6,000 worked at truck plant in boom town Dunstable

Bedford Trucks factory in Dunstable
Bedford Trucks factory in Dunstable

Nearly 6,000 people were once employed at the vast Vauxhall plant in Boscombe Road, Dunstable, making Bedford Trucks.

The factory had been built during the war as an addition to the Vauxhall works at Luton, and it was hugely expanded in the 1950s.

Dunstable became a boom town and thousands of houses were erected to accommodate the families who flocked here with the promise of plenty of well-paid jobs. But foreign competition was formidable and, as crisis followed crisis, 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. The site is now occupied by the Sainsbury’s superstore, the White Lion Retail Park and the Superdrug distribution centre, among other businesses.

>A collection of photos from Yesteryear, together with matching colour photos of the scenes today, has now been published in book form. Titled Dunstable Through Time, it’s available from Yesteryear’s compiler, John Buckledee, at 69 Derwent Drive, Dunstable, LU6 3PB, price £14.99 plus £2 postage and packing.