Benbow Brothers Timber Ltd

History of Benbow Brothers

A visual historical archive of the company.

All the images presented here were shot by Benbow Bros employees and are copyright 2008-2010 Benbow Brothers (Timber) Ltd. We apologize for the poor quality of some of the images. Where possible we have attempted to re-touch the photographs to clean the image and remove scratches.Please click on the thumbnail images to see a larger version.

1940s : 1946


Benbow Brothers was founded by the three sons of James Benbow: Jack (John Edward), Jim (William James) and Harry (Raymond Harry). Jack purchased some standing timber by selling Harry’s Motorbike while Harry was doing his national service.

The old workshed at Poynton Springs
From humble beginnings

The company’s first job site was in Poynton Springs Shropshire (Salop at the time). At this time the company was specializing in supplying fire wood. The business offices were the brother’s home cottage in Grinshill, Shropshire.

This photograph was taken by John Edward Benbow (Jack) in November 1946. It shows the company’s first mobile saw.

1947


Harry Benbow preparing logs
Harry preparing poles

Having completed his national service Harry joined his brothers in the work. Here we can see him prepare for tushing (a Salopian word meaning to drag a heavy object) some fresh felled Birch.

Jack Benbow and Gerrald Ridgway Ripping Ash
Jack Benbow and Gerald Ridgway Ripping Ash

Here’s Jack Benbow and Gerald Ridgeway (an early employee) ripping (sawing a log along its length) some Ash.


 

Rebuilding DAW201
Rebuilding DAW201

The brothers lead by engineer Jack rebuild the bodywork of an ex-military Morris-Commercial C8 Field Artillery Tractor Mk III (Quad) DAW201 to convert it for carrying timber. The Quad (named for its 4×4 drive) was previously used for towing 25 pounder field guns and was fitted with a four tonne winch, making it an ideal vehicle for conversion.

1948


Lumberjack cropping a felled tree.
Harry Benbow Jun 1948

Harry Benbow dealing with a storm felled tree in Condover (~the centre of~) Shropshire in June 1948.


Quad felling Ash
The Quad felling an Ash

The Brothers use their Morris C8 Quad DAW201 to assist in felling a large Ash.


lumberjacks loading a log
Harry & Taffy loading a beech log.

Harry Benbow and employee Taffy Morgan loading a large Beech trunk onto the Quad DAW201 at Bullocks Coppice, Condover, Shropshire.


Rack Bench saw in 1940s
Large Rack Bench used by Benbows in the 40’s

The brothers purchase and build a Rack Bench Saw in Poynton Springs, August 1948.


Push bench saw
1940s push bench

Harry and Jim operating a Push Bench saw powered by a Petter Diesel engine at Poynton Springs in August 1948.


Rack bench 1948
A 1940s Rack bench saw

Detailed close-up of the Rack Bench at Poynton Springs.


Harvest 1948
Even back in the 1940s Benbows were always diverse contractors

The Brothers use DAW201 to help out at the Harvest at Geoffrey Ashtons’ Brockhurst farm in Lee Brockhurst Shropshire in September.


Benbows Morris Quad being loaded with corn
Corn travels as well as wood

Loading DAW201 with the Corn Harvest.


1940s log sawing
Lumberjacks sawing logs in the forties

Taffy Morgan and Harry Benbow sawing logs at Ashtons’ September 1948.


A trailer full of logs
The Quad carriage trailer

Morris Quad and a Log Carriage built by Jack Benbow at Wood Farm, Hadnall, Shropshire. November 1948.


Loading carriage
Loading Carriage

Loading the Log Carriage at Wood Farm, Hadnall, Shropshire. November 1948.

The carriage greatly extended the amount of logs that the Quad could pull.

 

1949


Rack Bench
Peter Shakeshaft’s Rack Bench

Peter Shakeshaft’s Rack Bench at Poynton.


