School Resource Packs: Cork 1912-1918

Resource Pack 8: 1917 Ford Factory

2 Cork City & County Archives: Through War and Rebellion: Cork 1912-1918

Year: CP/RP(p)/14 Cork Corporation Reports (Printed) 1915-1919 (extracts)

City Engineer’s Annual Report 1916-17, referring to the sale of the Cork Racecourse on the Marina to the Ford Motor Company

Background: The modern motor car was made in 1886 by Karl Benz in Germany. However, the first popular car, the Ford Model T (which most people could afford) was not produced until 1908 by an Irish- American Henry Ford whose family had come from Cork. After losing two businesses he had only $900 dollars left by 1900.Ford sold more than 15,000,000 Model T cars in the United States between 1908 and 1927. He became fabulously wealthy with a fortune of $188 billion by the age of 57 when he decided to expand into Europe. “Henry Ford journeys back to Irish shores In the summer of 1912, Henry Ford made an important trip to reconnect with his Irish roots. Escorted most of the time by European Ford officials, Henry and his travelling party also visited France and England.

While in Ireland they spent time in Cork, Bandon, and Clonakilty. And on August 8, 1912, 65 years after John and William had departed for America; the Fords arrived back in [Cobh] Queenstown.

This trip is thought to have inspired Henry and his wife, Clara Bryant Ford, to trace their ancestors. It also seems Henry attempted to buy the old Ford homestead, which he wanted to transport to America and rebuild near his home. Unfortunately, the asking price was too high. But Henry did eventually manage to acquire the hearthstones, which were incorporated in his home at Fair Lane.

On another trip to Ireland in 1917, Henry Ford established Henry Ford & Son Ltd. It began as a private venture and later became a division of Ford Motor Company.

As Ford historian Bob Kreipke explains: "Henry Ford’s family roots drew him to Ireland. He knew what he was able to do socially and economically in the United States, and he figured he could apply that model to the depressed area of Cork." Source: Cork City Council and its records: Before Cork City Council was created in 2001, Cork Corporation managed the city, which received its first charter in 1185. For most of its existence, the work of the Corporation has been paid for through rates and charges levied on businesses, property owners, and trade. For many years only property-owning ratepayers could vote for the Corporation. From 1690 until the Municipal Corporations ((Ireland) Act 1840, only members of the Church of Ireland could be councillors. After the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1899 most adults in the city had a vote in the local elections. In 1924 the elected Cork Corporation was dissolved and its powers and duties transferred to a City Commissioner Mr. Philip Monahan. The Corporation was re-established in 1929 and Monahan became first City Manager. Under the Local Government Act 2001, Cork Corporation was renamed Cork City Council.

Powered by