WSI Collectibles 1:50 scale MAN TGX XLX (6x2) tractor unit with 3 axle, curtain trailer, customised in the livery of East Sussex based operator John Jempson & Son Ltd.The models have been commissioned to mark the 150th anniversary of the Company (an impressive milestone by any standard) and they have been produced exclusively for Search Impex by WSI Collectibles (as a non-certificated release).
Based in the East Sussex town of Rye (one of the best preserved medieval towns in England) the origins of the Company can be traced back to 1866 when Joshua Jempson set up a horse drawn timber business. Towards the end of the 1800’s, the business was acquired by Arthur John Jempson (Joshua Jempson’s nephew) and by 1913, the firm employed four men and boasted a “fleet” of five horses and a variety of wagons and carts. Loads of grain, timber, coal and bricks were transported to and from the railway station at Rye and fresh fish was carried from the harbour and delivered to the nearby town of Hastings.
In 1917, Arthur’s John Jempson’s son, also called Arthur John Jempson (junior), joined the business. Known to everyone as “John”, at the tender age of 13, he deliberately failed his school examination to curtail his formal schooling in order to join the family business. John was fascinated by motor vehicles and purchased a second hand motorbike which he used for his own enjoyment and also, perhaps more importantly, to make deliveries for the firm. It was through his fascination with motor vehicles that John quickly became convinced that the real future for the Company lay with motorised transport. He eventually persuaded his Father to lend him enough money to buy a Model T Ford lorry – a move which swiftly paid dividends. Able to transport bigger loads, faster and further afield, within six months he had not only repaid his Father, but also bought himself a brand new motorbike. Motorised transport had arrived at Jempsons!
Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s, more lorries were purchased as and when required and smaller vehicles were always replaced with lorries of increased capacity. The fleet further expanded in 1937 when Jempsons took over another local haulier, Simpson’s of Rye. In 1939, following the outbreak of the Second World War, the Jempson fleet was commandeered by the War Office and because transport was classed as an essential service, the drivers were retained, rather than being called up. By the end of the War, the fleet was in a sorry state and had a book value of just £817. Undaunted, John Jempson set about rebuilding the business and investing in new trucks, only to find shortly afterwards that the post War government passed the Transport Act of 1947 and nationalised the transport sector. Accepting compensation in keeping with the terms of the Act, John agreed to stay on and manage what had now become British Road Services Rye depot.
In 1954, the Rye depot was auctioned off and having made the successful bid, John Jempson took the transport company (with a total of 24 vehicles) back into private
ownership. Looking to rebuild the business, the firm began carrying loads through the UK, investing in more vehicles and spending money on office buildings. In the mid 1960’s, John was joined by his son, Jonathan, and together, they managed a period of rapid expansion of the firm which saw the fleet grow to a total of 60 vehicles and nearly 80 trailers. Growth continued in the 1980s’ and was further enhanced in the 1990’s when, foreseeing the UK’s rapid development of pallet delivery networks, Jempsons joined one of the main pallet network organisations. In 2005, Jempsons changed networks and became part of the PalletForce network.
Today’s fleet comprises 85 vehicles (the tractor units being predominantly MAN) and about 150 trailers (mainly curtainsiders and some flatbeds) and services provided include general haulage and dedicated contract logistics services. Whilst UK wide coverage is offered and occasionally undertaken, the business is very much focused on providing a comprehensive transport service throughout the south east corner of England. Although Mark Chamberlain is now the majority shareholder in the Company, members of the Jempson family continue to be involved and every effort is made to uphold the family run ethos on which the business was founded.