How many haulage companies owe their existence to pigs? Michael Marshall tells us all about one.

It all started with pigs over 60 years ago. when in 1951. David Taylor had his first herd at the family farm near Bland-ford Forum.

The Taylor family have been farmers for generations and in 1867 moved to the Dorset village of Pimperne. Yard Farm was purchased in 1911 and David William Taylor was born on May 18,1921, at the Manor House in the village. During the Second World War he served in the Tank Regiment, seeing action in North Africa.

He returned to Pimperne in 1946 and took over Yard Farm from his mother the following year. The farm comprised 144 acres and David kept a dairy herd, chickens and pigs. Following the ending of food rationing. David decided to concentrate on pig farming and after a year or two. the small breeding herd was dispensed with and all resources were switched into a fattening pig enterprise, producing up to 6000 pigs a year for the famous sausage and pie maker, Walls. He also favored the old fashioned method of slop feeding the pigs using whey and skim. Whey is the liquid residue from cheese-making and skim is the part of the milk that remains after the cream has been removed. David’s idea of feeding pigs skim milk and whey involved mixing the whey with barley meal to make pig feed. Initially David would fetch the whey with a tractor and trailer from Malmesbury & Parsons Dairy at O k e f o r d Fitz Paine. However, this method was superseded when David purchased a former RAF Bedford Q L fuel bowser to collect the whey. Being four-wheel drive and powered by a petrol engine the Q L couldn’t have been very practical for this work. By the beginning of

1957. The Pimperne pigs were drinking their way through 25.000 gallons of whey every week. In January that year, David purchased a small whey business with two Bedford tankers from R J Moody of East Orchard near Shaftesbury», together with 23 customers and a contract to buy the entire output of unsupported whey from a local factory. This business formed the basis, and was developed Into, a transport company, with D W Taylor & Sons (Transport) Ltd being formed on June 16,1959.

Animal feed

Following David’s constant experiments with his own pigs to find a really good balanced economical feed, he formed an associate company, D W Taylor & Sons (Taymix) Ltd on November 11.1959. and built a compound mill at Pimperne to produce the Taymix range of animal feeds and dairy» cakes.

The success of feeding the pigs whey soon spread to other farmers employing David’s system. This also required him to deliver the whey, the number of customers multiplied and contracts were obtained to remove whey from many dairies. Soon many creameries and cheese factories in the South West relied entirely on the Taylor fleet to clear stocks of skim and whey on a regular basis. The tanker fleet grew fast, including the purchase of two Thorny-croft Trusty tankers along with several vehicles and associated whey and skimmed milk transport contracts being acquired from Hills of Botley, when it decided to withdraw from this type of work. Within three years, as the business expanded, the fleet comprised 36 vehicles, which were handling a million gallons per month from 20 supply factories throughout eight counties. The fleet included nine a r t i c s (six Bedford S-Types, two T K s and one Seddon Mk.S S) with 10 platform trailers and nine tank trailers; eight rigid tankers, four flat lorries; two tippers; one Bedford S-Type cattle lorry; two vans and an Austin Gypsy. As well as lorries being permanently employed on the transport of whey, from the summer of 1959, Mr Taylor started buying and selling large quantities of hay and straw, naturally using his own vehicles to collect these loads, mostly for delivery in the Devon and Cornwall area. To keep the transport side fully operational, the company took on the delivery of over 3000 tons of sugar beet to the Kidderminster factory, with return loads of beet pulp. This proved to be uneconomic however, as sufficient return loads could not be obtained, primarily because the company had no ‘A’ Licences.

The transport fleet was used to deliver the feeds all over Southern England, Lancashire and the North West. Various back-loads being obtained, including fertilizer from H e y n s h a m and imported timber from Tilbury Docks, as well as picking up loads from the docks at Liverpool, Southampton. London and Avon-mouth. Also, lorries would return from Yorkshire with loads of railway sleepers, and second-hand storage tanks from the North of England. These had been purchased by David to sell-on to prospective customers. Other return loads would comprise of pig meal and other ingredients for making the pig feeds.

