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British Industrial History

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William Foden

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William Foden, (1868–1964) was born on 23 September 1868 at Bradwall Green, near Sandbach, Cheshire, the elder son of Edwin Foden and his wife, Sophia Scragg (1841–1893).

Educated at Sandbach grammar school.

Trained in engineering

1884 First connected with the industry in 1884; joined his father's business Fodens with his brother Edwin

1891 Living with his parents at Bradwell and described as an engine maker. [1]

On 5 January 1892 William Foden married Ellen Arden Davies (b. 1870?), daughter of Thomas Davies, a hotel keeper; they had three children.

1900/1 Fodens produced their first steam lorry

1901 William Foden 32, engineer draughstman, lived in Sandbach with Ellen A Foden 31, William L Foden 8, Reginald G Foden 1, James E Foden 2 months[2]

1924 William Foden, who had largely run the commercial side of the business, retired to Australia with his family.[3].

Through correspondence, William helped to convince his brother, Edwin Richard Foden, of the future of the diesel engine, which led to Edwin establishing a rival company, that became ERF.

1935 William returned from retirement, at the age of sixty-seven, and took over again as managing director of Foden. His son Ted (no son Ted found in census - this seems to refer to Reginald) also joined the firm, which now concentrated on diesel lorry manufacture, the first Foden diesel lorry having been built in 1931, powered by a Gardner engine.

1939 William Foden, engineer, managing director of Foden's Ltd of Sandbach, was in Colwyn Bay, with Ellen A Foden and Barbara B Foden[4]

1959 Governing Director, Fodens, Ltd.appointed Managing Director, Fodens, Ltd., 1935; Governing Director, 1952. Add: Fodens, Ltd., Elworth Works. Sandbach, Cheshire. T: Sandbach 644; and West fields, Sandbach, Cheshire. T: Sandbach 212.

1964 He died 2nd June 1964, at Knowlton House, Parson Street, Congleton, Cheshire

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1891 Census
  2. 1901 census
  3. Biography of William Foden, ODNB
  4. 1939 register