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Bearing the load


Flour was taken by tanker lorry to bakeries and retailers nationwide. Local firms using Baltic flour included:

  • Greggs;
  • Barry's (Gateshead);
  • Hunter's (Team Valley);
  • Hendees (Bensham Road);
  • Be-Ro (Baltic Lane, Newcastle);
  • Co-op (Newcastle).

The drivers were employed by British Industrial Transport a subsidiary company of Rank's.

The sacks of flour, weighing five and ten stone, often had to be loaded by hand. Tom Hogarth remembers the 6:00am starts driving the flat bed lorries with the gold leaf logos on the side. The lorries were red in the early years of the mill and were later painted primrose and blue, Joseph Rank's racing colours.

Driving the huge loads in bad weather could be particularly hazardous but there were few accidents.

Medals and diplomas were given for exceptional service and safe driving. In 1958 the first presentation was held for fourteen drivers who had clocked up five million miles in five years. The most prized award was the medal for 27 years service.

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BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Gateshead Quays
South Shore Road
Tel: 0191 478 1810

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday 10am - 6pm
(Except Tuesday 10.30-am-6pm)