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White Arrow vans

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  • White Arrow vans

    They were around for much of the 1980s - a logo of a chevron-type arrow which was white in colour (natch) on the side of a dark blue van, which looked very much identical to the Blakes 7 logo at the start of the programme. I thought they were Nottingham based, but I believe that they were based the North West. Anyone who purchased goods from the John England (for which my mother was an agent of), or Trafford catalogues in the early 1980s used to have their parcels delivered via a White Arrow van.

    I don't think that they had a direct connection with the catalogues themselves (I could be wrong however), but in one catalogue they were selling sub-Matchbox versions of White Arrow vans in the toys and games section of the catalogue one year which makes me think that there was a connection with the two companies after all. I know that Victor Lewis-Smith got excited in one of his Daily Mirror columns circa 1998 about the prospect of finding old John England catalogues in people's lofts, and wanted to know where he could get a Harris tweed jacket for just 1 without going to the local charity shops.

    I often see old news footage on YouTube with White Arrow vans travelling on motorways and main roads close to Nottingham, in the days when registration numbers had the prefix at the end rather than the beginning (and when number plates were a lot more "transparent" if you know what I mean) - perhaps the odd van travelling on the A6514. When did they disappear from the roads, and when did White Arrow stop trading? Of course, it's Hermes, DHL, UPS, and DPD (sorry, dpd in small letters) these days for those who don't go directly for Parcel Force and the Royal Mail's direct service. I would guess the early 1990s as an estimate.

    I had this de ja vu that it had already been mentioned on this forum already, but a look at the search facility indicates that it hasn't. I always associate them with council estates - the Aspley and Bilborough areas of Nottingham for example on a weekday morning where a housewife stays in as she is expecting a parcel delivery - for next door but one who has gone to work for the day, but they have been asked to leave the parcel for a neighbour - in the days when one actually knew who lived next door but one on your street of course.

    Does anyone remember those vans? - I am certain that they almost had as much cult status as Eddie Stobart vans have done in the past few decades.
    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
    I'm having so much fun
    My lucky number's one
    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

  • #2
    Re: White Arrow vans

    I remember seeing them around South Manchester for years, I assumed they were bought up by another courier company.

    Roadline were another delivery company, who became Lynx, before being taken over.
    The Trickster On The Roof


    • #3
      Re: White Arrow vans

      They were around the north east and were probably the most popular courier for catalogue goods.
      1976 Vintage


      • #4
        Yes, White Arrow vans were regularly seen in Yorkshire. As mentioned above, they were responsible for shipping a lot of the goods from "Catalogue Clubs".

        My mum was an agent for Kays Catalogue in the 1980's / early 90's and all items which her friends / family / neighbours ordered through her account were delivered to our house by a Transit van in the White Arrow navy blue/white livery, then whoever had bought them would then have to come round and pick them up. On the run up to Christmas the dining room was often stacked high with boxes!