The Ford Transit celebrates its 50th Birthday today – 9th August 2015.
Arriving into the City of Southampton via the M27 Motorway, one used to be welcomed by a huge banner, declaring: “Southampton. Home of the Ford Transit.” Passing the Ford Transit factory the tarmac grounds gleamed with rows of white transit vans. The colour was chosen because white was the perfect colour to keep drivers cool in the days before air conditioning. This gave rise to stereotype phrase “white van man”.
The Transit is essential to many British workers. 600,000 of the utilitarian vans are now built globally each year. But sadly local production ceased in 2013 when the Ford Transit plant at Southampton closed. The Plant, which was one of Southampton’s biggest employers, has remained empty now for two years.
‘28 days later’, a website I follow, is full of photos of abandoned buildings. A wonderful photographer who goes by the moniker ‘Speed’ has taken some stunning images inside this defunct plant. (You may want to check out his best 100 photos): http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/a-life-in-ruins-100-photos-from-10-years-of-exploring-the-uk.t93530
There is a current campaign to get the old Ford plant chosen for the new production of a revival of the 60s Aston Martin – the main demand for this ‘James Bond’ car mainly coming from China. http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/13573355.Campaign_launched_to_bring_Aston_Martin_factory_to_Southampton/
Giant container ships from China arrive regularly at The Port of Southampton to fill British High Streets with imports. They used to sail back empty. But now return with recycled plastic, antiques and British vehicles.
UPDATE December 2015
Sadlly the Aston Martin project did not go ahead. The Factory has been pulled down. R I P