Website of the Laceby History Group

The Carrier

For more than 100 years the person who had a great influence on village life was the Carrier. His importance has largely been overlooked in most Social Histories, as he appears as a fleeting mention. An article in The Grimsby News in the 1950s says,

'The carrier was an essential part of country life until the petrol age. The villages just could not have done without him. No village was self-supporting. The market where people sold the things they had produced and bought the supplies they needed, was absolutely essential to rural life. For contact with that market, the village depended largely on the carriers. (In the early days) 2d or 3d was the usual charge for delivering a parcel and it had to be a very big one to be worth 6d. Minimum now is 9d or Is. Carriers' carts stood wheel to wheel along the side of the Bull Ring. No wonder the place was thronged with country people, all seeking the services of their own carrier'.

A quote from "The Rise of Grimsby' by Bob Lincoln, vol. 1 says that in Grimsby in 1845, there were 2 tied coaches. The regular mail for Louth and a common passenger conveyance with a luggage waggon between Grimsby and Louth. The cornmon conveyance from the noted bathing place Cleethorpes passed through Grimsby (& Laceby?) to Lincoln and a comfortable omnibus, the property of Mrs. Parker of Grimsby ran at stated times between Grimsby (Laceby?) and Caistor. In addition there were upwards of 30 carriers who regularly attended the Grimsby Market from the neighbouring villages.

In 1876 Watson's 'Laceby & Grimsby Compendium' country carriers were listed as:-

LACEBY
Pratt, Ship Inn. Daily '
Pickwell & Keal, Marquis of Granby. Daily
Robinson, Ship Inn. Friday.
Dray ton. Saturday.

Country people depended on the carrier and in turn, he depended on his horse. Charles Dickens had something to say about that in David Copperfield 'The carrier's horse was the laziest in the world and shuffled along with his head down as if he liked to keep people waiting to whom the packages were directed. I fancied, indeed, that he sometimes chuckled audibly. The carrier had a way of keeping his head down like his horse and of drooping sleepily forward as he drove' .

'The Horse in the Furrow' gives a further insight into the carrier's life. 'He had a two horse waggon with a hood on it. He left the village at 9am and returned from the town at 4pm. In between, the carrier would chase around the town with a long list of things that people had asked him to get. You paid him tuppence - quite a bit of money in the early days - but he'd go all over the town to get what you wanted. He came back to the village in the evening; the journey back took longer because of the deliveries. He took passengers too. You sat on a kind of a form and you would find your feet resting on anything from hens to a side of bacon'.

Here is a list of the Laceby Carriers from Directories:-

1826
John Richardson

1849
To Grimsby - Friday

John Markham
James Markham
John Trout

To Hull - Tuesday
John Trout 

To Louth - Wednesday
John Markham
James Markham

1855
Thomas Clark  : To Grimsby - Friday : To Louth - Wednesday
Michael Kirman : To Grimsby - Friday : To Hull - Fortnightly
John Markham : To Grimsby - Friday 

1861
Thomas Clark : To Grimsby - Friday : To Louth - Wednesday
John Markham : To Grimsby - Friday : To Hull - Tuesday
Licensed to let horses 

1868
Thomas Clark : To Grimsby - Friday : To Louth - Wednesday : To Caistor - Saturday
William Pratt : To Grimsby - Daily
Mark Pickwell : To Grimsby - Daily
William Drayton : To Grimsby - Daily 

1872
To Grimsby - Daily

John Pratt
Mark Pickwell
William Drayton

Thomas Clark : To Grimsby - Friday : To Louth - Wednesday : To Casitor - Saturday

1876
William Wallace : To Grimsby - Friday : To Louth - Wednesday : To Caistor - Saturday

To Grimsby - Daily
John Pratt 
Mark Pickwell
George Kean

1882

To Grimsby - Daily
Mark Pickwell
John Pratt
Williarn Rickell

1885

To Grimsby - Daily
John Pratt
John Rand

1889

To Grimsby - Daily
John Pratt
George Grimoldby
William Hill 

1892

To Grimsby - Daily
Isaac Cater
George Grimoldby
John Pratt 

1896

To Grimsby - Daily
John Pratt
George Grimoldby
Isaac Cater

To Grimsby - Mon.Fri.Sat
Joseph Stocks 

1900

To Grimsby - Daily
John Pratt
George Grimoldby
Isaac Cater 

1905

To Grimsby - Daily
Joe Pratt
George Grimoldby
Isaac Cater

Omnibus to Grimsby
Mon. to Fri. 8am and 4pm
Saturday 8am, 4pm & 6.30pm 

1909

To Grimsby - Daily
Joe Pratt
George Grimoldby
Williarn Windley

Omnibus to Grimsby 8am, 12.30pm, 5pm
From Grimsby 9.30am, 1.30pm, 6.30pm 

1913

To Grimsby - Daily
Francis Oldfield
William Windley
John Sowden

Omnibus to Grimsby 8am & 5pm
From Grimsby 9.30am & 6.30pm 

1919

To Grimsby - Daily
William Rook

Omnibus to & from Grimsby Daily 

1920 / 1922 / 1926 / 1930 /1933 / 1937
William Rook - to Grimsby Daily 

1933 - Omnibus to Grimsby, Caistor, Scunthorpe & Brigg Daily

CARRIERS PLACES IN GRIMSBY

1876
Ship Inn - Flottergate
Marquis of Granby - Bull Ring
Old Kings Head - Victoria Street (Woolworths)
Black Swan - Victoria Street (top)
Yarborough Tavern - Bethlehem Street (Vaults)
White Hart - Level Crossing (Wellowgate)

FROM PERSONAL MEMORIES

Frederick Rook (son) took over from his father William Rook & Norman Rook (grandson) took over from his father Frederick Rook

Mick Green then bought the business from Norman and continued operating until about 1951. He had a covered lorry and operated from No. 6 Cooper Lane. He charged 6d a parcel & brought meat, laundry & umbrellas from Grimsby.

William Rook was running a motor lorry in the late 20' s or early 30's.

Elsie Mansfield recalled getting butter from the Maypole by him.

1951 Frank Goodhand of Canada Lane, Caistor ran a lorry through Laceby to Grimsby. If you required him to call you placed a sack over your gate. If you'd asked him to collect pullets then during the day you made the shed for them.

'Patience is a virtu' it is said. In those days it was needed by a carrier's customers because not only was the horse renowned for it's slowness the carrier was reported to be the bearer of gossip to each port of call.

One prospective customer was asked by the carrier 'Do you want a lift home?' to which the reply was, 'No thanks, I'm in a hurry!'

But life was much slower then . . . . •

by Peter Gosden.