Innovation

David designed and built a machine he christened the Taymix Stirdimixer to feed pigs a mixture of whey and barley mill. He sold his system, which was patented in 1962. to fellow farmers with the units being manufactured In the workshops at Pimpernel.

Many second-hand vehicles were initially acquired to add to the Tayior fleet as the work expanded, but from 1959, new vehicles, almost exclusively Bedford, were purchased. These included a number of S-type rigid whey tankers, as well as several S-type a r t i c s with Scammell couplings. These were coupled to tanker semitrailers for hauling whey, or with flat trailers for the haulage of hay and straw, etc. Some of these were supplied by Bedford agent Win-canton Garages Ltd, but many were also purchased from the Bland-ford based dealership of Phylvic Garage. The flat trailers were purchased second-hand from Tilbury’s of Southampton, having been new to corn and seed merchants Christopher Hill Ltd. The switch to half of the fleet being articulated units came about as straw haulage had its peak season from August to February, which was the trough for whey supplies. With one half of the fleet as rigid tankers, which could continue hauling liquids throughout the year, and the rest comprising of a r t i c units which could haul tanks In the spring and summer and flat trailers in the autumn and winter, the company could maintain constant usage of its vehicles and drivers.

One tradition which was maintained right from the outset was that every lorry received a name of a nursery rhyme character. This custom of naming vehicles In the fleet was continued into recent times. The idea stemmed from the days when David was in the Army where everything was named and David figured that it was easier to remember the vehicle’s name, rather than its registration number. It all began with a Bedford van that was one of the first vehicles purchased, which was dubbed ‘Andy Cap’ by the drivers, a name which stuck. The first tanker to be so named was Thorneycroft Trusty, J X E 784, which was christened ‘Little Miss M u f f e t’, naturally because of the association with curds and whey. The company’s traditional distinctive green and cream livery, which has been retained to this day. was based on the colors of grass and milk.

The work T a y mix Transport undertook was slightly more unusual than most haulage contractors, as they not only transported their own products, but were general hauliers as well. By 1964 the fleet stood at 18 tankers employed on whey and skim transport, delivering to farms over eight counties. At this time the fleet was handling in excess of 20 million gallons of whey and skim per annum, with upwards of two million gallons a month during peak periods.

The transport side of business was given the simplified name in association with the T a y mix pig meals of T a y mix Transport Ltd on October 29, 1965. The original operating company of D W Taylor 8 Sons Ltd was retained to oversee the farming interests of the business and remains in existence to the present day.

A E C a r t i c s

Following the revision in the Goods Vehicles Construction 8 Use Regulations in 1964, which increased the permitted gross weight for an articulated lorry, the company purchased its first 32-ton a r t i c s in 1968. when it took delivery of two A E C Mandatory. J T K 14 8 15G. purchased from Wmcanton Garages Ltd in August that year. These were powered by A E C ’s trusty AV760, six-cylinder normally aspirated diesel engine of 12.47 litres capacity’ (displacement of 761cu in), which produced 212bhp at 220Qrpm. The company was to standardise on A E C ‘s at the heavier end and several second-hand Mandatory were subsequently acquired from different sources. At the lighter end of the commercial vehicle scare. the company remained loyal to Bedford, the fleet being made up of several TK rigid as well as tractor units. T a y mix also added some farmer works fleet vehicles from Bedford at L u t o n.

When his two sons, Michael and Rory, left school they worked on the family’s farm, with Rory eventually joining his father’s business in February 1968 which eventually led to him starting to drive for the family firm in 1972.

