Our History


Founded in 1962 by their father Peter Harper from the family farm and today's operating centre with one lorry he bought from his former employer.
Peter decided to go it alone and, with the Austin he purchased, hauling wheat in 2cwt sacks to London and animal feed back to local farms. The haulage rate then, Peter said, was £1 ton down and £1 ton back with a tank of 250 gallons of diesel costing him £80 which would last him almost a month.
In 1964, Peter bought his first new lorry - a new BMC reg number 654 LEW for £2000.
This vehicle had an engine designed at 45 degrees in the chassis to make more room in the cab, but it proved to be a disaster. The engines only lasted about 6 months due to metal fatigue and as Peter had to pay for them, he went through very testing times. In 1965, Peter started to haul farm produce to the wholesale markets which was the start of the potato movement which is the mainstay of the business today.                                                                                               

In 1980, Peter's eldest son, Nigel joined the firm after completing a five year apprenticeship with a local ERF dealer Sellers and Batty. With Nigel's arrival, the fleet expanded to two vehicles with the arrival of their second ERF. In 1982 Peter's youngest son Jonathan left school to go to agricultural college to concentrate on the farming side of the business. In the same year, the company started trading as P. Harper & Sons.
In 1984 with the need for produce to be transported in tautliners, a Volvo six-wheeler curtainsider entered the fleet. In 1987, Jonathan passed his HGV as an artic was needed to transport larger loads of potatoes to South Wales.
Heading towards the 90's with the wholesale markets diminishing and the supermarkets getting more share of the produce the company shifted it's focus, Harpers moved into hauling potatoes and onions in boxes and bulkers from temperature controlled stores on farms to potato packers. This diversion continues to this day.
In 2000, with the business going from strength, Lesley Harper Nigels wife came on board to look after the administrative side of the business, a role she continues today to look after today.
With more vehicles and trailers being added to the Harper fleet, to keep up with the demand of packers, mercahnts and farmers to have there produce moved Nigels son Matthew joined the firm officaly after may years of school holiday and weekend  roles. Matthew having always wanted to drive, went on he road to gain valuable experience which would help further down the line.
Wanting to celebrate their 40th year of service in the transport industry, a limited Edition Scania topliner was added to the fleet.
With produce movement at a high among potatoes and onions, carrots, parsnips and swede also a very regular load for the blue lorries, it was time Nigels other son Adam after a few years gaining experience elsewhere joined the family firm. Adam joined and did some driving while also helping with vehicle repair and maintance duties.
With the percentage of produce being grown, graded, stored and transported at a high level, Harpers decided to open another side of their business, with the introduction of the Harpers Grading and Storage Services. This allows product to be stored on site, graded to customers specification and re-distribtued.
In 2012 marked 50 years in business for P.Harper & Sons Ltd, a limited edition Scania went on the road, complete with airbrushed artwork of the 'good old days' to represent such an acheivemnet.
These days produce is still the main stay of the business in the form of transport, storage and grading,  Nigel and Jonathan now over see the whole operation, Lesley looks after all forms of the  admin side,  and you will now find Matthew and Adam behind desks looking after the busy traffic office,  it really does make it a real  family affair, in fact every phone call is answered by a Harper member giving that personal touch,  which a rarity these days.



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