Background - see here for local haulage companies over the years

Roads have always been important for the carriage of freight from the early Packhorse trains largely pre-Turnpike Roads to the use of horse and carts used by farmers and local traders to the hardy souls who took horse drawn waggons over the Pennines on the Blackstone Edge Turnpike and Reddyshore  Scout Gate to the later easier route via Summit Gap.

The coming of canals may have reduced some of the long-distance carriage of freight by roads but increased horse and cart delivery to the mills and factories not located close by the canal (eg shore Mill) or for access to local coal mines in Whittaker for example.The opening of the Manchester and Leeds Railway just under 200 years ago added to the need for local delivery to and from the sidings and warehouse in Littleborough or Smithy Bridge. Strangely, no private sidings were provided in Littleborough largely because crossing the adjacent canal. Even the gas works required coal to be transhipped in Littleborough.

It was the time and cost of transhipment which led to increasing competition from road hauliers particularly after WW1 and the improvement in motorised transport, the gradual improvement in the road network including motorways in turn led to the closure of many local freight depots in the 1960s.

The Beeching Report (The Reshaping of British Railways) published in 1963 forecast a different sort of railways envisaging the operation of Bulk Freight services such as ‘Merry-go-round trains from Colliery to Power Station, or bulk delivery of stone from quarries to city distribution centres. Much long-distance freight was to be operated by semi-fixed trains carrying containers (Freight Liner trains still in operation) whilst other services would operate between larger distribution centres. Other changes in Parcel delivery and the Royal mail has meant only limited use is made of rail.

The consequences of these developments is all to clear in Littleborough as the vast variety of road vehicles passing into and through Littleborough toady makes clear. Whether more use should be made of the railways and canals in the future is often debated but for Littleborough  the effects on local roads will be marginal.

Littleborough Haulage Companies

Over the years there have been a number of local haulage companies some of which started in the horse and cart day down to the 21st Century. Often the companies start locally but move out for space or residential proximity. The History of the individual Companies listed below is detailed on the following pages *still in progress”

William Burrill

Richard Jay

J A Leach

H M Sutcliffe

J Grindrod and Son Ltd

R Rudge & Son Ltd

Although Graham Poole Road Transport Ltd was based in Littleborough in the late 1990s it is now based in Rochdale albeit their vehicles are frequent visitors to the town. For more information and pictures go to their website via the link below

Another Littleborough Co was Clegg’s Transport whose garage was on Canal Street, where Burrills had their garage. Picture bottom right show Clegg’s Transport AEC 4 wheelers at the Railway Works in Rochdale - per Craig Berriff. Also located in the same area was Normal Haigh..

If you have details and photographs of other road haulage companies that you thinks should be included or amendments and or additions to existing pages then please advise via