Type Public
Founded circa 1695
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Industry Integrated Transport Logistics

Pickfords is a moving company based in the United Kingdom, part of the international firm TEAM Group and a member of the British Association of Removers - one of the world's largest removal company networks. The business is believed to have been founded in the 17th century, making it one of the UK's oldest functioning companies. The Pickfords family of Adlington, South of Manchester, and later of nearby Poynton, first entered the wagon trade in the 17th century.

The business evolved through mergers with the firm moving into heavy haulage in the 20th century as steam powered and the Diesel haulage took off as industry expanded. The firm adsorbed many firms and was nationalised in the middle part of the 20th century along with most of the industry. The Modern firm is no longer involved in Heavy haulage



Pickfords at GDSF 08 - 2 Diamond T and Scammell Contractor IMG 0777

A Haualage demonstration at GDSF in 2008, 3 ex pickfords trucks (2 Diamond T's and a Scammell Contractor are pulled by 3 steam tractors round the haulage ring hill.

The earliest record is of a William Pickford, a carrier who worked south of Manchester in 1630. In 1646 a north-country yeoman by the name of Thomas Pickford had his lands confiscated by Parliament for gun-running and supporting the Cavaliers]] during the English Civil War.[1]

By 1695 the Pickfords' family were engaged in supplying quarry stone by packhorse for the construction of turnpike roads; instead of the packhorses returning with empty loads, they carried goods for third parties.[1]

In 1756 the company relocated to London and in 1776 it invented the fly wagon which could travel from London to Manchester in the then fast speed of four and a half days. A year later it bought the carrier business of William Bass, a Staffordshire haulier who carried ale for a local brewer. With the funds Bass went on to form a brewery which still bears his name today (But is owned by Coors of the USA).[1]

In the 1779 it entered the canal industry as well (from which it withdrew in 1850). In the 19th century, it operated wagons on other companies' railway tracks, but this was contentious, and eventually this service was eliminated.

In 1816 the company was close to bankruptcy after many years of decline. The Pickford family sold out to a number of businessmen led by Joseph Baxendale, whose family become instrumental in running the company for over a century.[1] For being late in delivering a miller's iron shaft, Pickford's was involved in the famous English contract law case, Hadley v. Baxendale (1848), where the court held the company was not liable for unforeseeable losses resulting from Pickford's lateness in delivering goods.

In the 20th century the company switched to road haulage. During this time it formed a rivalry with fellow hauliers Carter Paterson with whom they later merged with Beans Express and London Parcel Delivery Company (amongst others) in 1912, although both kept their separate names for a period.

In 1905 Pickfords ordered a fleet of Eleven steam wagons from the firm of E.S. Hindley of Bourton in Dorset.

In 1907 they order two Commer cars.

In 1920 the company was sold again, to Hays Wharf Limited, on the back of a burgeoning post-World War I home removals business - Pickfords still continued to operate under that name. In turn Hays Wharf was taken over by the four main British railway companies in 1934 and was subsequently nationalised in 1947 as part of British Road Services and what would become the National Freight Corporation (NFC) in the 1969.[1]

In 1921 Pickfords atart carrying petrol in bulk tankers. (A restored Tractor unit and tanker can be seen in Pickfords colours at some classic vehicle events).

By 1922 Pickfords are trying out Heavy trucks with Petrol engines from the Swiss firm Saurer Motor Company, and have introduced pneumatic tyres on removal van fleet.

In 1940 Pickfords move (evacuate) the BBC from London to Bristol.

Nationalisation occurs in 1947. As British Road Services formed.

BRS (Pickfords) Ltd formed as an operating division of BRS in 1953.

1963 see the National Transport commission dismantled and become part of the Transport Holding Company. Which in 1969 becomes the National Freight Corporation owned by the Government. NFC is latter sold off in the 1980s as part of the Privatisation plan by Mrs Thatcher.

Heavy Haulage

In 1942 the Heavy Haulage division moves Mulberry harbour sections (temporary harbour) to sea launching sites prior to them being towed across the channel for the "D-day" landings.

