James Booth was founded in the early 1900’s, as coal merchants to the people of Bolton. This was a time when virtually every house had a chimney, and burning coal was the best method of creating heat in the home.
Using a horse and cart, James Booth would deliver hundredweight sacks from his stable (where he founded the company) to customers around the local area.
Each sack had to be hefted on to the cart and then carried on his back to every household. James Booth has always been a family business and Mr Booth’s six children (three boys and three girls) were all expected to help out at every opportunity.
On the death of the founder Mr James Booth, son John followed his father into this labour intensive business, where a customers trust in the quality and service provided were vital to success.
By this time motor vehicles were starting to increase in popularity. The business, while continuing to act as coal merchants, additionally did some tipper road haulage for local traders, particularly builders.
During the Second World War however, the company’s lorries were commandeered to help with the war effort, such as building airfields. At the same time, the majority of the drivers received their call up papers; so old men and horses were called out of retirement to keep the home fires burning.
At war’s end, and for several years after, it was impossible to replace the now worn-out vehicles. “Old faithfuls” had to be patched together and kept going with a mixture of ingenuity and whatever came to hand.
The strain of keeping a business going under such circumstances took its toll on John Booth and in 1947 the family coal business was sold. The firm decided to concentrate on the haulage side of the business operating a fleet of twenty, 3 & 5 tonne tipper lorries. The premature death of John Booth in1949 started a difficult period for the firm, which was starved of money as a result of death duties. John’s wife Phyllis Booth came into the business and was again helped by his two brothers Charles and Jim Booth.
John and Phyllis’s son Barrie joined the company in 1951, then aged 15 years and became involved both working in the garage and driving the vehicles.
The company continued with tipper vehicles, slowly increasing in the capacity they could carry. By the early 1960’s each vehicles average load had grown from 3 to 10 tonnes, with some able to move as much as 20 tonnes.
“Other times, other methods” applies as much to go ahead family businesses as to any other type of business. Barrie took over the running of the company and proved to be another Booth ready to contribute to the continuing development of the family firm. Barrie steered the company through good times and bad, taking it from strength to strength for over 50 years.
Following Barrie’s death in 2015, his daughter Sarah J Booth is now at the helm.
Throughout its changing history, James Booth has remained constant in its use of heavy haulage vehicles, often pioneering new developments in this area. In 1972 the company diversified into the waste business.
Four years later in 1976 the company acquired a landfill site and a Quarry, from which high quality brick shale could be extracted for sale to brick makers.
By 1978 the fleet had expanded to include the first rear-end loading refuse vehicles in the North West. These were capable of emptying a previously impossible ten skips at once.
Eight years later however, this was dwarfed by another first: front-end loaders. This idea, first employed in America, allowed each of James Booth’s vehicles to service a previously unheard off forty skips each day.
In 1989, the waste collection side of the enterprise was sold, to the construction and land fill giants Wimpey Waste Management.
James Booth (Bolton) Ltd currently operates a modern fleet of commercial tippers. They are capable of hauling any material that can be transported in bulk quantities.
Since the demise of the coal industry, the bulk haulage side of the business evolved from transportation of coal, including pneumatic deliveries, to haulage from quarries and transportation of rock salt to various destinations.
James Booth (Bolton) Limited is on Compass Minerals’ (formerly Salt Union) list of approved hauliers and has secured contracts to deliver salt into various depots across the UK.
James Booth (Bolton) Ltd continues to grow and develop with the times and currently operates a modern fleet of commercial tippers