Ford at Dagenham

Ford at Dagenham

Henry Ford produced the first Ford cars in Michigan, America in 1903.

In 1904, Aubrey Blakiston opened a Ford showroom on Shaftsbury Avenue in London. His first order was for 12 Model T Fords, all painted in the standard black. It took him a year to sell them all.

The first Ford factory outside America was at Trafford Park in Manchester. As demand for affordable cars grew after the First World War, a larger site was needed for car production. Land was bought for 167,695 on the northern banks of the River Thames in Dagenham, on the borders of East London and Essex.

Ford relocated from Manchester to Dagenham, hiring special trains to carry workers, their families and their belongings. The factory, which was known as the 'Detroit of Europe', cost 5 million pounds to build, an enormous sum at the time. The first car, a Y- type model, was produced in October 1931.

During the Second World War, the factory produced 360,000 military vehicles and the workforce increased from 12,000 to 35,000. More than a quarter of a million V8 engines were produced as well as army trucks, vans, canteens, tractors and Bren Gun carriers.

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