history

The formation of J F Pearce & Sons in the words of our father John F Pearce.
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My haulage business started on 18th April 1959, dissolving a partnership with my brother on 31st March, we had the live and dead stock valued, I came away with £1600.00.
I bought a second hand Kew Dodge and a single-axle bolster trailer from a north-country timber merchant, who guaranteed me work, thus was granted a ‘Contract A’ license and started hauling round-timber in the west-country to sawmills all over England.
My family and myself moved to Chichester on 30th June 1962 to be nearer the Goodwood Estate where a long contract had been secured to haul Beech for the furniture trade to High Wycombe.
During 1965, I applied for and was granted an open ‘A’ license to haul round-timber any distance, so was allowed to haul for anyone, which meant I had to have my own loading machinery.
My first acquisition was a Fordson Major fitted with a Boughton winch plus loading skids (all previous loading had been done by sheer-legs). During 1968, I bought an ex-army Matador fitted with a winch and jib, so had my first full-time employee who extracted the timber from woods etc., and helped to load it.
After acquiring two Leyland Beaver flat-beds, shortening them down to 12’ 6” wheel base tractor units making my own fifth wheel couplings over the preceding years, at the end of 1968 I took delivery of my first new lorry, a Scammell Handyman.
I also bought a rubber suspension running gear from Scammell and the local blacksmith and myself, designed and built a new pole trailer and fifth wheel coupling (no type approved in those days, ‘plating’ had just started but was not a problem).
We moved back to the west-country during the summer of 1970, my wife found a house and yard near Radstock.
The work at Goodwood had come to an end and most of my work was coming from here so it made some sense to move again.
In the early part of 1972 I sold my large 20 ton drott fitted with a winch and loading forks and bought a rubber tyred loading machine. My brother in law designed and made a set of loading forks for it.
This new idea in timber loading meant that one could load a vehicle in a fraction of the time it would take with a crane, and the extraction was quicker as well.
The only draw back with it was slow moving on the roads, so I bought a second hand AEC Marshall and fitted it with bolsters. My brother in law again helped by designing and building a frame to fit over the bolsters so that we could drive the Hough up over the rear chassis, move to a site, unload the machine, remove the frame with the same machine and the lorry was ready to carry timber again.
A week before Christmas in 1973 my Scammell’s cab was wrecked whilst being unloaded in a saw mill, I bought my first ERF two weeks later, re-built the fifth wheel and fitted the Scammell trailer to it.


Four years later I purchased a new Volvo eight wheeler, made a set of bolsters and fitted them to it. This made the fleet up to three lorries and two loading machines. By this time my eldest son was working in the woods with me, and in 1978 he passed his H. G. V. test so was able to drive one of the lorries.
Towards the end of 1978 it seemed that there was not a future in hauling round-timber as I knew it, so we decided to diversify into bulk haulage (how wrong can you be!).
I bought a second hand tandem trailer, fitted a P.T. O. to the ERF tractor unit and sent it out to work. It was reasonably profitable as long as you kept away from scrap yards and scrap.
Early the following year we had the Volvo eight wheeler converted to a bulker, my son drove this one full time.
We sold all the timber loading tackle off and were going to scrap the AEC chassis, but an advert in the local paper for a flat-bed six wheeler to haul concrete blocks saved it and was to change the whole outlook of my business.
By the end of 1979 we had purchased another new ERF, this time an eight wheeler fitted with a mid-mounted Atlas crane and continued to use the bulkers and the flat-bed AEC.
During 1980 we acquired a second hand Volvo F10, it was a year old but had only done a few months work, it was also painted black with a red chassis, this was to become out future livery, previously it had been blue and white. This brought the fleet up to five. August 1982 saw the purchase of another Volvo, this time an F7 tractor unit, to be used solely for pulling continental trailers for Norfolk Line in this country. A year later we put a new Scania 112 with a lift axle in its place because the gross weights had gone up to 38 tonnes.
We put the F7 onto bulk work pulling a new tri-axle trailer, finally sold the ERF tractor unit, and had the F10 converted to three axles so that it could operate at 38 tonnes as well.
It was during 1983 that I secured a contract with a London based haulage company to supply transport to haul cement clinker from Westbury to Shoreham. It started with a load a day for my own vehicle at its maximum reached 52 loads delivered in one day. This continued for almost a year and it enabled me to buy another Volvo, an eight wheeler with a mid-mounted crane, and to develop the site behind our house. The old workshop was demolished and a new one built 60’ × 40’ and 20’ to the eaves, it was built in split block to match our house, had insulated walls and roof and two electrically operated roller doors. Inside was a 40’ inspection pit and rolling jack, to save space, the office was built on top of the stores, and a compressor shed, tyre and oil store extended onto the end of the building.
The block work continued to increase, we purchased a 40’ flat trailer complete with an Atlas roll-loader crane. By 1985, we only had one vehicle left on bulk work, 4 carrying blocks and one still pulling Norfolk line trailers, this includes another Volvo eight wheeler, with a lift axle.
During 1986 we acquired another Crane-Fruehauf roll loader trailer and crane and ceased bulk work except during the winter.



1987 saw the first of our Fodens purchased, it was a 6 × 2 tractor unit with an air lift axle, shortly afterwards because of new work from a local brick factory we bought an ex-demonstration 6 × 4 Foden tractor unit with air suspension, had it stretched to a flat-bed fitted with a rear-mounted crane and a V. B. G. coupling to enable it to pull a single axle trailer. This achieved a 20 ton payload with a much reduced road tax charge compared with an eight wheeler.
Work from a new brick factory in 1988 meant that we purchased another Foden 6 × 4 chassis, this time purpose built and the trailer had air suspension as well, and a new 36’ flat trailer with all air suspension a lifting axle and mid-mounted Atlas crane.
We have given up the Norfolk Line and bulk work (but kept the trailers) to concentrate on brick and block haulage which gives a better return for the money invested. The present, 1988 fleet consists of three eight wheelers with mid-mounted cranes, two forty foot roll loaders, one thirty six foot air suspended trailer with a fixed crane and two six wheeled double drive flats with air suspension, rear-mounted cranes and pulling single axle dolly trailers, the trailers are pulled by 6 × 2 units with lift axles.
Our aim is to have air suspension wherever possible and six-axle combinations (ready for 40 tonnes?) also the possibilities of buying a 4 × 4 digging machine are being investigated, the lorries are visiting building sites every day, there appears to be a requirement for this sort of operation.
Finally, my other two sons have joined us in the firm, they are both competent at all stages of maintaining and repairing our vehicles, including body repairs and spraying and if Motec’s course is guaranteed, I shall be able to retire soon and leave my haulage firm in safe hands.