A Brief History of Haulage in the UK

lorry haulage

The British haulage industry has undergone much change over recent history. Here we have summarised some of the key information regarding the birth and early years of haulage in the United Kingdom.

Picking up around the late 19th Century and at the time of the industrial revolution, steam engines were the most common way for haulage jobs to be undertaken. During this time, people wanted freedom to roam and access to these machines, though there were lots of rules, legislation and unproven systems that proved to be an obstacle for access.

John Thornycraft built the first steam vehicle at his Chiswick factory in 1895 – and by the following year experienced a high demand for his cars. Regulations soon became less strict and road transportation of goods became a much more common occurrence. It is at this point UK haulage was truly born.

The next few years the demand for cars, lorry’s and other transportation sky rocketed and the likes of Thornycraft stopped its production for passenger vehicles so it could purely focus on haulage engines.

Between the years 1903 and 1924, UK haulage enjoyed a huge 300 percent growth volume and by the mid-1920s there were over 300,000 commercial vehicles roaming the roads of Britain. During this period, firms began offering petrol-fuelled vehicles, though diesel would not be an option for British hauliers for several years following that.

Following this, road conditions were largely improved and there were many laws and rules implicated to ensure that road users were protected. From here, the roads were improved, laws put in place to facilitate road transportation and the haulage industry within the UK was allowed to become one of the most important of the country’s economy.

Thanks to our forefathers for helping develop such a wonderful haulage industry, the likes of J Wood and Sons haulage Cheshire and North Wales to exist!

Image by ‘arcticwoof’ / Licence

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