GEORGE SHAKESHAFT’S TRUCK
By Doug Holloway who worked for the Shakeshafts from July 1948 until June 1971 and also as a schoolboy during holidays and at weekends.
This was almost certainly made when George started his building and undertaking business in the early 1900s. It may have been made by him or possibly the Osbornes of Potterspury who were wheelwrights. The original wheels were iron rimmed similar to small cartwheels and were of larger diameter than the present ones.
The truck was painted in ‘Stone Colour’ paint with cobalt blue ornamental bead on the sides. Stone colourer paint was mixed by using Cookson’s heavy bodied White Lead paint and adding Yellow Ochre, Brown Umber and a little Raw Sienna (all pigments were ground in linseed oil). The wheel spokes and ferrules were painted in Red Lead paint (bright orange).
The original wheels became worn and unsafe in the mid 1960s and the pair of wheels now on the truck were taken from the bier (that was then disused) and were modified to be used on the truck. (Sheer luxury with solid rubber tyres.)
The truck was used right up until the mid 1970s when Dennis Shakeshaft retired. When loaded level full with ballast with a bag of cement on top it must have weighed around a quarter of a ton!
Materials, tools and ladders were pushed for many miles on the truck. I remember having pushed it to Stoke Bruerne, Grafton Regis, Potterspury, Furtho, Cosgrove, old Stratford and Stony Stratford during the 23 years that I worked for the Shakeshafts.
We now have information from David Shakeshaft who has records that the truck was made by Percy Atkins (Yardley Gobion) in 1901 and the cartwheels made by Osbornes (Potterspury).
This linen Blue Circle Cement bag must date from the 1920s or early 1930s or even earlier, as paper sacks were in use by the late 1930s. I found it folded on the top of a stone wall in a barn that we were re-roofing for Mrs Talbot at 1 Grays Lane. Tony Allwork, who was a bricklayer for J. S. Cowley & Son, Stony Stratford said that he could remember the older builders wives washing these bags and using them for pillow cases. (Tony built the Vicarage at Potterspury in 1983).
BUILDER AND CARPENTER’S WORKSHOP
behind 15 High Street Yardley Gobion
Workshop approximately 40ft. long and 18ft. wide. Timber weather boarded construction with corrugated iron roof