Foreign rivals put a spanner in the works of truck plant

Vauxhall's Dunstable truck factory extension
Vauxhall's Dunstable truck factory extension

It seemed as though nothing could wrong. The Vauxhall factory in Boscombe Road, Dunstable, could not cope with the demand for Bedford Trucks and needed to expand.

So work began in the 1950s on building a vast new assembly plant behind the original 1942 factory.

The picture shows the work continuing at the foot of Boscombe Road, reaching beyond what is now the White Lion retail park and where the Superdrug and other premises now stand.

By the mid 1970s 5,700 people were employed at Dunstable Vauxhall and new housing estates sprung up to provide homes for the workers and their families who flocked to the area.

But foreign competition was formidable and General Motors closed its Dunstable operation in 1987.

The factory reopened under the name AWD but it closed again in 1992 after a huge order to supply the Libyan Army was blocked by UN sanctions.

> Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society.