In the early Seventies the company was working for timber merchants Sherry & Haycock Ltd, by the unloading and transport of timber from Poole docks and Weymouth Quay. T a y mix also unloaded paper pulp from ships at Poole and Weymouth for delivery to Witchampton Paper Mill. In 1975 the company commenced delivering loads of soft drinks for the Sunparior Soft Drinks Co Ltd, a subsidiary’ of brewers Hall Wood house Ltd, at Blandford. Hall & Wood house expanded its soft drinks range when it acquired Panda Drinks from Gillingham and amalgamated it into its Sunparior company, calling the new division Panda Soft Drinks Ltd. T a y mix Transport together with Wimborne Transport, won the contract to deliver Panda’s products, which involved 15 loads a day on multi-drop work, all over the country, with the exception of Devon and Cornwall. T a y mix vehicles employed on this contract, were livened in Panda Soft Drinks own distinctive yellow color scheme.

This work came to an end in 1982, at a time when the farming of pigs was on the wane, so this side of the business was to concentrate more on arable farming. T a y mix Transport was still involved in the transport of whey, but the company once again shifted its emphasis on to general haulage work towards the end of the decade.

The Mandatory were to serve the company well, but by’ the late Seventies they were beginning to show their age, with some over 10 years old, still in service. Breakdowns were becoming more frequent and eventually Rory persuaded his father to purchase some new replacement vehicles. The last new Mandatory purchased had been GAE 948N. Lysander which had taken to the road in August 1975. Lysander was also the last Mandatory operated by’ T a y mix and was withdrawn from service at the end of March 1983, having covered 266,010 miles.

Goodbye A E C

Wanting to stay with a home built product and with AEC’s no longer available, the company decided to purchase Seddon-Atkinson 400s, fitted with sleeper cabs and Cummins diesels. An order was placed with the local Seddon-Atkinson dealership of Tilbury’s at Southampton, for 14 vehicles. As Tay mix had never purchased any vehicles from this company before, the Tilbury salesman must have thought all his Christmas had come all at once.

Following the loss of the Panda contract the emphasis shifted once again from general haulage with the priority becoming the transport of liquid skimmed milk in tankers, so the company started to increase their number of tanker outfits. These were used in the removal of surplus liquid skimmed milk from various dairies, which was used as pig feed. Some of the dairies serviced included Plymouth Co-op, U n i g a t e at Chard Junction, Dairy Crest at S e v e r n s i d e and Job’s Dairies in H a n w o r t h and T e d d i n g t o n. By now, the company was responsible for the transport of 30% of this traffic and the fleet stood at 30 a r t i c s and 40 trailers.

In the health conscientious early Eighties, skimmed milk became very’ popular as a drink, so the dairies started selling it for human consumption on a large scale. The consequence of this was that the stock feed market dropped-off and so the skimmed milk traffic declined.

By the late Eighties and despite ill health. David Taylor was still in charge of his business interests. He sadly passed away on April 6, 1988. At the time of his death, the fleet had dropped to 12 lorries, involved mostly in the transport of liquid milk products. The running of the company passed to his younger son, Rory who was 37 at the time, with older son Michael, looking after the family’s farming interests. The compound animal feed mill at Pimpernel was also closed during 1988. Rory purchased four new a r t i c s and obtained a contract from Plymouth Co-op to transport skimmed milk to the dairy in Birmingham for bottling. This work comprised of two to three tanker loads a day. T a y mix Transport continued to haul whey and skim transport as before, but also expanded into the transportation of whey permeate, yogurt, yeast from beer, beer, fruit juices, apple yeast, ice cream, jam, pudding mix and glucose.

During 2002 spacious new workshops and offices were built at the Pimpernel premises, complete in T a y mix’s corporate color scheme of green and cream. However, following a fatal accident in 2007 involving a vehicle belonging to associate company Transact, and the subsequent Police investigation, and Public Inquiry, it was revealed the firm had committed tachograph offences; T a y mix Transport had its О-Licenses revoked by the Western Traffic Commissioner In March 2010.

Since then the company has moved out of the long established site at Pimpernel and dedicated its business to the hiring and leasing of its tanker trailers doing much the same work as before, with long-term employee Peter N o y c e as traffic manager.

