In 1911, the Ford Motor Company chose Trafford Park as the location for their first manufacturing plant outside of North America. A disused tram shed positioned on the corner of Westinghouse Road and Third Avenue was chosen mainly due to the proximity of the Park’s excellent transport links.
Production immediatley began on the Model T car and initially they were taking 12.5 hours to produce and the workforce stood at 60 employees. In 1912, Henry Ford introduced his moving assembly line to the plant and this reduced production time down to 93 minutes. Production of the car continued until 1927 when it was succecced by the Model A car. As production grew, it was decided that the Trafford Park plant was not big enough to cope with demand and a new plant was built in Dagenham. Production began here in 1931 and the Trafford Park plant closed its doors for the last time.
Despite production no longer taking place in Trafford Park, Ford returned to the Park in 1939 with a purpose built 44 acre site to enable them to produce Merlin engines for use in Spitfires and Lancasters. By 1946 when the plant closed, 34,000 engines had been produced.
On Friday 2nd September 2011, St. Antony’s Centre saw the arrival of 45 Model T cars to help us celebrate 100 years since the car was first produced in Trafford Park. 10 of the cars present were actually produced in the Trafford Park plant.
The event was arranged in conjunction with the Model T Register of Great Britain who were taking part in a 3 day tour named ‘Buxton and beyond’ and OMC Ford who sponsored the event. The convoy stopped off at the Centre for an hour as part of their visit and allowed visitors and enthusiasts to view their vehicles, ask questions and sit in the cars themselves.
At the end of the visit, the Model T Register club presented the Heritage Centre with a plaque commemorating the centenary and this has been placed in our exhibition area for all to see. The cars were then driven through the Park to the site of the original factory where the drivers were presented with a commemorative pin badge from OMC Ford.