Scope and Content

Consists of ledger 1878-1943; cash books 1874-1885; day books 1917-1922; accounts 1868-1958; financial statements 1972-1973; invoices and accounting papers 1850's-1945; taxation and rates records 1866-1950's; general administrative and commercial records 1860's-1891; licenses including for dogs and guns and certificates and identification cards 1868-1944; insurance records 1872-1940; premises records 1893-1949; correspondence 1947-1951; plans n.d.; advertising 1950's

Administrative / Biographical History

Until its transfer to the Crown Commissioners c1929-30 Burbage Wharf, situated on the Kennet and Avon Canal and close to a Great Western Railway goods yard, belonged to the Marquess of Ailesbury's Savernake Forest estate. In 1874 the tenancy (which included a small farm) was taken up by John Fall, then tenant of Warren Farm and bailiff on the estate, who had moved from Yorkshire to Wiltshire in the 1840s. From Burbage Fall operated a coal and corn merchant's business, as well as operating as a steam ploughing and threshing contractor; he was also acting as an agricultural machinery agent while occupying Warren Farm and after the move to Burbage, mainly dealing with Henry and George Kearsley, agricultural engineers of Ripon, Yorkshire. The business was taken over by John's son George (c1865-1925) in the 1890s, and subsequently by his grandson Jack (1904-1991) in 1925.

The company's trade in coal and agricultural commodities was successful at the turn of the century, reaching a peak during the First World War; but business declined in the 1920s. The ploughing and contracting operation continued (a pair of Fowler BB1 engines having been purchased in 1919), although adversely affected by agricultural depression. After a temporary revival during the Second World War, the Fowler engines were sold to the government in the 1940s for shipment to Africa, although the contract threshing continued until the early 1970s. The Falls' tenancy of Burbage Wharf terminated with Jack's death in 1991.


  • TR BWH/AC1/1-4 Ledgers
  • TR BWH/AC2/1-2 Cash books
  • TR BWH/AC4/1 Journal
  • TR BWH/AC6/1-3 Other accounts
  • TR BWH/AC7/1 Annual account
  • TR BWH/AC9/1-5 Invoices and receipts
  • TR BWH/AD2/1-11 Administrative and commercial records
  • TR BWH/AD4/1 Premises records
  • TR BWH/AD8/1-2 Correspondence
  • TR BWH/DO1/1 Drawings
  • TR BWH/P2/B1 Individual advertising publication, other firms
  • TR BWH/SP2/1 Records of events

Conditions Governing Access

Available for consultation

Acquisition Information

Deposited as a gift in June 1991 DX127


Compiled by Zoe Watson, March 2004

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available at the Museum of English Rural Life

Conditions Governing Use

Please contact the Archivist

Related Material

The Ailesbury family archive is deposited at the Wiltshire Record Office.


Roy Brigden, 'A Story of Burbage Wharf', Folk Life, Vol 31 (1992-93), 77-87