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).

Garage Vans

Back in 2013 the late Tom Riding recalled below the need for always having a number of garage vans in the fleet…

 “Operating a large fleet such as ours required a fair number of fitters to maintain and repair our vehicles in our own workshops.

The fitters also needed to go out on the road to breakdowns etc so we used a number of different makes of vans over the years including Bedford, Austin Morris and Ford Escort vans which I nearly always bought second hand mainly because they got knocked about so much.

The Ford Escort’s were fast, good to drive and the fitters liked them the only problem was keeping on top of the stupid timing belt which should have been chain driven”.

Austin Morris Marina van Reg No STJ 250L Fleet No 31 ‘Dainty’ was purchased brand new from Dunderdale & Yates of Preston at a cost of £734 plus vat in August 1972 which was unusual as virtually all garage vans entering service with the fleet were purchased second hand.

This particular van was provided for the transportation of the tanker drivers working out of the ICI plant at Runcorn enabling them to get back to their home base at Longridge rather than spend nights out on the site.

After ten years service STJ 250L was withdrawn and scrapped on the 21st of August 1982.

Photograph courtesy of Geoff Milne.

Ford Escort van Reg No RJP 182M Fleet No 28 ‘Dandy’ was originally registered new on the 5th of February 1974.

It was purchased second hand when just over two years old for £625 plus vat from local dealer Syd Hartley on the 1st August 1976.

Used as a general fitters vehicle it would have been thrashed up and down the motorway on breakdowns and tyre changes during it’s life at Riding’s.

After six years use it was eventually sold to Mr Jim Yeates, who was one of Riding’s painters, for £100 on the 25th May 1982.

Photograph courtesy of Geoff Milne.

This 6 CWT Bedford panel van, Reg No URN 507R ‘Agile’, was originally registered new on the 16th of August 1976.

Purchased second-hand when two years old on the 6th of May 1978 from Holden & Hartley Ltd of Burnley it cost of £750 plus vat.

It remained in the garage fleet for four years until it was sold on the 27th of May 1982 for the sum of £150 plus vat to a Mr N Dewhurst of Hacking Drive Longridge who ran it for a further three years until it was scrapped in February 1985.

 Photograph courtesy of Geoff Milne.

Ford Escort 45 van Reg No WVK 685T Fleet No 60 ‘Agile’ was registered new on the 4th of April 1979 and was powered by a 1300 petrol engine.

Purchased second hand from local dealer S. Hartley, on the 10th of May 1982 for £1,150 plus vat when three years old, it was used by the mechanics for seven years after which time it was sold on the 14th of April 1989 to a member of the garage staff for £45 plus vat

The late Tom Riding is pictured in the driving seat of Ford Escort van Reg No F925 NPM at the premises of the late Syd Hartley, a local vehicle dealer, who was a great friend to Tom Riding.

Over the years Syd found dozens of nearly new low mileage Seddon Atkinson tractor unit’s saving Tom Riding the huge expense of investing in brand new ones.

Another shot of Ford Escort van Reg No F925 NPM this time seen parked up in the busy Longridge depot outside the garage.

Registered new on the 12th of December 1988, it would have been around four years old when Tom Riding bought it second hand.

Photograph courtesy of Chris Richards.

Ford Escort van Reg No F906 FSU, registered new on the 28th of October 1988 to Charles Alexander, was purchased second hand by Tom Riding when four years old on the 10th January 1992 at a cost of £1,166+vat.

The late Tom Riding recalled……

“The group decided to close Charles Alexander and Partners down and this van had been based at the nearby Penwortham depot near Preston.

I decided to relocate it to Longridge as it was quite new and in good condition but unfortunately the only drawback for it’s drivers was that it always stunk of fish”.

It was scrapped on the 27th January 1997 with the engine transferred in to Ford Escort van Reg No F925 NPM.

Photograph courtesy of Chris Richards.

Another shot of Ford Escort garage van Reg No F906 FSU parked up in the depot at Longridge alongside ERF E10 4×2 tractor unit Reg No F560 ACK Fleet No 106 ‘Scafell Pike’ which was assigned to the Verbrugge contract.

Photograph courtesy of Chris Richards.

Ford Escort Van Reg No F456 FWG was registered new on the 4th of April 1989 and joined the fleet as a second hand purchase in 1993.

It is pictured parked in the depot at Longridge in front of the garage which housed Tom Riding’s fully restored and persevered Scammell Rigid 8.

Photograph courtesy of Chris Richards