Dagenham Ford plant in England

Answer

The land for the Dagenham plant was purchased in 1924 after the company sent Edward Grace out to scout a suitable location on the River Thames. In May of 1929, Edsel Ford sank a ceremonial spade at the dedication ceremony and construction began soon after. The plant was to include an assembly line, power station, foundry, coke ovens, gas plant, and private wharf.

The first vehicle, a Model AA truck, rolled off the assembly line in October of 1931 and production began at full capacity in the summer of 1932. The land owned by Ford also housed the Briggs Body Works factory which provided bodies, and the Kelsey-Hayes Wheel Company which provided wheels. The Dagenham plant nearly doubled in 1936 with the addition of a rolling mill and spring making sections. Initially building Detroit engineered vehicles, Ford Ltd. pushed for English engineered cars to suit the needs of the British public. Over the years, the factory produced a range of vehicles including the Model AF, Popular, Prefect, Anglia, Consul, Zodiac, and Cortina as well as commercial vehicles, trucks, and Fordson tractors.

During World War II, Dagenham produced for war building ambulances, trucks, Bren Carriers, and V-8 engines among other things. They also built food vans to help feed the people of war-torn England, as well as factory and dock workers. In 1941, Edsel and Henry Ford donated back 50% of the dividend owed them by Ford Ltd. so Dagenham could produce food vans.  With this donation and the donations of other Ford entities in the Empire, Dagenham built and outfitted 450 vans that year, serving over 6,000,000 meals to those in need due to bombings and food shortages. World War II also saw the camouflaging of the entire plant to keep it better hidden from bombers and the hiring of the first women factory workers at Dagenham.

After WWII, Dagenham faced post-war taxes, export ratios, production restrictions, and material shortages as well as poor sales due to gasoline shortages. They were able to prosper through the introduction of new models as well offering diesel models, and were able to buy out the Kelsey-Hayes and Briggs facilities to expand further. In 1954 they added a new Paint, Trim, and Assembly building and modernized other buildings on site. During the 1960s, Dagenham moved to decentralize some of its operations including Engineering, Styling, Commercial vehicles, Tractor production, Transmissions, and prototype work.

In the early 2000s falling sales led to job cuts, and in 2002 Dagenham ceased vehicle production. 2012 saw the closing of the Stamping Plant, but engine production continues at the plant.   

 

 

Bibliography
Archival

  • Acc. 1790 Ford Motor Company, Ltd. Collection
    • box 9 Dagenham Regional History, 1973
    • box 11
      • Tour Groups at Dagenham, circa 1950-1965
      • Dagenham Plant
        • Application for Excise License, 1936-1963 (2 folders)
        • Site Plans, 1923-1963 (2 folders)
        • Dr. A. Kucher Speech, 1960
        • Emergency Food Vans Program Planning, 1941-1942
    • box 16 Dagenham Plant
      • Dagenham Regional History, 1973
      • Groundbreaking, October 1929 (2 folders)
    • box 17 Dagenham Plant
      • Production Milestones, 1929-1981 (2 folders)
      • Plant and Regional History, 1935-1979 (3 folders)
    • box 18 General Plant Promotions, circa 1930-1980
    • box 19
      • The Story of Ford of Dagenham, circa 1961
      • Production Milestone Promotions
        • 250,000th British-built Model-T Cross Country Promotional Campaign, 1925
        • Various, 1931-1980
    • box 20 Pencil Sketch, Dagenham Plant, 1942
    • box 31 Photographs; England; Aerial Photographs, circa 1961 (2 albums)
    • box 32 Photographs; Dagenham; New Foundry Construction, 1954-1957 (5 albums)
    • box 33-41 Photographs; Dagenham; Plant Construction, 1929-1938 (47 albums)
    • box 47
      • Photographs; England; Aerial Photos, Various Plants, circa 1938-1956
      • Photographs; Dagenham
        • Blast Furnace, 1955-1961
        • Coke Ovens, 1950-1952
        • Drainage Ditch Reconstruction, 1961
        • Export Storage Compound, 1957-1961 (4 folders)
        • F Building, 1950-1953 (3 folders)
        • Heat Treatment Building, 1961
        • Miscellaneous Construction Projects, 1940-1962 (3 folders)
    • box 48 Photographs; Dagenham
      • New Forge, 1958-1959 (8 folders)
      • New Foundry, 1954-1958 (21 folders)
    • box 49 Photographs; Dagenham
      • New Light Structure, 1960 (2 folders)
      • Paint, Trim, and Assembly Building Construction, 1967
      • Plant Renovation, 1950-1952
    • box 54 Scrapbooks; Bombing Damage to Dagenham Plant, circa 1942-1943
    • box 56 Dagenham Regional History, 1973
    • box 61 England; Aerial Photographs, 1951

