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Messrs Pickfords & Company


Records of Messrs Pickfords & Company: payment orders 1815, bill for carriage of goods 1825, notices 1841, invoice of goods carried 1843.



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These records are available immediately for research

Administrative /‚Äč Biographical history

Pickfords traces the company history back to the 17th century, when the family used their horses to carry goods for others. In the 1780s, Pickfords started carrying by canal in a number of narrow boats. In 1794 Pickfords' boats were departing daily from Castle Quay for Coventry. The Pickfords business grew to handle road and waterborne traffic throughout most of the country. In 1795, the company had 10 boats registered. By 1838, it had 116 boats plus 398 horses to haul them. In the 1830s, control passed form the Pickfords family to a partnership of five, chaired by Joseph Baxendale. Baxendale gradually stopped using canals and long distance horse vans and embraced railway transport (Baxendale was a chairman of the South Eastern Railway Company). Pickfords was appointed 'local carting agents' for the London & North Western Railway. After 1901, the company concentrated on moving parcels and house contents, using around 2,000 horses and four cargo boats. In 1903, Pickfords started running 20 traction engines and by the 1920s, most of its vehicles were running on petrol. In 1912, the Carter Paterson Company took over Pickfords' parcel business, while Pickfords concentrated on household removals, storage and moving heavy goods at home and abroad. The First World War generated more house removal and storage business as families moved out of London and other towns. Pickfords also moved aircraft frames and other war material for the government. In 1944, Pickfords transported floating harbours for the troops to use in the invasion of France on D-Day. In 1948 Pickfords was nationalised to form part of the British Transport Commission: British Road Services, and with the dismantling of the British Transport Commission, Pickfords was in control of the Transport Holding Company. 1969 saw Pickfords become part of National Freight Corporation (NFC) owned by the Treasury. There was an employee buyout in 1982 and in 2002 Pickfords become part of SIRVA Inc. Today, Pickfords is Britain's leading remover with more than 2,000 staff and a fleet of 600 vehicles. It has sister companies all over the world and is Britain's largest mover of household goods to Europe, using ferries, container ships and air cargo planes. Pickfords has been part of Britain's transport story from packhorses and stage wagons, right through to modern day vehicles like cars, container ships and aeroplanes. The Pickfords website provides a comprehensive timeline of the company's development from 1695 to the present day. For more information see the Pickfords website at http://www.pickfords.co.uk.

System of arrangement

It has not been possible to ascertain any original structure of record-keeping from the small number of records held for this company. The fonds has therefore been arranged in chronological order.