FOR more than 150 years Paxmans has been one of the major employers in the town.

But it is the end of an era as engine manufacturing MAN Energy Solutions, previously Paxman Diesels, has announced plans to shut their facility off Hythe Hill, in Colchester.

Eighty jobs have been put at risk, with bosses blaming the coronavirus crisis for their decision to close.

A petition has now been set up calling for it to be saved from closure.

Read more >>> 80 jobs to go as bosses plan to shut down historic factory after 150 years

Colchester Labour Group is asking the public support for its calls to the town’s MP Will Quince to lobby for the Paxman facility, off Hythe Hill, to be saved.

The petition states: “Speak to anyone involved in this industry and you will find confidence and pride in the design, development and manufacture of diesel engines at Paxman.

“Hundreds of people have been involved with the Paxman community during the 155 years - through apprenticeships, stores, production, clerical, design and research and development.

“This Paxman’s bond is incredibly strong and memories down the generations are still shared.”

The petition says residents and staff believe the VP185 engine, made at the Hythe site, is still wanted by customers.

We've had a look back in our archive to find some images which show the engineering company through the decades.

At its peak, the Paxman works covered 23 acres and employed more than 2,000.

Paxman was founded by James Noah Paxman, Henry and Charles Davey as Davey, Paxman & Davey, Engineers in 1865.

The company manufactured steam engines, boilers, agricultural machinery, and mill gearing.

By the early 1870s it was supplying machinery to the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa.

The brand is now owned by MAN SE, as part of MAN Diesel & Turbo.