  • Acc. 951 Ford Motor Company Non-Serial Publications Collection
    • box 7
      • Dagenham Engine Plant: Aiming for Excellence, 1989
      • Dagenham: Home of Ford of Britain
      • Dagenham Visit, c.1960
    • box 10 Facts about Ford Works (Dagenham), 1949
    • box 15 The Ford Industrial Estate at Dagenham
    • box 17
      • Ford Motor Company, Limited: Dagenham, England 1949, 1951, 1952, 1953
      • Ford of Dagenham
    • box 30 Main Dealer Agreement, FMC, Ltd., Dagenham, 1960
    • box 32 The New Ford Works at Dagenham, c.1929
    • box 50 A Tour through Ford Works Dagenham, Essex
    • box 53
      • Welcome: Ford Motor Company, Ltd. Dagenham, c.1956
      • Welcome to Dagenham Engine Plant, April, 1966
      • Welcome to the Hub of a World on Wheels

  • Acc. 285 Henry Ford Office Papers
    • box 1314 Dagenham, England, 1931
    • box 1592 Dagenham, England, 1933-1934
    • box 1766 England (Dagenham - London), 1935
    • box 1906 England - Dagenham, London, 1936
    • box 2025 England, Dagenham, London, 1937
    • box 2141 Dagenham, London, 1938
    • box 2286 England - Dagenham and London, 1939-1940
    • box 2958 Dagenham re: Statue of Henry Ford, 1947-1949
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  • Acc.1 Fair Lane Papers
    • box 173 Souvenir booklet "Dagenham Plant, England," distributed at Ford International Conference, Detroit, 1948
    • box 188 Unveiling of statue of Henry Ford at Dagenham, England, Commemorative Booklet, October 14, 1948
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  • Acc. 6 Edsel B Ford Office Papers
    • box 71 KA-KR (includes King George Hospital correspondence with Sir Percival Perry, references to Dagenham Hospital)
    • box 213 Dagenham, 1932
    • box 218 Dagenham, 1933
    • box 223 Dagenham, 1934
    • box 231 Dagenham, 1936
    • box 234 Dagenham, 1937
    • box 248 Dagenham, 1940
    • box 285 Dagenham, 1932
    • box 289 Dagenham (includes correspondence and some financial statements, schedule A, balance sheets), 1933
    • box 293 Dagenham, 1934
    • box 296 Dagenham, 1935
    • box 298 Dagenham, 1936
    • box 301 Dagenham, 1937
    • box 302 Dagenham, 1938
    • box 304 Dagenham, 1939
    • box 306 Dagenham, 1940
    • box 307 Dagenham, 1941
    • box 308
      • Dagenham, 1942
      • D (includes Dagenham), 1943
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  • Acc. 38 Charles Sorensen Papers
    • box 1 England; Dagenham, 1929
    • box 2 England; Dagenham, 1930
    • box 5 England; Dagenham, 1931
    • box 8 England; Dagenham, 1932
    • box 13 England; Dagenham, 1933
    • box 19 Annual General Manager's Meeting Minutes, volume 2; Dagenham, 1934
    • box 25 Annual General Meetings, volume 2; Dagenham, 1935
    • box 26 England; Dagenham (3 folders), 1935
    • box 29 Annual General Meetings; Dagenham, 1936
    • box 31 England; Dagenham, 1936
    • box 35 Annual General Meetings; Dagenham, 1937
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  • Acc. 46 Ford Motor Company Executive Correspondence Records
    • box 51 Dagenham, 1938
    • box 73 Dagenham, 1939
    • box 128 Dagenham, 1940
    • box 182 Dagenham, 1941
    • box 223 Dagenham, 1942
    • box 258 Dagenham, 1943
    • box 287 Dagenham, 1944
    • box 299 Dagenham, 1945
    • box 309 Dagenham, 1946
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  • Acc. 390 A. M. Wibel Office Papers
    • box 6 Dagenham Blast Furnace Plant, undated
    • box 84 1[a]. Dagenham, 1929-1931 (re: plant startup)
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  • Acc. 572 Nevins and Hill Research Series
    • box 18 no.11.15 (includes: New Ford Plant at Dagenham, Essex, Dagenham Production and Sales Reports, 1932)
