A History of YALDING, Kent, England
MONCKTON'S TRANSPORT (Article repeated from Chronicles 1935 with additional photo.)
This haulage company was a familiarsight in our village throughout the second quarter of the last century, by using a yard by the side of the now discontinued Two Brewers public house in The Square.
Tucks sieves and pecks are just a few of the technical names encountered within the wholesale fruit trade and play an important part in the transportation of the latter from grower to market as told in the insuing tale of a Kentish haulier who built his business on the demand for such services.
Yalding is a small, quiet, picturesque Kentish village lying well off' the beaten track halfway up the Medway valley. Its main claim to fame is that for many years it has held the somewhat notorious reputation of being the English parish producing the largest crop of hops and is, indeed, at the very centre of the Kentish hop growing area. It is therefore hardly surprising to learn that when Wally and Harry Monckton decided to set up there as haulage contractors the movement of hops would become a very important part of their activities.
Using their demobilisation Army gratuities the brothers set up shop in 1919, having
both served in the Armed Forces during the First World War, and with apprenticeships
completed at Tilling-
bodywork, but with ever increasing demand for larger and heavier loads, `trailing axles' were often added and many hauliers supplemented this further by using drawbar trailers, thereby increasing payload by yet another 4 or 5 tons, a practice that W & F Monckton likewise were far from slow to adopt.
The fleet continued to grow and by the early 1930’s it was realised that the company’s long distance work necessitated a vehicle of more substantial construction than those currently used. Thus it was decided to invest in AEC's and a number of these were soon to he seen sporting the W & H Monckton name on their headboards. For more local work, lighter types such as Guys and Thornycrofts were used, joined by Albions and Bedfords by the end of the decade. So by 1939 the fleet numbered some dozen vehicles, the mainstay being AEC's. Much of the work was of course agricultural, with hops playing the most important role, particularly every Autumn.
Most hop producers prior to the mid-
It wasn't easy working in road transport between the wars as many an old hand will
testify and one didn't usually see home from one week's end to another, so far as
driving was concerned. Bill Pearson joined the business at the age of 16 way back
in 1927 as a driver's mate, when lorries were run literally day and night. He well
remembers how one always respected one's driver as the boss when out on the road.
An example of this was when, on frequent occasions, the oil burning sidelights would
blow out and a nudge from the driver would indicate to Bill that these needed re-
It was just a matter of months before Wally Monckton confronted Bill about his age.
Wally reckoned he must now be 17 (the legal age to drive a motor vehicle), and despite
his protestations that he was still only 16 Bill found himself issued with a driving
license and undertaking his first run to London when a regular driver fell sick.
This was on the old six-