display in the new museum.

The other special item was an exhibition model tractor, split into sections to show people the inner workings of the vehicle.

Also on display were technical drawings, records, photographs and club memorabilia.

For further information about the museum or club, contact Mr Peter Murray at peterjohnmur