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Thomas Talbot & Sons

Thomas Talbot And Sons

It is almost a century since the Talbot family business was formed in Coxhoe and it still survives today. 

Thomas Talbot Senior is recorded in the 1911 Census as living in Prospect Place, Coxhoe with wife Mary Jane and family William, Elizabeth, Jane and Matthew.  Aged 15, son William’s recorded employment is a ‘carter’ – ‘a person who drove a vehicle used to transport goods’.    

Thomas And Mary Jane Talbot

Thomas and Mary Jane Talbot founder of the business

Thomas and William obviously saw an opportunity to provide transport for local materials because the family tell us that in 1918 it was they who formed the business.  According to grandson Eric, it began with a horse and cart and was based in Coxhoe Front Street.

In 1934 Thomas died and was succeeded by sons William and Matthew.  They transferred the business to premises in Prospect Place.   
Prospect Place, formerly Sandgate, was immediately to the north of the entrance to Steetley Quarry beside the Clarence railway crossing and originally consisted of 40 houses plus a pub which were hurriedly built in the early 19th century for the influx of coal miners.  By the middle of the 20th century ‘Talbots Yard’ as we knew it consisted of only one small street in which William Senior, wife Hilda, Sol Richardson and the Ridley family lived.

They had built a large garage with a wooden office adjacent and a compacted earth compound where vehicles could park or turn.  In the centre of the compound were a telegraph pole, tap and hose available for washing vehicles.

The garage had a large concrete pit for heavy vehicle inspection or repairs but it often flooded following spells of heavy rain and had to be baled out using can s and buckets.

Austin Big 6 Car

Marie Routledge (nee Ellerby) recalls the Austin Big 6 car they used as a taxi

In the early days Talbots were seen to handle pretty well any haulage but later led limestone from Steetley quarries at Coxhoe and Cornforth to various locations, including Scotland.  Later they diversified to include private hire buses, taxis and coal sales.
The business flourished in the 1950’s and 60’s with good contracts with Steetley Basic Quarry, local education authority for transporting pupils to schools, swimming pools by bus and by taxi.  Maurice Crathorne recalls transporting pupils from Hett Mill to East Howle School in a ‘Sunbeam’ car.  They had a regular journey to deliver and collect workers from Smart and Brown’s factory at Spennymoor.  They also transported miners from Whitworth Colliery, Spennymoor to Metal Bridge Drift.  Cushions were removed from bus seats for this run.

They transported pupils from Bowburn, Coxhoe, Cassop, Kelloe, Park Hill, Quarrington Hill and West Cornforth to Bowburn and Coxhoe Secondary Schools until 1984 when Landsdowne Comprehensive School closed.

They also had a contract to transport pupils from Ferryhill, West Cornforth, Bowburn, Coxhoe, Cassop and Trimdons to the Kelloe Learner swimming pool for many years after it opened in 1965 and transported many local schools, including Coxhoe and Kelloe to fulfil soccer fixtures.

When William Senior died in 1961 and Matthew in 1966 both wives became involved in the business with sons Billy and Thomas.     

Three Generations Of The Family

Three generations - William Senior, wife Hilda, son Billy and granddaughter Glenys

Miners received concessionary coal from the National Coal Board but as these numbers decreased more households purchased coal and coke from private dealers and Matthew’s son, Eric, fronted coal sales.  Maurice Crathorne tells us they supplied about 120 bags of coal a week – filled in the yard on Fridays and delivered on Saturdays.

 After William Junior, died in 1971 daughter Glenys worked in the office and son Neil also worked in the business. 

Matthew, Vera, Elsie, Eric, Thomas and Marjorie

Matthew, Vera, Elsie, Eric, Thomas and Marjorie

Matthew had two sons and two daughters who survive in Coxhoe today – Elsie, Marjorie, Eric and Thomas.  Talbot’s business interests still survive as Thomas Junior has a mini-bus and taxi firm based at Wesley Place, Coxhoe. 

Talbots began as hauliers, became engineers and expanded to provide a wide range of transport needs in the Coxhoe area.  In the process they provided a good and friendly service at reasonable prices and employed local people for well over 60 years.  Over the years the company transported many people from Coxhoe and district on short and long tours throughout the country including visits to South Shields, Redcar, weekends at Blackpool, weeks at Torquay and London visits.

Glenys recalls many of their employees:

Sol Richardson, Jack Longstaff, D Dodds, Kenny Knight, John Carruthers, John Shufflebottom, Lenny Dolphin, Neil Talbot, J Rossie, W Smith, K Smith, Eric Talbot, Dennis Edgecombe, K Wainwright, M Brunskill, Stan Brown.
Office:  Mr Turner, Esther Ambler, Glenys Talbot

Later Matt Roxby, former worker with Taylor’s of Kelloe became Talbot’s ‘coal man’.

Michael Peacock recalls working for Talbots on a part-time basis when leaving school aged 15 in 1960.  He received his wages from Aunt Hilda each week … £3. 7s 6d

William Senior with Sol Richardson with Prospect Place in the background

William Senior with Sol Richardson with Prospect Place in the background

Gold Watch For Coxhoe Long Service


A group of Talbot's employees


William Senior married Hilda Nicholson who worked at Coxhoe Hall.  The family remind us that Hilda genuinely believed in the legend of the Blue Lady of Coxhoe Hall and always insisted that she’d seen the ghost! 

The Talbot family have long been associated with Coxhoe Methodism.  ‘Sunday School trips’ on Talbots buses were seen as an attraction to join by many young people in Coxhoe.

John Hepplewhite recalls asking for a price to transport Kelloe soccer team to various locations in the late 60’s, early 70’s.  Billy junior thought about it and replied, ‘It should be about £2.10s but if you don’t have many supporters on the bus just give us what you collect!”

Talbot & Son Receipt

Talbot & Sons Receipt

Talbot & Sons Receipt

Talbot & Sons Receipt

Information, photographs provided by Maurice and Elsie Crathorne, Marjorie Talbot, Eric Talbot, Glenys Talbot, Marie Routledge, Ronnie Taylor (Invoices and Receipts), Michael Peacock.

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