Carter Paterson & Co Ltd

Carriers Agents

Home | 573 | 4439 | 3539Dennis | White and PoppeBirmingham Fire Brigade | LFB


The company was formed in 1860 when James Paterson (ex Pickfords) purchased Mary Stanbury's carrier buisness with the financial backing of Walter Carter. The buisness had 6 horse vans and was based in George Yard, Almondbury, London.

By 1870 Carter Paterson had depots in Bermondsley, Camberwell, Chalk Farm, Chelsea and Stratford and they aquired a thirty year lease on a disused timber yard in Goswell Road to replace the George Yard Depot. They were able to offer 3 collection and delivery times within the covered area per day.

In 1887 Carter Paterson became a limited company with James Paterson as Chairman.

In 1890 the capacity of the Goswell Road depot was increased by opening an additional Depot in the adjacent Central Street. The company now had 700 horses at Goswell Road, where some stables were on the second and third floors.

Carter Paterson two horse van

In 1893 Carter Paterson had 20 London depots with over 2000 horses.

They rapidly progressed to motor traction in the 20th century. Their first motor van was a 10-cwt chain driven Daimler in 1897, but this was destroyed in a fire at Goswell Road the following year.

Carter Paterson Daimler van


Horse van drivers could re-train as motor drivers. Here are the details of their pay and rules.


A 1907 advert for Carter Paterson van by Dennis Brothers Ltd of Guildford.

 On these early motor vehicles Dennis modified the CP horse van bodies to fit. This is obvious when you compare this photo with the horse drawn photo above.

Their vans carried a distinctive green and red colour scheme.

(This is probably a Napier)


In 1909 a motor trunk service between London and Brighton was introduced. This left London at 2.30 am and arrived in Brighton at 7.30. This had evolved into the Home Counties Motor Express by 1911 covering all major towns and Cities in the home counties. 

In 1912 Carter Paterson aquired Bean's, the London Parcel Delivery Co., and Pickfords but the companies retained their individual identities.

In 1914 the company sold a number of their vehicles (and horses) to the War Department (presumably under the subsidy scheme); these were 15 leylands (3 ton), 9 Strakers and 30 Thornycrofts (35cwt). They also sold one Thornycroft to Pickfords. This left them with Dennis, Leyland, Napier, Thornycroft and Tilling vehicles.

Carter Paterson purchased W&G Express Carriers in 1915.

In 1920 Pickfords was sold to Hay's Wharf Cartage Co. Ltd.

In 1931 Carter Paterson aquired South Coast Carriers Ltd. (which served Brighton and Portsmouth) and Leicester and County Carriers Ltd. In 1931 they handled 21 million parcels with an average weight of 34 lb.

In 1933 all the major road parcel carriers (including Carter Paterson) were bought by the railways and opperated under the Hey's Wharf Cartage holding company. However, the individual companies continued to opperate independently.

In 1934 Carter Paterson aquired City and Suburban Carriers, their main London competitor.

Under railway ownership Carter Paterson were able to operate a countrywide service from 1936.

By 1944 Carter Paterson were operating a fleet of over 1000 motor vans and in 1946 they re-merged with Pickfords to form the Carter Paterson and Pickfords joint Parcels services and were delivering 34 million parcels a year.

Road transport was nationalised in 1948, but prior to this Carter Paterson was one of the best known Carriers in the country. The British Transport Commission adopted the name "British Road Services" for haulage, with parcel delivery vehicles keeping the Carter Paterson green for the bodies and wings.

Customers wishing to have parcels collected would place a CP card in their window.


I have compiled a Carter Paterson Fleet List from the records available in public archives. I hope to complete the details of all the earlier vehicles.

 Three Leyland lorries in the CP&Co Fleet

Pair horse van on luggage service

Luggage Service

Carter Paterson Signs

A number of enamel signs were used by Carter Paterson and Co, please let me know if you can provide any more images to include here or any information on the signs.

Blue booking office sign (date unknown)
Blue booking office sign


BRS Parcel Services and Express Carriers; Round Oak Publications.

Companion to British Road Haulage History; Science Museum Publications

National Record Office; Rail1130