The History of Lionheart

From Wheelwrights to Timber and then Cricket Bats
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The Heydays

The last of the great decades - the business was in full flow, my Uncles were all of age and were some of the hardest working tradesmen around, and the trade was flourishing. The yard was always full of people at any hour any day of the week. It was a community spirit that was cultivated by an honest hard working ethic. The axe and cross-cut saw disappeared, replaced by the lightweight chainsaw. Stables became the additional workshops needed to run the business as the use of horses fully declined. By the end of the 1960's the forestry industry was regarded as a huge thriving business enterprise.

The family also shared their success with local events - offering free use of their wagons for local fetes and charity events. My grandfather was a well known pillar of the community and contributed to the local society in which he lived.

Logging is a dangerous occupation. Traditionally, the cry of "Timber!" developed as a warning alerting fellow workers in an area that a tree is being felled, so they should be alert to avoid being struck.

Brookes - Timber !

Circa 1967, a new disease arrived in Britain on a shipment of Elm logs from North America, and this strain proved both highly contagious and lethal to European elms. More than 25 million trees died in the UK alone. France lost over 90% of their elms during this decade. The disease migrated northwards through Scotland, reaching Edinburgh in the late 1970s. By 1990, very few mature elms were left in Britain and much of continental Europe.

One of the most distinctive English countryside trees, the English elm was the most susceptible to this disease. Sixty years after the outbreak of the epidemic and nearly all these trees which once grew to more than 45m high are long gone. The species still survives in hedgerows, as the roots are not killed and send up root sprouts. These 'suckers' rarely reach more than 5m tall before succumbing to a new attack of the fungus. The great days of the Elm has passed. It was a significant moment in the timber haulage business in the UK.