Fuelling days past in Diss

Coller and Son coal yard, Diss 1920 ANL-150723-152551001
Coller and Son coal yard, Diss 1920 ANL-150723-152551001

We welcome back Memory Lane this week with a look at the days of the R. Coller and Sons coal yard sited alongside Diss station.
Diss historian Dennis Cross has supplied these two charming photos of those days, one from about 1920 and the other from May 24, 1950.

The yard, in Station Road, Diss, was on the London-bound side of the mainline, but closed about four years ago.

Coller and Son coal yard, Diss, 1950 ANL-150723-152539001

Coller and Son coal yard, Diss, 1950 ANL-150723-152539001

The yard was positioned to take advantage of the line - with a siding set up to supply the depot with coal.

The car park for the station has since expanded, and the buildings have made way. The Jolly Porters pub was also near the site, but that has also since gone.

R. Coller and Sons was a big player in the coal trade and during its expansion swallowed up smaller coal enterprises.

Mr Cross has names for the people in the photo from 1950.

From left to right they are Gordon Bird, Roly Last, Ted Pooley, Wally Hawes, Harry Last, Billy Batley, Jack Lightning, George Boast, Reg Hawes, Dorothy Ling and Jack Barber, who was manager.

On the lorry, Mr Cross isn’t so sure, but believes a Mr Frost is on the left and Bob Watkinson is on the right.

He said Dorothy Ling worked in the office and lived at Shimpling, having worked at Burston station, before operations moved to Diss.

The nice thing about the two photos is that they are taken from the same aspect, with the 30 years between them marking the advent of a more mechanised age, with lorries taking over from horses.

“I remember the days of the coal lorry coming to deliver our coal,” said Mr Cross.

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