As part of the NFC they were involved in a wide range of haulage activities including heavy haulage (moving oversize loads) during the 1950s to 80s. The company absorbed several well known haulage companies during this period but then withdrew from this sector. A number of former Pickfords vehicles have been preserved and can be seen at events, demonstrating moving outsize loads along with the earlier steam tractors(photo above).


The National Freight Consortium, as it was subsequently re-named, was privatised via a sale to employees in 1982 and Pickfords was subsequently sold to the American company Allied Van Lines in a deal worth $400 million,[2] The company was then sold again becoming part of Sirva in 2002.[1]

In 2008 Sirva hit financial difficulties and the Pickfords business was sold to the Anglo-American company TEAM Group.[3]

Allied Pickfords is a quality assured company with over 800 branches globally. Allied Pickfords is now the world's largest global network.[4]


Allied Pickfords Australia

Allied Pickfords Australia is the largest moving company in Australia. Allied Pickfords’ Australian operations commenced in 1982, when British-based company Pickfords purchased Downard Transport Industries in Australia to form Downard Pickfords. In 1991, the name of the company was then changed to Allied Pickfords.[5]

Pickfords Fleet (Heavy Haulage)

List of former Pickfords Fleet members
view  talk  edit

Reg No. Make
(if known)
Model Capacity Fleet No. Photo Notes
ALR 177B Atkinson Atkinson Semi-Bonneted  ? M3444 Atkinson - semi-bonneted ALR 177B - Picfords M3444 ballast tractor - Pickering 09 - IMG 2930 Ballasted Tractor
JLD 701K Atkinson Venturer  ? M6865 Image needed LHB
JLD 708K Atkinson Venturer  ? M6872 Image needed LHB
AMH 536H Atkinson Viewline  ?  ? Image needed LHB
AMH 540H Atkinson Viewline  ? M5727 Image needed LHB Ballast tractor
EMD 518J Atkinson Viewline 55 GTW M6728 Image needed LHB 1971
WYO 309H Atkinson Viewline  ? M6210 Image needed LHB
XYM 419N Atkinson Venturer  ?  ? Image needed LHB
GUV 381N Atkinson Venturer  ?  ? Image needed LHB
TSY 332 Diamond T  ?  ? M4052 Pickfords TSY 332 at Wirall Transport Museum
EGG 160 Diamond T M20  ? M6020 Image needed LHB
VM 2110 Fowler no. 17105 ATLAS  ? Image needed LHB Road Locomotive
UYL 810S GUY Big J4T  ? M6734 Image needed LHB
VYK 911S MAN 320  ? M ? Image needed LHB
VXD 530 Scammell Junior Constructor 6x4  ? ton M2070 Pickfords Scammell constructor VXD 530 - Resolute at Belvoir 09 - IMG 8377 Resolute in Paul Hammond collection
VXD 532 ? Scammell Junior Constructor 6x4  ? ton M2073 Image needed LHB
VXD 551 Scammell Scammell Highwayman 4x2  ?ton M ? Image needed LHB
PUC 471 Scammell Constructor  ? ton M ? Image needed LHB
PUC 472 Scammell Constructor  ? ton M ? Image needed LHB
PUC 473 Scammell Constructor  ? ton M ? Image needed LHB
PUC 474 Scammell Constructor  ? ton M ? Image needed LHB
PUC 475 Scammell Constructor  ? ton M1011 To add 1955 - Only survivor of 5 in fleet
EYF 886J Scammell Samson ? 85 GTW M1752 Image needed LHB 1971
ESJ 622 Scammell Constructor  ? ton M2301 Image needed LHB Now in Tony Jordan collection
UDL 664 Scammell Constructor  ? ton M ? Image needed LHB In preservation (not in Pickfords colours)
876 BGJ Scammell Super Constructor 6x6  ? ton M2595 To add
GXV 657 Scammell Scammell ?  ? ton M4227 Scammell GXV 657
SDJ 803F Scammell Contractor  ? ton M5 ? Image needed LHB
SYO 385F Scammell Contractor 6x4 240 ton M5035 ? Image needed LHB One of fleet of 6 custom built for HH in 1960s
VLH 427G Scammell Contractor 6x4 125 ton M5676 Image needed LHB One of several bought new by Pickfords in 1969
WYO 293H Scammell Contractor 6x4 240 ton M6206 Image needed LHB One of fleet of 6 custom built for HH in 1960s
XUU 925T Scammell Contractor Mk II 6x4 240 ton M ? Image needed LHB One of 2 built for Pickfords in 1970s (4 more built)
XUU 919T Scammell Contractor MkII 6x4 240 ton M ? Image needed LHB One of 2 built for Pickfords in 1970s (4 more built)
XUU 908T Scammell Crusader 6x4 M9532 Image needed LHB
579 EYO Scammell Super Highwayman 65 ton M3023 Scammell Super Highwayman - Pickfords M3023 - 579 EYO at Holcot 08 - IMG 0173 One of 3 built for pickfords
HYH 32 Scammell 20LA Capacity ? M4667 Image needed LHB Ballast Tractor
Photo on
NXP 568 Scammell 20LA 4x2  ? M8637 Image needed LHB 1954
NGF 120 Scammell 20LA 4x2 M750 Scammell 20LA - NGF 120 - ex Pickford M750 at Belvoir 09 - IMG 8426 Ballast Tractor
G958 ARJ Volvo F12 8x4  ?  ? Image needed LHB Ballasted Tractor
Please add any missing vehicles
To add a new entry see EDIT button in top left of this table.
please create a page (link) for any individual vehicles own article by linking the reg or serial number using reg number or fleet number in the relevant column. Then once saved click the red link to start the new page and add more detailed info on that vehicles own page.
Reg no. Make Model no. Capacity ? Fleet no. Image needed LHB Type of unit

