nokiatom wrote: »
Would anyone know what year was this registration number V-708 ?
TheQ_Man wrote: »
There’s a group on Facebook called Irish Vehicle Registrations Past & Present. They can help.
swarlb wrote: »
Does not seem to be a 'V' issued as a stand alone letter sequence. Are you sure it's an Irish plate ?
gipi wrote: »
It's an old Scottish reg number
10.4 The "Sentinel" Steam Waggon 1912 A.D.
J.R. Smyth, being an engineer by profession, was quick to realize the advantages of the new steam waggons for transporting goods. They were particularly suitable for carrying heavy loads of brick. He introduced the first steam waggon used in Ireland to the Youghal Brick Company in 1909.
Cumbersome and ludicrous as they may seem to us now, they were an important commercial innovation in the early 20th century. The letterbook of J.R. Smyth of 1909 contains some 200 letters and the majority of these deal with the initial enquiries and finally with the acquisition of the Sentinal Steam Waggon. These letters are full of information concerning the waggon. The following are the more important features of it.
The steam waggon was manufactured by Alley & Mac Lellan Ltd., Glasgow.
They cost £500, including trailer. (J.R. Smyth's letterbook).
The waggon used in Youghal was the first to be used in Ireland.
The net weight of the Sentinel waggon was 3 tons and it could pull 10 tons of brick¹⁰⁰.
The average speed was 4 mph. The statutory speed limit at this time was 5 mph.
The earlier Sentinel waggons (c.1909 - 1918) had steel rims or tyres. These were replaced by solid rubber tyres c.1918. The width of the steel rims was 12".
7. The crew of the steam waggon consisted of a driver an a stoker.
As repair depots or garages were non existent, it was necessary for the owner of one of these waggons to take great care in handling them and to be in a position to do running repairs when necessary. The onus of maintenance lay entirely with the owners. Special drivers and mechanics had to be trained to keep these novel machines in working order.
From the interesting letterbook of J.R. Smyth we learn that he drove the Sentinel on a test run from the brickworks to the railway station. The journey was approx. 3 miles but must have been extremely difficult as he notes; "once is enough". Yet in spite of their inherent teething problems, the steam waggons could replace some 14 horses when the overall economic position was considered. They also had the added advantage of being able to travel further afield and often made the return trip to Fermoy, which was 25 miles away in a single day. According to the Sales Ledger (1912) it took a full 12 hour day, 6am to 6pm and even then the waggon would have been already loaded at 6am from the previous evening¹⁰¹. Again in his letters to the manufactures J.R. Smyth constantly refers to the atrocious state of the roads, which were impassable in very bad weather. In the wintertime, during heavy rains, the iron wheels had to be bound with rope to assist them in gripping the road.
¹⁰⁰ Catalogure. (18 M), Alley & Mac Lellan Ltd., Glasgow.
¹⁰¹ J.R. Srnyth, Letterbook.
On the other hand, the Urban Council contracted with the Brick Company for the hire of the steam waggons in order to steamroll the road surface. (J.R. Smyth was chairman of the Council at various times). Even when the waggons were making routine deliveries of brick to the railway, council workers were often employed to spread stone chipping ahead of the huge wheels, so as to level the road surface and fill potholes. The late Michael Hackett Snr, of Quarry Road Youghal, was a steamwaggon driver and in 1914 he was summonsed for causing pollution by way of the dense smoke emitting from boiler of the Sentinel he was fined £5.¹⁰² The effect of these waggons making their continuous trips must have had a traumatic effect on the social life of Youghal. The 13 tons of brick and machinery crunching the stony road, vibrated the houses and the good in shops. Firsthand accounts from some of the older inhabitants such as Michael Hackett, relate how even the bottles on the shelves in public houses rattled dangerously as the waggon steamed by.
In a letter to both the Cork Constitution and the Cork Examiner, the Youghal Urban Council complained about the ill effects the waggons were having on the roads¹⁰³, but obviously a compromise was reached with the Brick Company since they subsequently arranged to use the same waggons for repair work (above).
The drivers of these waggons had to be strictly "teetotal' anti pass a rigorous character test before being given the responsibility of taking charge of a Sentinel waggon. They in turn were jealous of their new position and were slow to train others into the job. It was regarded among the brickworkers and indeed many townfolk as a prestigious job.
This was indeed the beginning of a whole new era in road transport and J.R. Smyth could well lay claim for first promoting mechanized road transport in Munster, if not in the South of Ireland as a whole. He became, an agent for the Alley & Mac Lellan Co. and actually helped set up a transport company in Charleville, Co. Cork known as "Express Transport". Munster had entered the motorized 20th century by way of the Youghal Brick Company. J.R. Smyth¹⁰⁴ arranged to have free time to travel to Glasgow on a monthly basis. The correspondence from the Alley & Mac Lellan Company includes offers of employment to J.R. Smyth. This correspondence may very well have been orchestrated as, soon after, J.R. Smyth was made a Director of the Brick Co. and the new era of the company commenced c.1912. (See 6.4).
The records of the Co. do not show any movement of bricks by the Sentinel waggon after 1925. There is evidence of a petrol lorry being hired from outside for this purpose.¹⁰⁵
¹⁰² Direct pers.comm. no author
¹⁰³ Cork Constitution and Cork Examiner 13th June, 1909.
¹⁰⁴ Correspondence with Alley & Mac Lellan of Glasgow and deliberations of Brick Co. board of directors, 1910.
¹⁰⁵ Sales Ledger. Youghal Brick Co., 1925.