Alfred Grant was born in 1870, at Loughborough LEI, and joined the Manchester Regiment when he was 16 years old, and his 14 years service included 6 years in India. On demobilisation, he was, for a time, Coachman to Thomas Patenall, who was Mayor of the Borough on a number of occasions.
In 1901 Alfred married Mary Ellen, the daughter of James Miller, who lived in the bottom cottage facing the Walnut Tree, but soon after, he was recalled to the Army to serve in the Boer War in South Africa.
Upon his return home in 1902, it was recorded in “The Rushden Echo” that the Town Band met him at the Station and escorted him to the Market Square.
Buying horses and carts, Alfred established what was eventually to be known as “Grant’s Transport”, operating from the rear of The Chequers Inn, and in 1914, at the time of the Fitzwilliam sale, he bought No. 7 North End, together with Stables and Workshops.
During the next five years the main work was for the Borough Council, and Carting Coal and Coke from the two railway stations, and Rushden Gas Works, for the numerous factories in the town.
The first lorry was bought in 1919 and gradually replaced the horses. At this time, there were five sons, Albert, Walter, Bill, Dan and Stan, who all, eventually, joined the business at some time or other.
It is worth noting that the Spencer Road/Allen Road area of Irthlingborough is practically all built of Rushden Brick, carted by Grant’s.
In 1927 a 20-seater bus was bought, and became known as the “Courters Express” as it left Irthlingborough for Higham and Rushden at 10.30pm or thereabouts, depending how long certain people, in the Addington Road, took to say goodnight, after 3 pips on the hooter!
Like all good things, this came to an end with the introduction of the 1933 Road Traffic Act, when it was decided to concentrate on a Goods Service, which had been started to Hampshire, especially to Southampton, which at that time was the largest port in the country and gave an outlet for the export of the large quantities of shoes and leather produced in Northamptonshire, and sent to all corners of the world.
This service continued through the war years to 1950, when the company was nationalised, and the family was forced to split up and leave the town. [possibly continued into the 1970s by one of the family]
Alfred Grant died in retirement at Morcambe in 1951.