How family farming business was passed down the generations

A summer picnic, Wray, circa 1910.'Front row (from left): Samuel James Bargh, Jessie Kenyon (the future Mrs Bargh), Jas Smith, Bessie Parkinson, Mrs S. Ormandy, Lily Parkinson.'Standing (from left): Isabel Smith, Sam Robertshaw, Miss Carter.'Mrs Jas Smith was married to James Smith, headteacher of Wray Endowed School 1884-1914.
A summer picnic, Wray, circa 1910.'Front row (from left): Samuel James Bargh, Jessie Kenyon (the future Mrs Bargh), Jas Smith, Bessie Parkinson, Mrs S. Ormandy, Lily Parkinson.'Standing (from left): Isabel Smith, Sam Robertshaw, Miss Carter.'Mrs Jas Smith was married to James Smith, headteacher of Wray Endowed School 1884-1914.
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In the second of two parts, Wray historian David Kenyon reveals more about the Bargh family business

The second generation of S J Bargh Limited, George Ronald Bargh, known as Ronnie, was the son of Samuel and Jessie Bargh. He was born at The Hill, Lowgill, in 1918, where he lived until the age of 10. In 1928 the family moved to Rye Close Farm at Claughton.

The third generation of S.J. Bargh Ltd. From left: Rachel Thomas, Rebecca Towers and Elizabeth Lloyd.

The third generation of S.J. Bargh Ltd. From left: Rachel Thomas, Rebecca Towers and Elizabeth Lloyd.

After completing his education at the Lancaster Royal Grammar School in 1936, Ronnie secured a place at the Royal Veterinary College in Edinburgh where he trained as a veterinary surgeon.

During the Second World War, Ronnie was stationed in Italy with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps tending the mule trains. Mules were much used by the British Army at this time for transporting supplies in the mountainous regions of Italy.

After the war Ronnie’s veterinary career continued in Keighley, West Yorkshire, where he worked from 1946 to 1953. After this time he returned to his farming roots and moved, together with his wife Mary and their three daughters, to Three Mile House near Caton.

In the early years he bred sheep and later concentrated on raising store cattle and sheep that he supplied to wholesale butchers.

Ronnie was also involved in the family business of S J Bargh Limited, which was started by his father Samuel in 1935. The business began when Samuel and Jessie began collecting milk from nearby farms for delivery to local dairies.

When Samuel died in 1961, Ronnie and his family moved back to Rye Close Farm in Claughton, his old family home.

After the death of their father Ronnie in 2001, daughters Rachel Thomas, Rebecca Towers and Elizabeth Lloyd took up ownership of the firm. In the future their eight children will become fourth generation owners of the business of S J Bargh Limited. Today S J Bargh Limited has grown to become a major milk haulier, covering the North West of England and has added general haulage and warehousing to its portfolio of services. The company has also expanded to Endon, near Stoke-on-Trent, and Chester.

Now operating a fleet of 190 vehicle and employing more than 300 staff, the company has outgrown its Caton headquarters and recently opened a five acre operating site in Caton Road, Lancaster.

S J Bargh Limited’s managing director Stuart Cornthwaite joined the company 40 years ago as an apprentice fitter. Another long serving member of staff was David Rosier, who started work as an apprentice mechanic in 1961 aged just 15. When he retired in June 2010 he had worked at the company for almost 50 years.

In 2010 milk collection specialists S J Bargh Limited celebrated its 75th anniversary.

There can be no doubt that 75 years in business is a tremendous achievement for any local firm and reaching such a milestone is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of S J Bargh Limited.