Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki
Ford of Britain
Type Subsidiary
Founded 1904
Headquarters Essex, UK
Key people Roelant de Waard - Chairman and managing director
Sean McIlveen - director of human resources
Cathy O'Callaghan - director of finance
Industry Automotive
Parent Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company Limited was the manufacturing and sales arm of the Ford Motor Company for the United Kingdom and originally also Ireland. The firm both sold and manufactured cars, commercial vehicles, and farm tractors for sale in the United Kingdom and other countries. In 1967, Ford Europe was formed with Ford of Britain became part of the new group.



Ford Model T - BS 9913 of 1910 at Kettering 08 - IMG 1776

An immaculate example of a Ford Model T from 1910 at Kettering Vintage Rally and Steam Fayre 2008

The first Ford cars, three Model As, were imported into the UK in 1903 and the first dealership in Southampton opened in 1910. In 1909 the Ford Motor Company (England) Ltd. was established with an office in 55 Shaftesbury Avenue, London under the chairmanship of Percival Perry. An assembly plant in an old Tram factory in Trafford Park, Manchester was opened in 1911 employing 60 people to make the Model T and the company was re-registered as Henry Ford & Son, Ltd. This was the first Ford factory outside North America. At first the cars were assembled from imported chassis and mechanical parts with bodies sourced locally, but in 1914 Britain's first moving assembly line for car production started with 21 cars an hour being built. Six thousand cars were produced in 1913 and the Model T became the country's biggest selling car with 30 % of the market. After the First World War, the Trafford Park plant was extended, and in 1919, 41 % of British registered cars were Fords.

In 1917, a plant opened in Cork, Ireland initially for tractor manufacture but from 1921 cars were built as well. This factory was the first to be purpose built by Ford in Europe. It finally closed in 1984. tractor production stopped in 19? but was restarted for a period in ?


Although the Manchester plant was served by the Manchester Ship Canal, Ford decided that access to a deep water port was required and in 1923 a new site was chosen by the River Thames at Dagenham, East London. Construction started in 1929, and in October 1931, Britain and Europe's largest car plant opened producing the Ford Model AA truck and Ford Model A car. The company also at the same time changed its name to the Ford Motor Co. Ltd. This was at the height of the Depression and the Model A was too expensive to tax and run in Britain and very few were sold, only five in the first three months. A smaller car was urgently needed and this came in 1933 with the 933 cc Ford Model Y, a car much more suited to the market and becoming in 1935 Britain's first £100 car. Between 1932 and 1937 over 157,000 were made at Dagenham and Cork and at its peak it captured 41 % of its market sector.

World War 2[]

During the Second World War, the Dagenham plant turned out 360,000 vehicles and a new factory in Trafford Park (Urmston), Manchester made 34,000 Rolls-Royce Merlin engines under license. The Manchester factory was latter sold to Platts Bros, then to Massey Harris, and became the Massey Ferguson Central Parts Operation warehouse.


After World War Two, civilian production resumed and Dagenham made 115,000 vehicles in 1946 and factories in Walthamstow in Essex (later London) and Langley, Slough in Buckinghamshire (later Berkshire) were acquired. In 1953, Briggs Motor Bodies was purchased, giving the company more control of its supplies and at the same time acquiring further plants at Doncaster, Southampton, Croydon and Romford. By 1953, Ford of Britain directly employed 40,000 people.

In 1962, Ford opened a factory at Halewood near Liverpool to make the Anglia. This closed as a Ford plant when the last Escort came off the production line in 2000 and was then converted to make the Jaguar X-Type in 2001.

Another new factory opened at Basildon in 1964 to make tractors, and in 1965, a further plant was acquired in Swansea to make chassis components and axles.

Commercial vehicles[]

Fordson Thames ET 6x4 recovery truck ex RAF ballon winch at Rushden 08 - P5010202

A Ex RAF balloon winch truck converted to a recovery truck. (these were factory fitted with County 4x4 to 6x4 conversions) and known as a Thames Sussex. Shown at Rushden Transport Cavalcade in 2008

Ford D1000 reg YHA 346S at Donnington Park 09 - IMG 6153small

A Ford D series tractor unit

Ford produced a range of commercial vehicles starting with the Ford Model TT in 1917. From 1933 to 1939, these were badged as "Fordson"s, this changed to "Fordson Thames" until 1957 after which it became plain "Thames" until 1965. From 1965, they reverted to being called "Ford". After the closure of Trafford Park most of the larger commercials were built at Langley. The truck operation was sold to the Iveco group of Italy in 1986 and became Iveco Ford (48 % owned by Ford). The Langley plant closed in 1997.


Ford Model T truck SV 6671 at Harewood 08

An early Ford truck at the Harewood House steam rally

Ford Thames Anglia van at Donnington 09 - IMG 6169small

A Ford Thames Anglia van 643 EOT (of the Old Ford Motor Co.) based on the Anglia Car

Ford D series 2417 breakdown truck GVO 67J at Donnington 09 - IMG 6198small

A Ford D series equipped as a breakdown recovery truck at Donnington Park CV show in 2009

Fordson light van HDD 186 at Donnington 09 - IMG 6205small

A Immaculately restored Fordson van based on the Ford popular on display at the Donnington Park CV show in 2009

Commercial vehicles[]

Note - cwt is the abbreviation of hundredweight (112 pounds or 1/20 ton)

Passenger cars[]

See wikipedia for details of each model.

Main article: wikipedia:Ford of Britain


Main article: Ford Tractors

The ford tractor operation is treated as a separate division and has its own article Fordson for the early models and Ford for the main one.

See also[]

References / sources[]

Based on the wikipedia article, to link in with other related Tractor Wiki articles with preserved vehicle listing for Ford light commercials seen at shows.

External links[]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

| below = For Ford Tractor line see List of Ford tractors

Smallwikipedialogo This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Ford of Britain. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia