Ford of Britain 100: Image of the week – 21/52

To celebrate the centenary of Ford of Britain in 2011 the company is exploring its photo archive to reveal rarely seen images.

Ford’s unique relationship with Britain and its society will be illustrated each week by specially selected pictures.

Eighty years ago the finishing touches were being applied to the newly-built Ford plant at Dagenham. From the outset Ford Dagenham was designed to operate largely as a self-contained facility: raw materials in, complete vehicles out. But Dagenham offered much more, including shops, surgeries and, as seen in this week’s image, its own power station. Before the term ‘carbon-footprint’ had been invented Henry Ford knew that generating power on-site reduced costs, lowered environmental impact and safeguarded production. With a Ford sign measuring 140ft by 60ft, the power house could be seen from 20 miles away and generated enough electricity for a town of 180,000 inhabitants, with surplus electricity sold to customers outside Ford.

This doctrine still holds true today with Ford Dagenham being home to London’s biggest wind farm. Two 120-metre high wind turbines generate 3.6MW of electricity, enough to power 3,000 homes, and ensuring Dagenham Diesel Centre is powered by clean, renewable energy. With Dagenham’s Econetic engines proving so popular a third turbine will be erected later this year to ensure the power to build Ford’s most efficient diesel engines continues to come from a clean, sustainable source.

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