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Remembering Roy Lowe, Rowley's King of the Road

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 09, 2014

  • Roy Lowe hard at work

  • Roy at the wheel of one of his artics

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AN anonymous reader has brought to our attention the recent passing of Roy Lowe, founder of the well-known Rowley Regis haulage firm Lowe's Transport.

The fleet of lorries which Roy built up over the decades is based at the bottom of Powke Lane, and the vehicles are instantly recognisable right across the Black Country and beyond. The firm is still in the Lowe family, with Roy's son Heath and daughter Vicki now at the helm. Roy Lowe was born in 1927, left school at 14 and began his working life as a milkman with a horse and cart.

Always an animal lover, he found this to be his ideal job. He worked hard and even from a very young age was always keen to climb into any type of vehicle and move it. His manager at the dairy often called upon him to drive different vehicles when the older men had finished their working day, and this was how Roy gained his driving experience.

At 21 he married Mavis Jackson from Waterfall Lane, Blackheath, and not long after bought his first lorry, an Albion. Working from the rear of a petrol garage in Tyseley, Birmingham, Roy slowly built up the business, supported by Mavis and assisted by her brother Robert and brother-in-law Malcolm Knott. Jean Jackson was bought in to look after the accounts and Roy was joined by Harry Backhouse who became a life long friend.

The family business went from strength to strength. In the early 1960s the business moved to Rowley Regis where it is still based. Sadly Mavis passed away leaving Roy with a young daughter, Vicki. A few years later Roy met and married Dorothy Deacon from Ward End, Birmingham. Dorothy gave Roy three children, Heath, Amber and Titia.

When the recession hit in the 1970s Lowes Transport had to almost halve its fleet from 80 vehicles to 40, and Roy had to re-mortgage his house to keep the company afloat. But with Dorothy by his side Lowes weathered the storm.

In 1975 daughter Vicki joined the company, followed in 1982 by son Heath. Roy ensured they started at the bottom, to give them a good grounding in all aspects of the trade.

The fleet was gradually built back up again, and the base at Powke Lane improved.

Eight years ago Roy handed over the reigns to Heath, who became Managing Director, though Roy would still go into work at least one day a week.

Daughter Vicki Webb told the Bugle:

"Three years ago he was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and his prognosis was not good. But he still made the journey across to the depot once a week when his health allowed him, and enjoyed hearing news of customers, new vehicles and all the day-to-day challenges of the business.

"Roy passed away on April 28, and his funeral was held at Rowley Regis crematorium on Tuesday 8th. His final challenge to his children was this: no undertakers, no hearse, no funeral cars, no flowers in fact, no trouble at all! If only!"

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