Thank You!

A special thank you to the late Thomas William Riding, former managing director and chief executive of W & J Riding for 25 years, to whom this website is dedicated.

Over the years Tom was kind enough to supply a vast amount of detailed historical information along with many of the superb rare photographs featured and without his invaluable help and dedication this website would not have been possible.

The site now contains over 2500 images, complete with in depth details, all of which are accessible via the main menu & side menu (marked with the mobile menu icon of 3 lines on a mobile & tablet).

Early Days at W & J Riding

One of the earliest pictures of the company, taken over a hundred years ago in 1921, shows a brand new W & J Riding draw-bar trailer.

Fitted with solid tyres it was capable of four tons carrying capacity.  

It is pictured outside the premises of the manufacturer Atkinson Walker Wagons Ltd of Frenchwood Preston.

Dating back to 1925 this is thought to be the the earliest known photograph of a W & J Riding lorry which shows a 1924 registered Leyland SQ4 Reg No TC 6143 hauling a draw-bar trailer.

Pictured on the A59 at Bank Bridge Tarleton and driven by Arthur ‘Tiny’ Edelston it is heading to Liverpool for a load of cattle food probably for Preston Farmers.

In the early days W & J Riding also operated this 1924 registered Leyland GH6 6-tonner Reg No CW 7987.

Seen here in 1927 it is loading up with grain on Strand Road in Preston for delivery to one of the many Lancashire breweries that existed at that time.

Leyland Hippo Reg No RJ 258 (Chassis No 67816) was originally new to Wolfendale Bros of Swinton in November 1931.

This vehicle was later bought as a burnt out wreck from Dallas of Leyland and was completely rebuilt in house by Jim Riding who fitted it with a 8.6 litre diesel engine in place of the original petrol unit. 

Nicked-named the ‘Crab’ due to it’s difficulty to steer it was driven by Harold Bristow and is seen here loaded with 14 tons of Alum from Peter Spence of Widnes.

Leyland Buffalo TQ 1 Reg No TF 9918 was registered new in September 1932 and was in the fleet for sixteen years right up to nationalisation which took place in 1948.

Powered by an 8.6 litre diesel engine it was one of the very first oil engined vehicles to come out of Leyland motors, the fifth one in fact.

On the left is driver Tommy Elliot while on the right is driver Bob Swanson. 

Registered new to W & J Riding in August 1936 Leyland Beaver TSC 9 four wheeler Reg No BTC 384 had a Fowler cab and body.

Pictured here in 1943 on the A59 at Aughton near Ormskirk, complete with a draw-bar trailer, it is loaded with 2 cwt sacks of cattle food collected at Liverpool for delivery to Preston Farmers Ltd. 

Note the masked headlamps and the white edges to the front wings required for the blackout during the 2nd World War.

Mr Jimmy Atkinson, the father of the photographer, was it’s driver from new and drove it until nationalisation in 1948 when he left the company.

Photograph courtesy of John Atkinson.

A far better picture than the previous one of Leyland Beaver TSC 9 four wheeler Reg No BTC 384 which was registered new in August 1936 complete with a Fowler cab and body.

This vehicle gave sterling service for many years and was driven from new by Jimmy Atkinson until he left in 1948 due to the fact he did not want to drive for BRS when nationalisation took place.

An interior view of the cab can be seen in the picture below.

An Inside view of the cab of 1936 registered Leyland Beaver TSC 9 Reg No BTC 384 which had a Fowler built cab and body.

When reminiscing back in 2015 the late Tom Riding recalled…

“The inside roof was alternate 2 inch strips of dark and light varnished wood and there was a beautiful polished wood dash board all across the front that had to be kept spotless at all times. 

Notice the floor mounted starter button and the strong handbrake.

As a trailer boy at the time i remember that as we were coming down into Wigan town centre, on the old road, the driver was pressing so hard on the foot-brake that he used the back of the cab for more leverage, resulting in the drivers door springing open.

Happy Days”

Seen here parked outside Daniel Platt garage on Whittingham Lane Longridge this Leyland Beaver Model TSC 11A Reg No CWR 241 was first registered in October 1937.
Bought at an ex War Department sale it was fitted with a four cylinder petrol engine which was removed by Jim Riding and replaced with an 8.6 litre diesel engine with Jim also fitting all of Riding’s Beavers with the two stick gearbox that came out of ex War Department Leyland Retrievers.
Back in 2009 the late Tom Riding recalled…
“With the new 8.6 litre engine and gearbox, fitted by my father, the notorious steep Sawley Brow on the old A59 between Clitheroe and Gisburn was no longer a problem, and as a young boy in the 1940’s I travelled the land with this wagon with driver Dick Robinson”.