Preserving the past

And that brings us to the preserved Mandatory. Some 10 years ago. Rory Taylor harbored thoughts of owning a lorry that would re-create the sight and livery of a typical A E C Mandatory a r t i c, as operated by T a y mix in the 1970s period. To this end a 1973 Mandatory, N W C 806M, which had been rallied a couple of times in a partially restored condition by its previous owner. Bob Smith, was acquired in 2004. This was then transformed into a typical T a y mix Mandatory of the Seventies, and was appropriately given the name Copycat in recognition of the original A E C Mandatory. J T K 15G. which had been new to the firm in 1968. Although obviously not an original T a y mix vehicle, N W C 806M, captures the sight and sound of the original Copycat rather well. The restoration of the Mandatory has certainly not been overdone and is actually quite rough around the edges in some respects, but this only adds more to the look of a working vehicle of that period, with plenty of character and a genuine workmanlike appearance that so many rally going lorries fail to capture. It is to my mind the essence of what a working lorry from that time would have looked like. Having said that, with the recent unfortunate situation that has beset the company, the Mandatory never got to attend any events or rallies in its T a y mix guise and remained somewhat forgotten about, the victim of circumstance.

I nearly forgot all about the A E C too, until a chance telephone conversation with Norman Young earlier this year and when he happened to mention T a y mix. it jogged my memory and I enquired after the fate of the Mandatory. He informed me that indeed it had been restored in full T a y mix livery, but was left languishing outside at the firm’s current yard. Norman, who is a thoroughly good chap, owns a number of restored and un-restored lorries, as well as running his own transport business — ND Young Transport at O k e f o r d F i t z p a i n e. He has appeared in various magazine articles, both as regards his preserved lorries and his own transport business and is well known on the local rally circuit. When he expressed an interest in maybe acquiring the Mandatory, I implored him to act and try and save it from an unknown fate, particularly as the vehicle was left outside In the elements. We all know about the Sankey disease — the tendency for the e r g o m a t i c tilt cabs to rust badly. So negotiations were opened with Rory Taylor about the possible acquisition of the Mandatory, but the upshot was that the Taylor family would retain ownership, while Norman would act as custodian of the A E C. This meant he would be able to take the Mandatory to various local rallies, but before this could be done a few matters would need to be attended to mechanically to make it road worthy. Norman would also have to put the A E C through testing and this was done at the beginning of February. Apart from a few small things that needed attention, the Mandatory got through the test okay, the AV760 diesel even passing the emissions test.

The following day I was kindly invited by Norman to visit his premises with a view to taking some photographs of the A E C. This I did and I was pleased to get some shots of the Mandatory coupled-up to a Task tip bulk tipping trailer from the correct decade as the A E C. There just happened to be a genuine T a y mix thru-axle tanker trailer in Norman’s yard on that day. and although the A E C would never have been seen coupled to such a trailer. I couldn’t resist suggesting we attach the Mandatory to it for a photo, which Norman kindly agreed to do. Norman told me he intended taking the A E C and tipping trailer to the G i l l i n g h a m Gathering on February 24, and enquired whether I would like to accompany him in the Mandatory. Would I? You bet I would, and jumped at his kind offer.

So it was on February 24. this year I found myself riding shotgun in N W C 806M, accompanying Norman to Commercial Transport in Preservation’s 15th annual G i l l i n g h a m Gathering, held in and around Nick Baker’s garage in the North Dorset town of G i l l i n g h a m.

Norman doesn’t do things by halves and as well as taking the Mandatory, he also took it coupled to the Task tip trailer with a load of stone scalpings on board. This made the old A E C grunt a bit when going up hills, so maybe the engine needs a further bit of tinkering with o get a bit more power output, but it was great for me to the hear the sound once again of the Southhall Symphony’ of an A E C AV760 diesel hard at work.

It only leaves me to thank Norman for an enjoyable day out, also to Captain Kodak from Cornwall for the Sooty photo, and to Rory Taylor for allowing this piece to be printed.

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