Many regulars on the show scene will instantly recognise this company name and Brian’s lorries. With their simple white cabs, black chassis, green lettering and detailing they’re an exceptionally tidy small fleet.
Brian Calcutt’s steadily expanding fleet of six stands out as it’s made up of four flatbed rigids and one artic which usually pulls a flat trailer. A Ford Transit pickup is the baby of the bunch. By his own admission he fondly remembers the simpler, less stressful times of just him and one other truck to find work for, but the good service provided by this eye-catching fleet has led to an increase in vehicles, and perhaps some more grey hairs on his part!
Brian represents the fourth generation of Calcutt in transport. His great-grandad started the business as a coal merchant back in 1937 offering doorstep sack delivery. Coal was delivered loose to their yard and then bagged on site by hand using an elevator; serious hard graft by any standard. This process still happens to this day but on a much smaller scale, with 500 tonnes annually bagged into either an open top or plastic pre-pack sack. This is very much a seasonal part of the business; during a cold snap the coal does go a little crazy and it’s all hands on deck to get deliveries out. Compared to the 3000 tonnes moved annually 25 years ago, this shows the decrease in general household coal use.
Brian’s dad Geoff is now 74 and is still very much involved in the business day-to-day, while Brian’s sister Sarah took over the accounts side from their mum Wendy. The company is a real family affair, with Brian’s wife Tracey and children Lauren and Luke also employed.
In the early days Bedford TKs were the main workhorses; a pair of these were run for 17 years. They were followed by a pair of Ford D-series which although reliable, they “must have been made from biscuit tins” says Brian, as the cabs needed welding repeatedly to keep them roadworthy. A Transit pickup was added to the fleet in the early 1990s to add flexibility to the coal delivery service.
Brian, having always been involved with the family business was keen to diversify with the demand for coal decreasing. In 1991 Brian diversified from coal deliveries and started also delivering turf for the Rolawn depot close to his yard. This proved to be a success and led to Brian adding to the fleet.
Calcutt and Son are no strangers to silverware on the show scene, having scooped honours for best fleet and numerous individual highly commended certificates over the years. 1996 saw Brian’s first visit to a truck show with their three year old Volvo FL6. This was one of the first vehicles purchased to service the turf, but as it was only a 13-tonner it wasn’t really suitable for the heavy turf work although it did start a love of the Volvo brand. A new W-reg Volvo FM7 with Moffett kit replaced the FL6, a valuable addition for the expanding turf deliveries.
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