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  • Acc. 507 Manufacturing and Assembly Department Records
    • box 14 155-162 (includes Dagenham), 1946
    • box 30 2-15 (includes air-conditioning, allotments for associates, analysis of mailing, automobile exports, bibliographies, blueprints: Dagenham), 1947
    • box 38 84-112A (job analysis, job evaluation, KD export schedule, KD trim unit list, Kirksite dies, layout: Dagenham), 1947
    • box 41 137-140 (includes miscellaneous: Dagenham), 1947
    • box 43 150-182 (includes multi-post stamp affixer, negative rake turning, New Model Cowl front ends, 1947-1948: Dagenham), 1947
    • box 50 257-269 (includes shot peening, sketches, skids: 1948 miscellaneous, specifications: Dagenham), 1947
    • box 53 286-290 (includes welding equipment: Dagenham), 1947
    • box 60 Dagenham: General, 1946-1948 (3 folders)
    • box 61 Dagenham
      • Executive, 1936-1941 (2 folders)
      • Office of Lord Perry and Sir Stanford Cooper General Letters, 1946
      • Overseas Circular Letters, 1946
      • Ball and Roller Bearings
      • General, 1947
      • Timken Roller Bearings
      • Batteries
      • Engineering Details
      • Paint
      • Pig Iron production Reports, 1947
      • Local Purchasing in South America for Dagenham
      • Tractor, 1946
      • Visitors, 1947
    • box 85 Time Study Sheets: Dagenham, 1945-1949
    • box 95 R. I. Roberge; Reports on Cologne, Asnieres and Dagenham, 1937-1938
    • box 99 Branch Correspondence; Dagenham, 1935, 1937-1938, Appointment of Main Dealers, Visit of
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  • Acc. 1942 International Division Purchasing Office Records
    • box 2 International Division Overview, 1958 (4 folders) (photographs, organization charts, and histories, includes Dagenham)
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  • Acc. 713 Correspondence Subseries. International Division
    • box 5
      • Dagenham Telephone Directory, April 1938
      • Correspondence; Dagenham, 1945-1947
    • box 6
      • Correspondence; Dagenham, 1948-1950
      • Minutes of Manager's Conference, London, April 9-12, 1948
      • Survey of British Motor Vehicle Industry, 1948
    • box 12 "Market research survey-sales estimates of Dagenham products."
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  • Acc. 1940 Reconsolidation of Foreign Operations Records
    • box 4-5 Guernsey Project (includes Dagenham), 1946-1950
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  • Acc. 157 C. L. Martindale/Otto H. Husen Files 
    • box 6
      • Correspondence; Ford Motor Company Ltd., Dagenham, England, 1936
      • Dagenham, Schedule A, 1936
    • box 15 Correspondence; Dagenham, Schedule "A", 1937
    • box 22 Correspondence; Dagenham, Costs, Schedule A, 1938
    • box 172 Cost Statements; Dagenham, Ford Motor Co., Dagenham, England, 1935
    • box 201 Foreign Plant Costs and Statistics; Dagenham 1928-1949
    • box 203 Matford-Cost Comparisons, Rouge, Dagenham, Cologne, 1936-1937
    • box 228
      • Schedule of Costs, Dagenham, 1939
      • Schedule "A" Cost and Sale Price Statistics, Dagenham, 1939
    • box 264 Dagenham Cost Accounting Data 1935-36
    • box 269
      • Coke Oven and Blast Furnace Cost Forms; Rouge and Dagenham cost comparison
      • Dagenham
        • Comparison associated companies assembly hour costs - 1936
        • Comparison associated companies facilities statistics - 1937
        • Photographs of damage to machines received from us
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  • Acc. 220 Elmer A. Eberle Records. Finance Staff
    • box 95 Controllers Office; Dagenham costs, 1936-37
    • box 96 Controllers Office; Dagenham data

