Department Index

Stables Staff (Transport Department) 1901
© Peter Bird

Scvammel Tractor Unit.

Accident free diploma

Licence to drive.

Accident free medal and bars.

......Transport .Office........

Transport Office

A teashop engineer travelled to Brighton, some fish was sent to Cadby Hall from Grimsby and an ice cream cabinet broke down and had to be returned to Abbey Road to be overhauled. These three incidents had one thing in common, they all involved transport which had to be paid for. Until decentralisation started in the 1960s the company received hundreds of such charges which were handled by the Transport Office.

By 1957 there were 2,750 vehicles in use at Lyons varying in type from electric vehicles in the yard to long distant vans and lorries to company cars; there was also a locomotive at Greenford. Some formed fleets to carry goods on behalf of other departments, while others were provided and maintained to be operated by the staff of other departments. For example, vehicles of the Heavy Transport fleet were used to collect cocoa beans from London's Docks, while the Wholesale Tea Department were provided with vehicles for use by their own salesmen. It was a complicated job making sure that any charges were correct. For this, the Carriage Invoice Group had the responsibility for passing invoices for all rail and road carriage, and most shipping invoices other than those in connection with export.

The Records Section (of which the Carriage Invoice Group were part) was a vital part of the Transport Office. The Licensing and Services Group of this section arranged for the licensing and insuring of all vehicles. It arranged for vehicles to undergo regular maintenance, kept records of mileages run by every tyre in use (yes every tyre) and provided a typing and relief service for the office. Staff Records and Fleets Group kept a record of all staff who were authorised to drive a company vehicle (and made sure they were in possession of a current driving licence), kept the fleet register up to date, and recorded accidents. Safety First awards to drivers for accident free driving were made on the strength of these records. The hours the driver of a commercial vehicle may work (and his minimum rest periods) were controlled (and still are) by Act of Parliament, and this group had to scrutinise the record sheets (before the benefit of tachographs) kept by every driver to ensure he conformed to the law.

Other records were kept in respect of each vehicle and included; mileages run, petrol and oil consumption, petty cash payments for petrol and minor repairs and a weekly report on the condition of vehicles. Wherever possible this information was recorded at one of the company's establishments, usually Wholesale Tea Depots; but in the case of some 800 unattached vehicles, such as cars used by sales staff, the driver was expected to keep a weekly log sheet himself. These were controlled and checked by the Log Sheet and Vehicle Invoice Group who advised Normand (the motor subsidiary) of any adverse condition reported. Other responsibilities of the group were the passing of invoices for new vehicles, repairs, tyres and petrol, preparing contracts with outside garages and controlling the stocks of petrol and oil in Cadby Hall. They also placed orders for replenishments.

The Costing and Accounting Section handled a mass of documents representing a variety of charges: petrol purchased, whether for a thousand gallon drop at Cadby Hall or a couple of gallons for a Scottish salesman. Repairs, in 1950 a puncture was 2/6d and an engine overhaul £200. New tyres, drivers wages, wash to leather or paintwork. Apart from the departmental charges there was another aspect to be considered; what was the cheapest method of transport for the company's various types of goods.

When the departments were decentralised the newly formed businesses became responsible for their own fleets. Some changed their liveries and this resulted in the corporate image of dark blue, grey and gold being lost. Later some decentralised businesses disposed of their own transport fleets and either contracted the distribution of their goods to carriers or leased vehicles with their own livery.

See also Subsidiary Companies-Normand Garage Ltd


© Peter Bird 2005