Many a haulage worker’s earliest memories are full of happy days spent watching lorries thunder by, and indeed plenty of drivers’ inspiration can be traced back to their love of the vehicle as a child. This affection for the HGV, on top of the fascination with the technical aspects, does not escape Nick Baldwin as he writes Lorries - an account that will thrill the hardware nerd in many a driver. |
As former chairman of the National Motor Museum Advisory Council, Nick Baldwin has an established professional interest in the history of various vehicles. Moreover, he himself owns a number of historically valuable ones. Though his main area of expertise is tractors, he’s also uniquely placed to observe the technical evolution of the HGV, and his latest book is a thrilling read for all those interested in the nuts and bolts of that backbone of haulage work: the lorry.
Nick Baldwin’s Lorries marries a wealth of historical knowledge with a lucid, readable style. Perhaps most importantly, the author’s personal love of engines and all things diesel shines through on every page, helping to make this an engaging and charming read. The 56-page length makes it an ideal glove-compartment staple, and, while such a length is inevitably limiting in terms of detail, Lorries still provides a solid foundation from which to base further research should you be interested.
The book begins with the changing of laws that made motorised road haulage viable in 1896. From here, it charts the early use of lorries (then called “lurries”) through the First World War, where their value was proven beyond a doubt, all the way to the 1970s, where the HGV took the shape we see today. Baldwin’s account is nicely illustrated with a range of photographs and diagrams - dating from as early as the 1910s - which help bring to life this loving account of the haulage worker’s best friend. Not only does Baldwin provide fascinating insights into the mechanical workings of the trucks themselves, but he also neatly links this to the way the industry and the type of work required changed over the years, helping the reader to understand how technological changes helped shape today’s perceptions and realities of the act of driving lorries for a living.
All in all, Baldwin’s Lorries makes a worthy, technically-focused addition to Shire Library’s series on haulage work. It’s likely to be best appreciated by those with a real love of the inner workings of their vehicles, and even a seasoned mechanic is likely to pick up a few interesting historical quirks from these pages. But its engaging style and the way it charts the evolution of the vehicles alongside the evolution of the industry itself makes it a highly recommended read for truckers of all persuasions.
If you fall in love with Baldwin’s knowledge and writing style, we also highly recommend his similarly fascinating books on tractors.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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