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12th September 1922
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A Wonderful Demonstration of the Developments of the Past 20 Years, and of the Potentialities of the Power-driven Vehicle.

PRESTON GUILD MERCHANT, 1902-1922, what a study in contrasts ! This important event, the history of which, dates hack to the 12th century and is celebrated at intervals of 20 years, was held last week (September 4th to 9th), and was one of the most telling evidences possible of 20 years' evolution in the sphere of road transport —to deal only with that side of the proceedings which interests our readers. Quite by a fortuitous circumstance, the writer rubbed shoulders with a visitor. who owed his presence in Preston that day to aeroplane flight. "Why did I come by air? " he said, when interro gated. Well, 20 years ago a party of seven of us went to the Guild by.motore car from Liverpool. We paid two guineas a head. and travelled along the King's. highway at an average speed of. 13 miles an hour. When the festivities were over, we jointly and severally agreed that if we were alive in 1922 we would make the journey by the latest available system of travel—by air, if necessary— and here 7 am," Such is the onward march of time.

Twenty years ago the motor coach and omnibus were mere fancies, To-day they are pregnant and omnipresent realties. But the other day (so it seems) the Preston streets resounded to the clatter of horses' hoofs and the motor, the cynosure of all eyes, was regarded as an intruder. The proportion was about one self-propelled vehicle to 2.00 horse-drawn conveyances. The last Guild week offered the amazing spectacle represented by a reversal of there figures. To view huge parks of motor vehicles atimportant national furctions is no new sight to the writer, but on Wednesday last the

bird's-eye view of the Preston Guild traffic established new standards so . far as the visible and numerical importance of road transport is -concerned. " It is amazing where all the motors come from!' people were heard to remark when they stepped off the motor coaches at the parks set up by the Preston Corporation, but that, again, was but an evidence of the inadequately estimated service which the passenger motor vehicle is to the present-day generation. About 10,090 motor vehicles visited Preston on Wednesday, a police official estimated.

The Guild procession on Wednesday sufficed to place the transport systems, ancient and modern, in juxtaposition and in fitting perspective—a panorama represented by horse vehicles (including a 150year-old stage coach), an 1824 fire-engine, motor fire-engines, tank wagons, motor horeebox (to illustrate " the 'passing of

the horse "), self-propelled tower wagon, a fine series of exhibits by Leyland Motors, Ltd., steam wagons, motor coaches, electric vehicles, motor caravans, etc., in almost endless profusion.

Something like one million people must have visited Preston that day, and, although the railways had their full share of traffic, so did the motor coach and bus proprietors, some of whose vehicles entered the town before daybreak and

took up stands at street corners, where, with the rear wheels raised on wooden blocks' passengers could command an excellent view of the proceedings. Scores of coaches were so utilized, and not only the. visiting vehicles, but some of those owned locally. The corporation motor parks were rather poorly patronized.

For visiting coaches the corporation had provided seven parking grounds in distant, parts of the town, one for traffic from. Blackpool and district, another for Liverpoei and Southport, another Mandeafer, Bohoa and. Wigan, etc, Of course, the movements of ordinary traffic, wliiele in Preston, is normally very heavy, had to be adjusted to the extraordinary conditions, and, owing to the Lancashire Agricultural Show being held in Preston at the same time, practically every vehicle had is printed slip pasted on the windscreen indicating whether the vehicle wee (1) passing through, (2) procecinas!, to she Agricultural Show, or (3) participating in Guild proceedings. In this manner the duties of the police in directing traffic operations were ctinsiderably facilitated. Their task was by no means easy, for, for a. comparatively small town, the eumber of foreign coaches, buses and cars in Preston on Wednesday was colossal. From the manufacturing towns there was a wholesale exodus, and the few coach owners with whom • the writer conversed admitted that. last week was the busiest week they had had this season. There were private parties galore, and some .good prices were paid. Some valiant spirits travelled by coach overnight from Yorkshire, • and there were several vehicles in the town from the Midlands and the North Country. On the Monday and Tuesday drivers in munv cases simply had to trust to luck in loading op the right passengers. " All here foe soand-so ? ". was the question which some drivers put. to their assembled passengers at the departure time, and if they answered the affirmative off he drove. The inrident serves to point out the advisability of coach owners issuing tickets in return for fares, in the same way that other passenger transport organizations do. The writer was told that on Sunday the town was blocked with traffic from one end to the other.

Fully 50 per cent, of the vehicles participating in the trades processions were self-propelled, which mustbe regarded 1326

as an exceedingly gratifying proportion, bearing in mind that 20 years .ago the wagons which took part were exclusively horse-drawn. In One fleeting glance one was presented with the whale history of transport, from the days of the peekmule down to the present-day motor, in tableaux and representations.

Not only were some of the well-known concerns of motor and coach builders well in the limelight, but the operatives as well, ail obviously proud of the products of their labours. Leylaud Motors, Ltd., had about a div.en exhibits, four

of which showed examples of early vehicle construction of historical interest. Then came the first self-propelled tireengine in the conutry, a steam-driven machine, which was put into service by the Leyland Council in 1903. To 11416trate r` the passing of the horse,'' motor horsebox was the next exhibit, followed by a 1,C00-gallon tank wagon (Shell), a complete mobile field workshop, and two tractor-lorries—one with

Carrimore and the other -with a Ban: some attachment. One of them lied a load of eight tons of hay and the other— one of an •Overseas order for three— cases containing three complete motor lorries.

The National Union of Vehicle Builders told a similar 'story of transport progress in different words, starting with wheel construction work in progress on a lorry, motor bodywork instruction in progress (Karrier), 150 years' old stage coach, a po'ehay, and finishing with a splendidly finished motor caravan.

The Transport and General Workers' Union had a different conception of trans port progress as typified by donkeys ar d ules with panniers, sleigh and, horse, o.,dinary cart and horse, horse lorries, Edison self-tipping wagon, steam waged and Dennis coach. A concern of engineers turn-ed out a fleet of Leylands: showing boilermakers piying their trade, oxy-acetylene plane in operation pattern. makers at work, and a two-colour eon1 tents bill-printing machine mounted on a lorry. Atkinson steam lorries were•prominent, and three were displayed (4, 5 and 6-totiners), showing fitters constructing a steam wagon engine, fitters mounting a boiler, etc.

The whole story of the textile industry was told in tableaux, mounted on motor and horse lorries, which numerically were about equally divided. Leyland and Thornycroft vehicles comprised the majority of the self-propelled class, and carried carding, weaving and other machinery used in the cotton industry.

The Leyland and Birmingham Rubber Co. had three lorries in the procession on which rubber products and the various methods connected with production were staged. Melon Brothers' vehicles conveyed the company's tyre presses as well as machinery required for rubber manufacture.

For traffic this year's Guild has broken all records. It may seem remarkable that in the year 1922 that this was the first Preston Guild in which mechanically propene:. vehiclessteare, petrol and electric—have taken part. It was an amazing panorama of progress, presenting possiSilities beyond computation. The next Preston Guild will be in 1942— 1942 ! What then ?