When I playfully prodded Tony Winn earlier in the week to see if as one of the most knowledgable contributors on the subject of Ralph Ferrie, he might have information on one of the entrepreneur’s old trucks, I never expected to strike gold. But by goodness, I did.
After posting the picture found by local history wonk [Howmuch?] of a young lad pulling on the starting handle, I never thought the vintage wagon it might expand into the history thread it did. But as readers so often do, you took the information an ran with it.
See the remarkable comment thread on the history of the truck, and how it very possibly featured in a major film. We’ve still not identified the lad, though.
Yesterday, Tony sent me the above great photo and news clipping at the foot of this article. We now learn the lorry was called ‘Bessie’.
I thought you might be interested in this newspaper cutting and photograph taken at Walsall Show in 1966.
Ralph Ferrie is obviously at the wheel and the ‘mechanic’ is John Petty, a local businessman who owned a scrap yard down the Butts in Walsall.
Brownhills Motor Sales was Ralph’s company (which was started by his father Charles), and for a while existed where the Co-op stands now on Streets Corner in Walsall Wood. There were also workshops variously behind the Station Hotel and alongside the old railway line up on the A5 at Watling Street, Brownhills.
Thanks to Tony for a wonderful contribution – who’d have thought such a seemingly incidental thing could spark such interest?
Anything to add? Comment here, or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.