4 thoughts on “G Hall & Sons Lorry, Chelmsford Street c1959

  1. The Truck in the picture would be plated 6-7 Ton a Ministry of Transport ruling, it would have round seal on its body declaring the weight limit.
    An explanation for many people now who have no idea what a coal Merchant did. I often worked in School holidays with my Pal Denis Goldsbrough his Father was a coal man. They had a loading bay at Norton Station where Coal trucks were pushed up a ramp by a Locomotive and then tipped into the holding bays underneath. Men would be working bagging the coal into 1 cwt (Hundred weight bags). They would be loaded onto a flatbed truck or in some cases horse drawn cart, usually with a truck around three and a half to four tons filling the bottom and a part load on top. That would equal 60 to 80 bags 100 bags being 5 tons. No sides or back board as the bags full of coal would settle and not move during transport.
    We could not get the truck up a lot of the back streets so much of the coal would be carried on our shoulders through the house to the coal house in the yard. Some of the back to back houses only had a coal box next to the fire and the Ladies would ask “can you empty it without causing a dust” some hope.
    Denis had a book with who owed what and we often heard, “I do not know how I can pay you this week” Denis would say “We will drop you one bag pay me next time” we knew many of those houses only had one fire in the house for heating water and cooking food, especially the back to back ones.
    People often wish the old days were back those who saw them are glad they have gone, King Coal vanished, the many Coal merchants went too and at one time we had at least six of them in Norton Village alone. We got clean air, Central heating, hot water on tap.
    I took my Rose coloured specs off many years ago, seeing so much poverty and want during my younger days, the way the fancy facades of the Town shops had been neglected for forty odd years they needed to be replaced and now Stockton is the up and coming market Town. I for one cheer that.
    Frank

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  2. My older brother became a long distance lorry driver in 1959. The company he worked for, Henry Peacock had a number of Thornycroft wagons (10 tons, I think). The traffic manager swore by their reliability. One day I went with him to Manchester during the Christmas holidays. This was long before the M62 opened, when the main route was through Huddersfield. There was some steep long banks going over Saddleworth, and the old Thornycroft struggled in snow blizzards. Other wagons overtaking us held up boxes of matches, indicating that it was better to set fire to it, no doubt. Not long after that, my brother was given a Fodden 8 wheeler rigid. A world away from the thornycroft, but the traffic manager still liked the Thornycroft.

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    • David I well remembered Henry peacock and to my knowledge there are still trucks on the road with the Henry Peacock name on them, probably a grandson.
      My Father being a Haulage Contractor all those small firms worked together and the drivers knew each other. Stan Grey, Billy and Tommy Pollard all worked for Henry peacock.
      Thornycroft trucks were good trucks the only one I was not happy driving was the Foreward control cab over it had the gear box reversed and you had to remember what you were driving.
      We had many Thornycrofts in the Army the last one of them I drove was the Antar Tank Transporter, it had a Rover Meteorite engine which was basically a meteor 12 cylinder cut down to 8 Cylinders, we used the 12 V Engine in the tanks and some of the transport of the time it was a Merlin engine detuned and called the Meteor. The Antar was slow but would cross country without any effort, a Dyson Trailer with a Tank on it was no problem at all.
      The T.A were disbanded in the 1960’s and relabelled the T. & A.V.R. we got all their old vehicles into our Depots to move on to storage. We got Thornycrofts from world war one with solid tyres and my young drivers would cry when they had to drive 1930’s Leyland, Scammel AEC’s and many other types with crash gear boxes and the dreaded double de-clutch. I remember one convoy faced with a very steep hill where myself and other older Officers and SNCO’s had to drive each vehicle up the hill then run down and bring the next one up as the young drivers sat crying in the passenger seats. What made it worse was the Scammel had a gate gear change you had to move through each gear in the gate.
      We old hands had a lot of fun the youngsters a break down.
      Frank.

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  3. The Austin truck after a merger with Morris and Later with B.L. at that time they were very good trucks on a par with Bedford, Dodge, Commer the main lighter truck makers.
    Being a Staff Sergeant in charge of In and Out testing I drove many different types in a day but always had a soft spot for Austin. My Emer’s office was an Austin K9 1 ton truck with all my records in it, (EMERS, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Regulations, they told you where every nut and bolt on military equipment was located).
    The K models flat front with cab over engine in Cyprus flew up the Mountains leaving the Bedfords struggling, they were tough engines and a well arranged gear box. We at times tested some Civvy trucks and I always took Austin much further than the normal Bedford types.
    Never thought I would see the day when most trucks would be M.A.N. Mercedes, Renault and Ford made anywhere but the UK. Many of the old UK truck names are still around but only the name is British.
    Frank.

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