Carter & Ward, a new venture after the Second World War.

The Karrimix story.

Karrimix Tower, Russell Gardens, Wickford.
Peter Carter
An early Karrimix lorry.
Peter Carter
Carrying ready-mixed concrete in later years.
Peter Carter

Carter and Ward was the first company in Essex to produce ready-mixed concrete, at a time when there was a huge demand for homes, after the Second World War. The decision to produce their own ready-mixed concrete and call that part of the company Karrimix was made in the early 1950s. A number of Karrimix towers were constructed around Essex, but this picture is of their third, and main one, built in Russell Gardens, Wickford, in the late 1950s. (Other smaller towers were at Barling, Danbury, Grays, Colchester and Tiptree). The dry materials from which concrete is made, gravel and cement,  were either pumped or conveyor-belted up into the tower, weighed out and mixed. Some of the mixture had water added before being loaded onto lorries, but other lorries carried water in tanks which was added to the mixture. At that time the lorries could carry between 1 and 2 cubic metres of concrete but modern lorries carry upto 8 cubic metres.

Carter and Ward no longer has a ready-mixed concrete part of the company, and all the Karrimix towers have been dismantled.

Information provided by Peter Carter.

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  • I worked on that tower many times. Changed the conveyer belt once, which was 600 yards long, with a couple of guys called Ken Smith and Wally Collett (anyone remember?) The tower was a fantastic machine that produced ready-mixed concrete with big mixers inside that we used to change blades and arms on.
    I remember you Mark Tyrrell (top guy) and your dad.
    I also remember Laurie Laybourne, your dad, Paul. He was in charge at Grays when the Karrimix truck lost brakes and rolled down the steep entrance and hit another truck side on. I changed the chassis side of that truck with a guy called John Larence. Happy memories and a pleasure to work with skilled engineers.

    By mark (25/03/2022)
  • Your sister Beverley was in my class at Bromfords School. She was friends with Kay Quincy. Sure you lived Park Drive area, did you live near Andy Anderson who worked at Carter & Ward’s as well?

    By GARY TOWNSEND (08/02/2021)
  • My dad, George Tyrrell, worked for Carter & Ward as a site foreman, from a young man till he retired at 75 years. I, Mark Tyrrell, worked in the fitters yard in the late 70s and early 80s, and worked on all the Karrimix lorries and plants. Great times.

    By Mark tyrrell (06/02/2021)
  • Does anybody remember my father, Don Townsend, worked for many years at Construction House. I remember going to the Christmas parties that C and W arranged for the kids of workers, I think at the Village Hall in Church End Lane. Silva, Peter or Roy Carter dressed as Father Christmas. Fond memories.

    By GARY TOWNSEND (19/11/2020)
  • My dad (Laurie Laybourn) was the manager at the Grays site when I was a kid. I spent many summers wandering the site, or going out with the drivers on jobs….fun times.

    By Paul laybourn (02/09/2020)
  • Hello, my name is Jonathan. I’ve found some photos of Karrimix mixer lorries, Karritip skip lorry, the pit at Grange Road, Tiptree, and some other pits, Bradwell Aggregate’s lorries, because I was going through my grandad’s stuff. He died in 2006 and he used to work for them.

    Editor added: “It would be good if we could have some of those old photographs added to the article.”

    By Jonathan (24/05/2020)
  • Hi. My grandad, Mr Martin Cook, used to work for them at Tiptree and Wickford.

    By Jonathan (12/04/2020)
  • Yes, I remember Karrimix. The drivers could not control how much you got in a barrowload, owing to large wheel to lift and lower shoot where concrete came down, thus you got a small bucketfull or an overloaded barrow, which invariably fell over, but we survived. It was easier than using a mixer by hand, and quicker.

    By bobcroot (10/03/2020)

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