World of Work

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Trafford Park History

Trafford Park History

World War Memorial from Metropolitan Vickers

Trafford Park History

St. Antony's Cenotaph

Trafford Park, part of the ancestral home of the De Trafford family, was a originally a very beautiful park and farm land extending over 1183 acres. At its heart was De Trafford Hall which boasted over 40 bedrooms, servants' quarters and a private chapel. Unfortunately, the Hall was destroyed in the blitz of 1940.

In 1882, proposals were put forward for the creation of a large waterway running through the area which was to be known as the Manchester Ship Canal. Sir Humphrey De Trafford opposed these plans as he feared the boundaries of the Park would be affected and pollution in the area would increase. However, Sir Humphrey's successor was not so opposed and sold off various parts of the land to the Ship Canal Company. The land was sold in 1894 and became the property of Trafford Park Estates which was established in 1896.

The Estates Company created Europe's first purpose built industrial estate and the area was very attractive as a manufacturing and commercial base for companies who had to transport and distribute large, bulky items. The success of the Park was highly dependent on the construction of the Manchester Ship canal which allowed the importing and exporting of goods up the river merest.

In 1889 George Westinghouse acquired a site to set up British Westinghouse which later became Metropolitan Vickers. Westinghouse also built a ‘village' for his workforce near to the factory as Trafford Park lacked housing. Over 700 houses were built and schools and shops were added later.

The "Village" consisted of 12 streets and 4 avenues accommodating a unique community with its own churches, library, working men's' club, police station, clinic, schools and wash house. The area fell to development in the late 1980s and the last residents left the area in 1982. The houses were all demolished by 1984.

The industrial history of the Park is also unique. Trafford Park was home to the first Ford factory outside of North America and the Centenary of this passed in 2011. Between 1911 and 1931 over 300,000 Model T cars were produced in the plant. Other well known and large companies who chose to locate in Trafford Park include GEC, Associated Electrical Industries (AEI), Kelloggs, Ciba Geigy, Carborundum, Proctor & Gamble, Glovers Cables and Kraft Foods. This spread of manufacturing turned the area into the largest industrial park in Europe.  

At its peak in 1945, the park employed 75,000 workers however this number gradually declined until the 1980s when trade was barely existent in the area..By 1987, the Trafford Park Development Corporation had been set up with the aim of developing the area into a thriving place for business. Major companies in the area now include Kellogg's, AKW, DHL, Altus Edwin and Gamma Telecom.

As of 2012, there were an estimated 1500 companies in the Park employing over 56,000 people.