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Halewood and Cars - A brief History!
It all started on 8 March 1963 with a lime green Ford Anglia, driven by Lord Mayor of Liverpool David Lewis.
With a sign on the roof declaring 'Job No1', the Anglia was the first car made on Merseyside and the start of production at Ford's Halewood plant.
The ?30m factory was originally intended to employ 9000 workers and has seen many ups and downs since.
46 years on the move to the new Range Rover seems to secure the future of the now Jaguar Land Rover plant.
The factory's story began in 1960 when the British government responding to Ford's need for a new plant put forward Halewood as an option, since then the plants fortunes have fluctuated with the economic tide and changes in world trade.
At times the factory has seemed destined to go the way of it's Speke neighbour British Leyland, which closed in 1978, but somehow it has always survived, even if it now employs far less than the 9000 workers it began with in the 1960s.
The Escort years
Production of the Anglia ceased in 1967 and the Ford factory began work on the Escort, a car it would churn out through to the turn of the millennium.
Despite outbreaks of industrial unrest throughout the 1970s and into the 80s the plant became the European base for Escort and Orion production.
By 1997 the plant was home to 5000 workers, a big fall from the 14,500 it employed at its peak.
Uncertainty surrounded Ford's future in Halewood when it was announced that production of the Escort would end, and its replacement, the Focus, would be built in mainland Europe.
In January 1997 Ford announced 1300 job losses at Halewood and with Escort production prospects looked bleak.
It was then revealed that Jaguar, owned by Ford, would begin producing its new X-Type at Halewood.
With a change of name the plants future was once more secure and in 2003 it was announced that 1000 jobs would be created as production began on the Land Rover Freelander.
The fall out from the credit crunch and ensuing recession hit car manufacturing particularly hard and in March 2008 Jaguar and Land Rover were sold to the Indian based group Tata.
Once more there were worries for Halewood's long term prosperity, and in July 2009, 300 jobs went as production of the X-type ended and struggling with falling sales there was a three week shutdown.
The news that the plant will begin making the new Range Rover, puts an end to any uncertainties about the factories medium term future, but it's unlikely to be the end of Halewood's rollercoaster ride.
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2005 - 2017
Ford ripped down and old mansion type of house to build the plant.
Mike Roydon's site covers the Old Hutt:
It wouldn't happen today. Or would it?
your mention of the "olde hutte" made me root out a pic' of the entrance doorway, to the great hall, that I came across! This shows the doorway, numbered stone by stone,to be re-assembled at some time/place,in the future!? This was in 1960/1,and I wondered what ever became of it,and possibly other parts of the structure?
pic' courtesy of L.R.O.
Bumped this up,as I'm hoping to get some info' on the olde hutte's whereabouts!
Originally Posted by wsteve55
Uncertainty has always surrounded Ford's future in Halewood certainly since the 1880s. There have always been rumour stories and yet it is still open. Long may it continue for the people who work there.
Ah how times change!
Originally Posted by Kev
Back in 1962 my dad (a time-served AEU fitter) interviewed for a job at the plant that was soon to open. They let him know verbally how he was considered a bit too old and past the flexibility of youth to be offered a production job. He was just 42 years old at the time.
Nowadays I'm working in a cutting edge technology company far away and no-one dares say a word that alludes to my age (for fear of an age discrimination accusation) despite that I qualify for a British Old Age Pension.
It's still hard not to think of Halewood as the new car factory.
Another rare picture....
Hi Cad,Do you have any details on the building?
Originally Posted by Cadfael
I worked in the press shop at Fords in 1966, it was the hardest work I have ever done. I lost 2 stone and looked like a racing snake. Every penny earned was with the sweat of my brow. I will be writing of my time there when I get to that part of my story,
I know what you mean Brian, i started in 72,a young lad weighing nearly 10st 7lb it wasnt long before i was down to 9st 7lb, stayed around 9 st for my 30 yrs at fords,i cant say i looked healthy loosing so much weight, mixture of stress and hard work had its effect,few months after leaving i was back up to 10 st 7 now over 11 st,
Originally Posted by brian daley
Originally Posted by Kev
I'd love that car just for it's number plate - 1KF - my initials.
It'll be going into the new museum after spending the 1970s in the transport museum in the basement of the museum in William Brown St. Put a bid in
I certainly will - as long as they'll accept the original purchase price of an Anglia!
Originally Posted by Ged
When I drank in The Rose (Rose Lane, Mossley Hill) in the late 60s/early 70s there used to be an Anglia around that had a Jaguar engine fitted. The front wheel arches were modified so that the engine would fit in, and the gear stick was by the rear passenger seats!
does anyone know tony edwards from halewood his mums name kate
By Kev in forum Wider Merseyside
Last Post: 09-24-2010, 01:29 PM
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