 

Rack Bench Saw in 1949
Shakeshaft’s Rack Bench in Mar 1949

Loading the Rack Bench with the Quad.


 

Bettisfield worksite 1949
Benbow bros working at Bettisfield

The Quad loaded with timber at Bettisfield in May 1949.


 

dog jumping a gate in the 1940s
one man and his gate-jumping dog

One man and his Gate jumping Dog at Bettisfield, May 1949.


 

Singer 9 and Calthorpe 1949
Singer 9 and Calthorpe outfit at Poynton1949.

Singer 9 and Calthorpe outfit at Fewtrels Poynton October 1949. You can also see Jack’s shadow as he took the photo.


 

a Calthorpe saw unit
Calthorpe outfit

Close-up of the Calthorpe outfit (Engine and Circular saw mounted on a mobile frame).

 

 

1950s: 1950


 

Harry Benbow peeling birch bark in 1950
Harry Benbow peeling birch bark

Harry Benbow peeling Birch logs for a client in Warrington.


 

V8 Rack Bench Saw
That’s a V8 Rack Bench Saw

V8 Petrol Engine driving a Rack Bench Saw in April 1950.


 

Wem Moss 1950
Wem Moss in 1950

A photograph of Wem Moss (an area of peatland that has developed in a natural depression caused by glaciation common to north Shropshire, Clwyd, Staffordshire and Cheshire).


 

Old Modified Tractor with winch.
Have tractor will tush

An International Harvester Farmall Cub Tractor modified with tail winch. March 1950.


 

Harry and another man working on a trailer.
We need a trailer for the tractor

Harry and another man building a trailer for the Farmall at Grinshill March 1950.


 

The 1950s Benbow fleet
A whole fleet and not an Admiral Benbow in sight.

The Benbow Brothers and their “fleet” in June 1950 at the “Blasted Oak” on Wem Moss. The Calthorpe on the Left, the Farmall and custom trailer on the upper right and the Morris Quad in the bottom right.


 

Sawing Birch poles beneath a June sun.
Sawing birch under a hot sun in the 1950s.

Sawing Birch poles on the Calthorpe beneath the “Blasted Oak” in the June Sun. The Farmall sits waiting to tush the logs away.

 

 

 

1960s: 1966


 

Ken Benbow vs an Oak flawless victory
Ken Benbow vs a big old tree. Ken wins.

Ken joins the company working for his father and uncles. He works in all departments, passes his HGV and soon establishes himself as a very proficient timber faller.

 

 

1970s: 1976


 

Ken Benbow and ERF lorry
Ken and his ERF lorry in the 70s

Ken pictured here with his new R reg truck shortly after returning from working abroad.

 

 

 

 

1977


Les and his lorry in the 80s
Les Benbow in the early 80s

Having worked in industry after leaving university Les joins the family firm. He is pictured here with one of the self-loading HGV’s that he helped develop.

 

 

1980s 1982


The two Brothers Ken and Les Benbow became joint Directors when the company went limited in 1982.

1986


 

 

Logs on lorry
Dismembered Elephants
Crane loading a timber lorry
Loading a timber lorry in 80s

Gathering oak for the Severn Trow Spry – to read more about the “Spry” click here
Image reproduced from the book “Rebuilding the Severn Trow Spry” with permission.

 


1990s


During this time due to high-quality Eastern European timber lowering the prices of native woodland the company restructured placing greater emphasis on tree surgery and domestic tree care. The company merged with Midlands Tree Specialists at this time bringing new expertise to the company.

1996


 

Severn Trow "Spry" under sail
The Severn Trow “Spry” under sail.
Photo courtesy Dave Bushell of I.A.Recordings

The rebuilt Spry under sail. to read more about the “Spry” click here
Photo courtesy Dave Bushell of I.A.Recordings”

 


 

To present day

Benbow Brothers continues to expand their training and expertise. Recruiting and training younger arborists and tree surgeons. If you want to use our historical arboreal expertise simply contact us.