MANUFACTURING at an historic factory is set to stop with 80 jobs put at risk.

Engine manufacturing MAN Energy Solutions has announced plans to shut their facility off Hythe Hill, Colchester.

Formerly Paxman Diesels, work has been undertaken at the site for more than 150 years and inspired the name of new school Paxman Academy.

Ship engines had been exported all over the world, but bosses say the coronavirus crisis has led to the decision to close down.


Construction - a Dutch Royal Navy engine being made on site

Paxman was taken overtaken by German-based firm MAN in 2010.

Jan Zebitz , managing director in the UK for MAN Energy Solutions said they did not have enough work to carry on.

“It is clear that the global crisis has had, and continues to have, a major impact on our business,” he said.

“The shipping industry has been heavily affected, while the market situation for the engine type we build in Colchester was already difficult even before the pandemic’s arrival.

“We simply lack the order volume necessary to carry on, and therefore we must review production at Colchester.”


Throwback - workers leaving the site in 1983

Mr Zebitz confirmed up to 80 employees could be impacted.

“We will, of course, seek to minimise job losses, in so far as there may be opportunities for impacted employees elsewhere in the UK,” he said.

Discussions with union representatives and other employees will now begin.

The firm plan to concentrate their UK operations in Stockport.


Workforce - staff leaving Paxman in the early 1990s

Colchester historian Andrew Phillips is writing a book on Paxman’s and said it was devastating news.

“It is one of the oldest engineering firms in Britain,” he said.

“I know a lot of people who work there and they are going to be absolutely gutted.

“They can only make those engines in Colchester because it is where the skillset is.

“It is hugely upsetting news.

“I am trying to think of something locally to compare it to and I can’t.

“They make engines for very fast patrol boats.

“It is an absolutely massive decision.

“Everyone over a certain age knows it still as Paxman’s.

“It genuinely is an end of an era.”