R Durham & Sons, Skip Wagon c1960s

t15213When I was growing up in Billingham in the 1950s there were a number of companies that were well known, ICI and The Shipyard (Furness) of course and to a lesser degree British Titan, amongst the smaller firms.

‘Robbie’ Durhams was also well known, very likely this is because there were very few vehicles on the road at that time, cars were rare and commercial vehicles rarer still, we did get visited by Marshalls’ bread van, Rossis’ ice cream van and the Co-op coal wagon but that was it, our fruit was delivered by horse and cart by Maddrens’ and even the Council maintenance team pushed a two wheel cart around the estates repairing pavements and replacing broken windows.

The vehicle is a KV model, these were introduced in the mid 1950s and produced until the mid 1960s, the earlier models had single headlights, the twin headlights were introduced in about 1960, this dates the photo to the early 1960s, the wagon is obviously brand new and fresh out of the paint shop, it doesn’t even have a registration plate and the gloss is so high the photographer can be seen reflected in the paintwork.

Image and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.


3 thoughts on “R Durham & Sons, Skip Wagon c1960s

  1. MY dad, John Callender snr used to drive long distance for Durhams back in the 1960s. Not sure if it would be allowed now but as a lad of about 9 or 10 years old he would sometimes take me with him on one of his journeys. No sleeping cabs then and I can distinctly remember on an overnight trip, my dad set up an old fashioned canvas camp bed underneath the tarpaulin on the back of the trailer to make it like a tent. Great adventure for me as a youngster back then. I wonder what the health and safety people would make of something like that now.


    • That was the trouble with forward control cabs John, nowhere to stretch out with a big lump of engine in there with you. In the days before sleeper cabs you could stretch out along the seats with a blanket in Scammels Diamond “T”s some Commers with an underfloor engine or a nice comfortable Dodge. Bedfords and Austins had both type of cab so a fight as to who got the engine up front. Saying that when few trucks had heaters that big engine was a boon in winter.
      I went with Dad in his truck at every opportunity at a time travel was mainly by public transport. to have the freedom of movement allowed by your own transport was wonderful to me. Unlike you I never had to sleep in the truck then but later years saw me having to and at a time there were hardly any restrictions on hours especially in the Army you got used to living in the vehicle.
      Bob Durham Transport covered just about everything with the truck needed for the task, they had some top class drivers who gave Bob long service, My Father having sold the business to Bob retired with a pension and the big Gold watch many years later as did so many of them. He may have been a hard man to some I believe he always honoured a promise and rewarded the grafters.


  2. We have Rail nerds on this board, well I am a truck nerd and ERF rang all my bells.
    Edwin Richard Foden is the ERF badge, Foden started life as steam tractors and later steam wagons of which a few lasted into the 1970’s and could be seen in the wood yard at North Ormesby.
    The Company split and started to make Diesel Trucks, they made the chassis and cab buying in Gardner Engines David Brown Gear boxes and axles, that was in 1933
    After the war you could have the choice of Cummins, Perkins engines. They made many types of heavy and light chassis the picture is probably adapted from the Fire Engine model they made. I drove ERF for freight liner and preferred it to any of the other makes including the Volvo F12, it was a drivers truck.
    The Company eventually went to the German M.A.N manufacturer and was sold under the ERF name still with the choice of engine but was badged as M.A.N from 2007, the end of another good British name.
    Bob Durham had a real mix of vehicles from 7 ton wagons to 38 ton flat backs and tankers then progressing to Container trucks. he could well have been experimenting with the new Skip market. That is obviously brand new most of todays skip trucks are older vehicles with a shortened chassis and lifting gear added. Because the lifting gear was not very powerful at the beginning this could well be an up graded lifting gear though modern skip trucks can lift ten or twelve ton’s, that was in my time it is probably even more now.
    The Army had a few ERF specialist trucks for Engineering tasks, I believe that M.A.N made the last big military order and badged them ERF.

    Liked by 1 person

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