‘Hurricanes’ to hit Ballinderry

An old photograph showing David Brown's unique Snow Hurricane, basically a Hurricane HH1 with a Daneline sweeper brush fitted instead of the usual flails. This cleared snow off the road and blew it over the hedges. Photograph courtesy of Leslie Hutchinson
An old photograph showing David Brown's unique Snow Hurricane, basically a Hurricane HH1 with a Daneline sweeper brush fitted instead of the usual flails. This cleared snow off the road and blew it over the hedges. Photograph courtesy of Leslie Hutchinson

For those of you already fed up with the disappointing summer of 2015 fear not for our heading has nothing what-so-ever to do with the weather.

The Hurricanes in questions are Forage Harvesters produced by the old David Brown Tractor Company’s Harrison, McGregor and Guest Division at Leigh Lancashire back in the 1950’s/1960’s.

In 1958 Loughry College near Cookstown, Co Tyrone hosted a demonstration of foraging equipment, a crowd in the region of 4,000 was reported to have attended.

David Brown’s sent one of their first Hurricanes produced specially to attend the Loughry event.

Mr Charles Taylor their Northern Ireland demonstrator displayed the machine’s capabilities to the crowd.

Although Charlie had never used such a machine before it was alleged that he had almost cut the entire demonstration area before most of the crowd had a chance to witness the machine’s performance.

The result of this was that over 100 orders were received with another 150 enquiries. Unfortunately, the company’s entire stock of Hurricanes amounted to eight in number for the whole of the UK.

The Hurricane was not only used to forage silage, but it is reputed that during a particularly bad winter in Yorkshire a number of them were used to clear snow from the roads.

According to legend one engineer thought it would be a good idea to construct a Hurricane with a Daneline sweeper brush and produce a unique Snow Hurricane.

In recent times one photograph has been discovered of this unique machine in action and we are able to reproduce this courtesy of Leslie Hutchinson.

Stories suggest that this machine was still in action until the early 1980s. In addition versions were produced to trim grass verges, harvest maize and also unusually there was a hay making Hurricane.

An example of this was actually sold in Northern Ireland and is believed to have been used in the Clogher/Fivemiletown area.

This actual machine still exists – sadly the haymaking attachment was removed by a subsequent owner, but it is hoped to reproduce this at some time in the future using the few drawings which were obtained from David Brown Tractors prior to the name being dropped in 1983.

On Saturday, 19th September, 2015 as part of the Ballinderry Vintage Gathering near Ballyronan, Magherafelt, enthusiasts are hoping to have all the existing Hurricanes Harvesters on the Island for a one-off demonstration.

Leading enthusiasts, Oliver and Dermot Ennis from Co Meath, Republic of Ireland will be in attendance with their example as will Darwin and Joanne Gaston from Co Antrim.

Admittance to anyone attending with a Hurricane is free, and a commemorative plate featuring the original Hurricane, HH 1 will be given to the owner of each machine.

It would be a bonus if the Snow Hurricane turned up, but the organisers hope that the weather will not permit it to operate.

Anyone who has a David Brown Hurricane and would like to participate is asked to contact 07732381866.