Former Pickfords Heavy Haulage fleet vehicles

A number of former Pickfords Heavy Haulage vehicles are in preservation in the UK. These an be seen at events such as Great Dorset Steam Fair, demonstrating moving large loads. Several specialist Trailers in Pickfords colours are also preserved.

Specialist books on heavy haulage feature photos of the moving of special loads by Pickfords and other Heavy Haulage Contractors.

  • Loads moved include Turbinia the 1894 built steam turbine powered launch moved to a new home in Newcastle's discovery museum in 1994 by Pickfords Volvo F12 G958 ARJ.[6]
  • In the 1980s they moved several LU rail cars
Former Pickfords Fleet Trucks in Preservation
Reg No. Make Model Build year Capacity Former Fleet No. Current Owner Image Notes
(were photo is / misc info)
VXD 530 Scammell Junior Constructor 6x4 1958  ? ton M2070 Paul Hammond collection Pickfords Scammell constructor VXD 530 - Resolute at Belvoir 09 - IMG 8377 At Rushden Transport Cavalcade 2008 & Belvoir Castle show 2009
VXD 533 Scammell Junior Constructor 6x4 1958  ? ton M2073 - Image needed LHB
ESJ 622 Scammell Scammell Constructor 19?  ? ton M2301 Tony Jordan Image needed LHB
876 BGJ Scammell Super Constructor 6x6 1961  ? ton M2595 Graham Booth Collection To add At Southport Vintage Rally
TSY 332 Diamond T  ?  ?  ? M4052  ? To add At Southport Vintage rally
GXV 657 Scammell  ?  ?  ? M4227 Frank Hardern Scammell GXV 657 At Shugborough Hall Rally
SDJ 803F Scammell Contractor 1968  ? ton M5236 Paul Raymond collection -
AMH 540H Atkinson Viewline 19 ?  ? M5727  ? to add Llandudno 2009
EGG 160 Diamond T M20 1942  ? ton M6020 Graham Booth Collection To add At Southport Vintage Rally in 2009
WYO 293H Scammell Contractor 6x4 1970 240 ton M6206  ? Scammell Contractor WYO 293H At Belvoir Castle show in 2008
PUC 475 Scammell Constructor 1955  ? ton M8935 Graham Booth Collection To add At Southport Vintage Rally & Llandudno 2009
Add known trucks here Image needed LHB Copy and paste to extend table

Template:PML Pickfords

See also

Collecting related


External links

Template:Haulage contractors

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