Former Mansfield Coal Merchants

Former Mansfield Coal Merchants


J A Alcock & Son Coal Merchants Mansfield

John Arthur Allcock (who was always known as Arthur) was born in 1899 the son of John Henry Allcock, blacksmith, at Upper Pleasley Derbyshire.

Having worked initially at Pleasley Colliery and later Bilsthorpe Colliery he founded what was to become J A Alcock & Son Coal Merchants in December 1938 when he rented a house, yard and stables on Southwell Road and with a horse and cart he and his wife Doris traded as J A & D Alcock coal merchants

In today’s parlance their ‘unique selling point’ was that they were apparently the first coal merchants in the Mansfield area who would supply 1 cwt of coal delivered directly into the coal house or cellar, and sometimes directly to the side of the fire. Prior to this the minimum delivery was ½ ton (10 cwts) tipped in the street with an extra charge to “get it in”.

Around 1953 the name became J  A Alcock & Son when Arthur’s youngest son Albert joined the company on his ‘coming of age’, in reality he had been working for his parents for a number of years.

Albert continued the coal business until his retirement when the coal merchants business became part of NFL, now CPL, on the Crown Farm Industrial Estate.

As with many others of the time John Arthur also carried on other businesses such as, haulage contractor, hackney carriage hire (taxis), wedding and funeral cars and he had an interest in Ringway Haulage Manchester with his son-in- law Norman Llewellyn.

During the period of time the business was run by Arthur’s son Albert they were also involved with general haulage, were a licenced waste carrier, machinery movers, goods vehicle maintenance, vehicle body building, etc. and were apparently quite adept at moving grand pianos

J. A. Alcock & Son continues in business today and is now run by Arthur’s great grandson Ross Alcock but no longer as coal merchants or haulage contractors.

Other local coal merchants of the time I remember are;

H Armstrong & Son

Malc Armstrong Their yard was on Bridge Street behind the Bridge Tavern

There were two other, unconnected, Armstrong transport companies in Mansfield at the time although I don’t think either were coal merchants, they were both removal companies.

Ivan Bramley

His yard was on Bancroft Lane, they were also Funeral Directors and wedding car hire, they are still trading as Funeral Directors


Ted & Eddie Brown. Their yard was on Mount Pleasant off Westfield Lane

Bob Carlin

His yard was on Prospect Street off Broxtowe Drive,

W Crowder and Sons

Walter Crowder. They are still on Bowling Street and are still trading as coal merchants

W S Inghams

Their yard was on Poplar Grove, Forest Town, they were also Funeral Directors and are still trading as Funeral Directors

Harvey Johnson

His yard was on Clifton Grove at the junction with Jenny Beckets Lane

Wilf Redfern

His yard was at the Sherwood Hall, Forest Town

Wilf also ran charabanc trips to Skegness at the weekends by fitting a ‘coach’ body on to the back of the coal lorry

He later ran proper coaches and I believe the business continues as part of Johnson Brothers Travel in Mansfield Woodhouse.

Jimmy Spinks

His yard was at Rainworth adjacent to Ivy Cottage now part of the Co-op.

His yard was later home to Red Fern Coaches not to be confused with Wilf Redfern’s above.

Vic Wordsworth

His yard was either on Skegby Lane or in Skegby, I forget which.


Marjorie Whittaker. Her yard was at Blidworth


Their yard was in the Midland Railway Goods Yard on Wharf Road which has now disappeared under the Portland Retail Park.

I think some of their coal came by rail, I recall going, with my father, to collect what I think was Welsh anthracite for a customer which was obviously not available from the local collieries.

I also have a recollection as a child going with my father to the Great Central Railway Goods Yard on Baums Lane and loading coal directly from the railway wagons but I don’t know why.

Comments about this page

  • My father was a coal merchant for many years in Mansfield Woodhouse. Harold Paling. I can recall fetching coal from Shirebrook pit at a young age, bagging lump coal from wooden railway trucks, it was hard work. Sometimes 1 lump would weigh 1 cwt.

    By paul paling (22/09/2020)
  • The little boy on the horse is apparently my father, a very young Albert Alcock, he would be about 6 or 7.
    The young man by the lorry is also Albert Alcock , with his dog Tinker, he would be in is late teens or early twenties.

    By Chris Alcock (12/03/2019)
  • Who is the little boy on the horse Chris?

    By Pauline Marples (10/03/2019)
  • Although I can just recall visiting Wilfs yard as a child with my father I can only really remember Wilf in later years when he could be seen keeping the streets of Forest Town clean. I don’t know when he started in business.

    By Chris Alcock (19/02/2019)
  • Hi Chris
    I don’t suppose you know any dates for Wilf Redfern at Forest Town. The coach company are hoping to celebrate their heritage and are looking for information.

    By Liz Weston (13/02/2019)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *