Friday 17th May 1929
Construction work on the new £5 million Ford Dagenham factory began. Henry Ford’s son Edsel, then president of the company, cut the first sod using a silver spade. History records that the spade hit a stone and bent and it had to be hammered straight before the ceremony could be completed! Although the choice of Dagenham was controversial because of the water-soaked nature of the Thames-side land, the public had expressed its confidence in the entire venture by heavily over-subscribing for the shares. The factory would be built on 22,000 concrete piles that had been driven 80 feet into the marshland. When completed in 1931 the factory had its own blast furnace, foundry, jetty and power station.