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Robert Wynn of Newport

When you think of heavy haulage in Britain, two names are always to the forefront, Pickfords and our own Wynns of Newport. 

WYNNS was established in Newport, Monmouthshire, in 1863 by Thoams Wynn who as a railway employee , he saw an opportunity in improving the distribution of goods sent by rail.  He left the railways and set up in business using a fleet of horses and carts, he transported goods that were delivered directly to Newport by rail . He later  formed an association with a local flour mill, delivering flour to bakeries and shops in the Monmouthshire valleys.

After the death of Thomas Wynn in 1878, his 15 year-old son, Robert Wynn (who later gave his name to the company) took over the business with the help of his eldest sister, Emma. The business continued to grow and Robert saw the possibilities for heavy haulage as the steel works in Newport were developed. In 1890 he built a boiler wagon capable of carrying 40 tons of heavy machinery with the propulsion still provided by up to 48 horses.

Steam power was introduced in 1890 with new traction engines and tractors coming to the fore. Even so, horses were still used by WYNNS into the late 1940s.

 By 1902 the firm was expanding so rapidly that new premises were acquired at Shaftesbury Street, Newport - a fact not lost on the current Managing Director Peter Wynn when he renamed his new company premises in Eccleshall. In addition to a large yard, there were several houses and stabling for 200 horses.

In 1923 the firm became incorporated as Robert Wynn and Sons Ltd but unfortunately later in that year Robert died, leaving his share to be divided between the three eldest brothers. It was also around this time that the bulk of the traction engines were phased out and steam wagons were introduced. It was these steam wagons that operated the "London Trunk". A service transporting locally produced goods to London, and then returning with various products for distribution by County wholesalers.

1930 saw the introduction of the Road Traffic Act and a gross weight limit of 24 tons and this made the steam wagons simply unprofitable, and they were replaced with 6- and 8 - wheeled Scammells, powered by the new Gardner Diesel engines.

During the Second World War huge quantities of heavy machinery needed to be moved, and the company again helped the war effort in every possible way. The War's end triggered the haulage of much heavier loads as newly-built factories required massive equipment. The first 120 ton trailer was created, largely in WYNNS' own workshops, for this kind of transport. Then a fortuitous combination arose : the Steel Company of Wales opened a works in Margam increasing the need for heavy haulage, additionally the new factory increased electricity demand meaning that more power stations were commissioned in the area.

The start of 1947 saw the nationalisation of road transportation and many of WYNNS' competitors were taken over by Pickfords.  Rivalry, between the two companies , although good-natured, was intense. In one famous instance, despite Pickfords having a contract with the North British Locomotive Company for haulage of their locomotives to the docks , Percy Wynn secured the contract to display one of these locomotives at the Festival of Britain exhibition in London. WYNNS hauled it from Surrey Commercial Dock, through the streets of London, to the Exhibition site in Battersea. Then, twelve months later, they moved it back - a publicity stunt still fondly recalled amongst the WYNNS faithful today.

It was the innovative Percy Wynn too who quietly developed the use of pneumatic tyres and hydraulic suspension systems with Cranes of Dereham and Dunlops, creating the first 16-wheeled, 150 ton capacity trailer. It is this dynamic spirit, innovation and foresight that has kept the name of WYNNS at the forefront of heavy loads transportation to this day.

In the early Sixties, the five brothers were either at or past retirement age and realised that they had reached a cross-roads in the development of the company, but they decided that WYNNS should be sold. Pickfords made several offers, but were turned down. 

On February 7th 1964 the company was sold to United Transport. The brothers stayed on as directors and WYNNS went from strength to strength. Industries boomed, and WYNNS were the main force in heavy road transport. New Nicholas trailers and the brute power of the Scammell Contractors which, carried names such as -  'Conqueror', 'Dreadnought' and 'Hercules' meant that, as John Wynn famously said, "no job was considered impossible. It just took a little longer."

But by 1985 WYNNS had become totally absorbed into United Transport and the WYNNS name slowly disappeared from the nation's roads.

Footnote.  In  1996, recognising the need within the transportation industry for a truly independent specialist, Peter Wynn, great great grandson of its founder, re-launched the company. The name of WYNNS resurrected in the transport industry as the only recognised independent consultants specialising in abnormal load transport. Drawing on the vast experience accumulated by familial knowledge WYNNS have continued their tradition of innovation, already achieving several "firsts" to the direct benefit of WYNN's Clients.

This History of Wynns is based on the Wynns History Series by John Wynn - Director and Assistant General Manager, Robert Wynn and Sons Limited, 1963 - 1982 with thanks. Photos supplied by John Harrington from his private collection.

This wonderful photo of a Diamond T American built tractor unit was used as a publicity postcard by Wynns.

Photo from the collection of John Harrington

Photo from the collection of John Harrington

An American made Pacific, 192 in the fleet ( GDW277), believed ex. military suitably modified in the cab area.

Photo from theJohn Harrington collection

Wynn's Diamond T former tank transport tractor unit leaves the GEC factory at Stafford with a giant turbine. The identification of this unit is unknown.

Photo from the John Harrington collection.

Another Diamond T, this is KDW560

Photo from the John Harrington collection

A close up of one of the Wynn's massive double trailers being towed by what could be a Scammell.

Photo from the John Harrington collection.


Scammell no. 87 in the Wynn's fleet is seen on a contruction site.

Photo is part of the John Harrington collection.





We hope you enjoyed this small selection of photos and thank John Harrington for taking time off from his own Wynn;s restoration project (see Preservation Page) to scan and send them to us for your pleasure.

Now we are waiting for your photos ................


The Wynns photo gallery is split into archive photos of yesterday and photos of restored former Wynnd lorries in preservation, not always in Wynns livery however ! 

One of the mighty Diamond T´s in the Wynns fleet is seen hauling a diesel railway locomotive,  anyone able to offer any more information from this publicity photo ? 



An untouched historic photo of a Foden bought for GBP. 2878.00 in 1941. The trailer with its solid tyres suggests it was originally hauled by a steam road locomotive.


Photo from the John Harrison Collection


Here we would like to see your Wynns lorry photos  in preservation, under restoration, at rallies even if they no longer carry Wynns livery.  Thank you.


©2005 David Griffiths