Pictured outside Riding’s Daniel Platt garage in Longridge is Leyland Beaver TSC 9 Reg No CTC 838 which was new in the month of August 1937.

It was driven for the first 10 years by Arthur Edleston who worked for the company all his life and was a foreman for around 30 years.

Believe it or not but this vehicle was built as new by Jim Riding and was registered JTC 676 in February 1948 long after Leyland’s had ceased production of this model.

It was built largely from new spare parts that had been acquired over the previous years including a brand new chassis that had been bought prior to the war and had the usual cab and body built by Fowlers of Leyland.

It is shown here loaded with Ribble Cement a company that would become known in later years as Castle Cement.

Leyland Beaver TSC 18 four wheeler Reg No FTC 391 was a new addition to the fleet in August 1942, the late Tom Riding recalled….

 “I remember this machine arriving brand new and it was so striking and modern looking.

It was the first Leyland we had with the Lockheed hydraulic brakes and the general opinion was that they were not as effective as the triple vacuum brakes that they had replaced from the TSC 9’s”.

Leyland Interim Beaver Reg No GTD 786 was Riding’s first post war Leyland fitted with the 7.4 litre engine in line with a five speed gearbox but was sadly lacking on braking power.

Back in 2017 the late Tom Riding recalled…..

 “Notice the chrome windscreens in place of the standard split type and the masses of chrome plate on the front trailer hitch.

The big aluminium radiator had to have it’s regular session with the Silvo polish, we just loved having them right”

This long narrow photograph shows the entire fleet of W & J Riding when the business was compulsory acquired by the British Transport commission. 

Taken on the 30th of June 1948, on the car park outside of the West Stand of Preston North End football ground, details and pictures of all the vehicles shown above can be seen individually on this page.

Tom Riding’s brother James, sister Irene and Tom are all seen on the photograph.

The people in the picture from left to right are…..

Tommy Smith, Tommy Elliot, Bob Swanson, Bill Hutchinson, James Atkinson, Irene Riding (sat in cab), James Riding, Tom Riding, Freddie Wolstenholme (aka Pluto), Dick Robinson, Jack Robinson and Harold Bristo. 

Two Leyland Lynx model WDZ1 first registered in November 1946 and January 1947 had a long and varied life at Riding’s.

Fitted with 6 cyl petrol engines both were fitted with tipping gear and they ran for several years hauling for the Bold Venture Lime Company.

Later, in 1953, they were both rebuilt at Leyland Motors Chorley and had new 350 Comet 90 diesel engines fitted as well as 5 speed gearboxes and Eaton 2 speed axles.

Leyland Lynx model WDZ1 was originally registered in November 1946 as Reg No GTE 516 (see previous picture).

It is seen here entering the third stage of its illustrious career newly turned out in Queensgate Motors Ltd livery and registered as Reg No RTD 173 to begin a new life as a flat platform lorry.

In March 1951 Jim Riding had bought Queensgate Motors from his brother-in-law Walter Carefoot and in 1954 the renamed Queensgate Motors (1954) Ltd ran as a separate company for a total of nine years from 1951 until 1962, after which time it was wholly amalgamated into the W & J Riding business and the Queensgate Motors name disappeared from all the vehicles when they were repainted.  

Leyland Lynx model WDZ1 Reg No RTC 914 was formerly Reg No GTE 515 (see previous two pictures) now in Queensgate Motors livery is seen here loading up at Huncoat Colliery.

Loaded to the gunwales with coal for local Lancashire mills and factories such as Courtaulds Preston, mills in Ramsbottom, Burnley, Blackburn, Bury, Clitheroe  as well as some loads for Stonyhurst college a lot of this work was done on behalf of Gilbraiths of Accrington as can be seen in a sample invoice from 1953 below.

Note the ‘COMET’ badge on the bonnet and marvel at the strength of the cab roof taking all the weight of driver Jimmy Wintler.

A piece of Queensgate Motors Ltd office memorabilia from the 7th of February 1953.

The invoice, sent to H. Gilbraith Greyhound Garage Accrington, was for work done on their behalf with the top line reading ‘ January 9th Nutty Slack Huncoat to Blackburn 7 ton @ 5s 6d a ton Total £1 18s 6d’