  • Acc. 685 J. W. Whitmore Papers. Traffic Division
    • box 2 Dagenham, England, visit, 1934, 1936
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  • Acc. 378 Public Relations Research Library Subject Files
    • box 46 Ford I, Henry, Memorials Dagenham England Statue, 1948-1949
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  • Acc. 630 Foreign Branch Publicity Subseries
    • box 1 England, Dagenham, Plant Layout, 1945
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  • Acc. 708 Bank Account Statements
    • box 17-18 Dagenham, England (Ford Motor Co. Ltd) 1933-1944
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  • Acc. 1932 Ford of England Commemorative Scrapbooks
    • includes 1 bound scrapbook: Mr. Henry Ford II Commemorates 50 years of Production at Dagenham, Essex, October 1981

  • Small Accessions
    • Acc. 225 Ford Motor Company Ltd. Branch Operations records, 1948-1953 (pamphlets and correspondence)
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  • Acc. 696 Renovated Assembly Plants Photographs Series
    • box 13 Dagenham, London, England
    • box 14 London, England - Dagenham Plant
    • box 15 Visit of the Duke of Edinburgh to Ford Motor Company, Dagenham, England, December 6, 1951 (photograph album)

  • Acc. 1660 Photographic Vertical File
    • box 19 Assembly Line Methods; Automobiles; England-Dagenham
    • box 21 Assembly Line Methods; Tractors; England-Dagenham
    • box 79 Ford, Edsel; Dedications; Ford Motor Company-England-Dagenham
    • box 124 Ford Motor Company; Buildings; England-Dagenham (Aerial views and panoramas, Construction, Exteriors, Interiors)
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  • Acc. 833 General Photographs Series
    • box 2 Europe-England-Dagenham through France-Bordeaux (3a)

  • Acc. 00.1334.311.0 Dagenham Plant England Photographs Album
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  • Acc. 11 Henry Ford II European Trip Collection
    • box 3 Photographs; Great Britain (scrapbook including portrait photo of Henry Ford II)

Periodicals

Ford News

  • See:
    • Ford Assembly Plant (Dagenham. ENG)
    • Ford, Edsel Bryant: Ford Assembly Plant (Dagenham. Eng.)
    • Fordson Plant (Dagenham, ENG)

Audio-Visual

  • 64.167.764.4 - Motion Picture - "Ford Gala for Workers at Dagenham Plant"

Oral Histories

Vertical File

  • Ford Motor Company-Plants-Europe-England & Ireland

Books

[Images in FAQ: 00.1334.260 Aerial View of Ford Motor Company. Factory, Dagenham, Essex, England, 1946; P.O.503 Edsel Ford at Ground Breaking for New Ford Plant in Dagenham, 1929; Acc. 1790_17 Dagenham Food Van]

  • Last Updated Mar 27, 2024
  • Views 1094
  • Answered By

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