Just before the Xmas break you might recall news reports of a huge fire in Lancashire, which broke out close to the London-Glasgow main rail line. You might also have heard that it was caused by warehouse full of loo roll combusting.

You might not have twigged that the fire was at the old Leyland bus and truck facility in the small Lancashire town of the same name. The Farington facility dates back to before WW2 and was part of the massive facility that dominated the town.

Indeed, in its heyday, it is said that Leyland Motors, as it was known locally, was the biggest exporter of the commercial vehicles in the free world. (That latter qualification takes into account the Soviet Union’s notorious ‘tractor factories’ that churned out vehicles regardless of demand).

The ruggedness of Leyland vehicles was appreciated in the developing world, but they were rather out of step with trans-continental European use. Only when it was used to create British Leyland did the well-documented trouble begin.