Farewell to Avon Tyres: factory closes its doors after 112 years

It’s a sad thing, but the last tyres came off the production line at ‘Cooper Tires’ in Melksham at the end of 2023; we’d know them better as Avon Tyres.

The factory itself closed its doors on December 20, after 112 years of producing (often) world-beating tyres for four-wheelers and two. Back in October 2022 the Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Europe, announced plans to close the Melksham site, saying it was no longer competitive, leaving 350 staff on notice of redundancy.

The factory had been a cornerstone of the Melksham community for generations with thousands of people working there and having family or friends employed there.

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During the last shift, employee Alan Yates cured the final tyres – it’s nice to know that some of the last tyres to be made were for vintage motorcycles. On the Melksham News website, Alan – who is now going to retire – said: “It’s quite weird really, quite an historical moment. It feels quite sad to be winding down now. Some of the lads have been here nearly 40 years. I have done a couple of different roles around here and I have really enjoyed my time, it’s been brilliant. It’s been a good bunch of people. I was here when they had the 100-year centenary. I have also seen a lot of changes. What with the takeover of Goodyear and Cooper Tires that took it over from Avon, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the site. I grew up in Melksham as a kid, I can remember the big fire here. I had relations that worked here. My brother worked here in the 70s, and uncles and aunts, it’s been a big employer.”

We will be celebrating Avon’s long history in 2024 with a suitable feature.

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