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Newcastle Cart Restoration.

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A Classic Example of a Traditional Horse Drawn Cart.

Restoration of a rare traditional local cart by the Friends' Volunteers in the Projects Workshop.

Work is now finished and you can go straight to see the photograph of the completed Newcastle Cart?

Historical Background.

Photograph: Traditional Newcastle Cart from the North East of England.
With alternative description for non graphics or blind users.

The cart is of a style common to Newcastle builders and this example was made by Rickard Brothers, van, cart and rolley builders, of Stepney, Red Barns and Churchill Street (near Cattle Market), Newcastle. If anyone knows anything about Rickards, then I'd like to hear from them.

Chronological History of Project Reports.

(First printed in the Friends' Newsletters.)

Winter 2002.

The Newcastle cart is an exciting find, which John Gall made in Stapleton near Darlington. It is a large flat cart to be pulled by a horse, not a pony as we have grown accustomed to see today. It is completely rotten and only useful as patterns for a complete rebuild, but its rarity makes that worthwhile.

The job has begun and is being assessed so that we can begin to acquire materials and to put in had the making of missing parts. The lettering on the cart side is 'The D.C.F.A. Ltd. Arthur Street Mill'. If anyone can tell us what this means, then I'll be glad to hear from them at the Friends' Office.
The wheelwright was to examine the wheels from the recently acquired Newcastle cart for assessment for their replacement.

Summer 2003 report.

The Newcastle cart is a kit of parts, as all of the replacement woodwork is being fashioned. It will be assembled quite quickly once this process is complete.

The metal parts have already been blast cleaned and painted. So far no one has offered any information on Rickard Brothers, the builders or on the lettering which it carries, and which I mentioned in the last report - 'The D.C.F.A Ltd., Arthur Street Mill'.

If you have any information, which may help I'd like to hear from you.

NOTE: Further information about Rickard Brothers was collected in the following two reports but not for D.C.F.A.

Autumn 2003 report.

The Newcastle cart is rapidly taking shape, with the body being almost complete and the new wheels ready for their final paint and lining.

Rickard Brothers, who made the original, exhibited at the Royal Show at Newcastle in 1908. They advertised as 'Van, Cart and Rolley Builders' and their butcher's carts, milk floats, mineral water rolley, flat cart, ordinary rolleys and other business vehicles' displayed.

In the same year their address was given as 'Works. Stepney, Red Barns and Churchill Street (near Cattle Market)'.

Arthur Staddon has been to Stepney Bank to see what evidence remains, and it appears that the 'Works' may have lain between Stepney Road and Coquet Street and been replaced by a new building. There is also a notice on the wall of a new house in Crawhall Street saying 'Red Barns'.

We still have no information about the lettering carried by the cart, which read 'The D.C.F.A. Ltd., Arthur Street Mill'.

Winter 2003.

The cart has made good progress and is now standing on its new wheels. It is a substantial vehicle, which has survived by chance and may be the last one left of a type which was common in and around Newcastle and which can be seen in many period photographs (see above photograph).

The research about its maker has been fruitful so far and Elsie Denham has just turned up more information.

James Rickard established a cartwright's shop at 31 Churchill Street [near the Cattle Market] in 1867. In 1884-6 Rickard Brothers appear as cartwrights in Stepney Street and later the two businesses merge. They are all advertising as one business by 1911-12, so perhaps the 'Brothers' were the sons of James.

By 1896-7 Rickard Brothers had opened a second site at Red Barns in Coquet Street, and advertised as Stepney Cart and Rolley Works. The three sites were still active in 1921, but by 1922 the Coquet Street address was being used by G. Galley, charabanc proprietor.

In 1923 two sites were advertising, but by 1924 the business appears to have gone, which would fit with the rising numbers of motor vehicles appearing after World War I, many of them refurbished ex-War Department vehicles. Several coachbuilders managed the transition to motor vehicle body builders, but perhaps a 50 years old family business no longer had the energy?

When Owen Rooks, who is working at the rebuild, polished the brass hub caps, they show 'J. Rickard', which, when linked to the number '81' stamped into the axle ends, may indicate a build date of 1881. We still have no information about the lettering on the cart, which reads 'D.C.F.A. Ltd. Arthur Street Mill'.

There is an Arthur Street in Darlington, but it has no mill and a reference to 'Durham County Farmers Association' has been found in a Directory, but we don't know whether that is what the initials stood for. If you have any lead which may help, we are waiting to hear from you.

Spring 2004.

The Newcastle Cart has made good progress which when finally completed will be a substantial vehicle and may even be the only example of its type in existence.

Autumn 2004.

The Newcastle Cart is finally completed and will be added to the Museum collection.

Photograph: The completed Newcastle Cart looks really smart in its new paintwork and intricate lining (decoration).
With alternative description for non graphics or blind users.

Spring 2009.

We have been e-mailed, with information, relating to the inscription D.C.F.A.. An entry has been found in a 1922 telephone directory for Durham County Farmers Association Ltd., Agricultural Merchants, The Mill, Arthur Street, Crook, Co. Durham (telephone Crook 12).

It seems likely that this is the answer to our question and we are very grateful for the information. Look out for the cart in use, on site, at Beamish.


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