Mr John Werrell commenced driving in 1902, a year before driving licences became necessary. He held one of the first issued and it remained clean to his dying day. He left school at the age of 13 years to a take a job in brickworks and a few years later worked as his father's mate on a traction engine for the firm Brewerton of Emmer Green. His next job was with the Star Brick Works, Knowle Hill, where he was introduced to the Foden steam wagon. From that day onwards, his love was Fodens. Mr Werrell moved to Oxford and a job at Osney Flour Mills and this sufficed him until 1914. Shortly before 1914, Mr Werrell and a pal had decided to set up themselves up as haulage contractors. A Foden was ordered and delivered to Oxford railway station. Then the pal backed out leaving Mr Werrell burdened with the bill. It was too much for him and he contacted Mr Foden who told him not to worry and encouragingly added that he would become a customer sooner or later. The return cost was £50. On mobilisation to the Great War he was drafted to France where he made the best of it in the Army Service Corps where he was at least driving Fodens.
By 1926 he had saved enough to set up his own business and although that was the year of the unemployment and strife that culminated in the first General Strike he bravely ordered a Foden built to his own specification. It has electric head and side lamps and Mr Werrell adopted curtains for draping around the cab on the long-hauls that involved a sleep in the open. As a token of his pleasure in the specifiation of his Foden, Mr Werrell named the wagon "The Pride of Oxford". The slogan on the headboard was "WEKANKARRYIT". His son Frank who was working with Sainsbury, left his job in Easter week 1926 to go in with his father. He was also a Foden driver. And so a new facia went up to proclaim J. Werrell & Son were in the haulage business. The General Strike was a gratuitous misfortune but they survived the strain and prospered.
By 1929 they needed another vehicle and there was no dissent between father and son what to order. The new Foden was a rigid six wheeler and things went smoothly until the Salter Report appeared and was adopted. This was singularly hard on the steam wagon operators for costs shot up, carrying capacity was reduced and the area of operations was reduced. 'A' and 'B' licences were introduced and the Road Fund Licence raised from £60 a year to £240 for a rigid six. The years to 1938 were a struggle and a triumph for Werrell endeavour.
By 1955 they were very strongly established and grandson David came in, starting at the bottom as a driver like his father and grandfather. In 1956 John Werrell & Son became a limited company with three directors. Mr John Werrell, Mr Frank Werrell and Mr David Werrell. John Werrell & Son Ltd continued a good relationship with the Foden factory and hold numerous letters from Mr Foden in regards to their work. You can see from the photos in the gallery how friendly they had become. In 1968 John Werrell passed away leaving his son and grandson to continue running the business (always keeping the Foden tradition).
In 1981, Frank Werrell passed away leaving David Werrell to continue the work. Over these years, the fleet continued with its company livery with mainly Fodens, Leylands and Transcontinentals, but this began to decline. John Werrell, David's son had started his training in 1976 as an apprentice in HGV mechanics, and once fully qualified worked outside the company for a few years and started with the family firm in this job role, maintaining the vehicles. When John Werrell started working for the company in the early 1980s the fleet had begun to change, ERFs were the new vehicles and overtime all tractor units were changed. John Werrell became a director in 1987 shortly before the the sad and sudden loss of his father David Werrell 1988. John Werrell continued with the ERFs for a number of years until they were brought out by MAN and so the fleet needed to change. The decision was made to change to DAF starting with two DAF CFs and now the fleet comprises twelve DAF XF 105s and a variety of trailers covering the slogan 'WEKANKARRYIT' well. Flatbeds, tautliners, low-loaders and HIABs - all loads can be covered.
The company is in its 90th year is still a family run business with John Werrell and his mother Margaret Werrell as directors.