A family with 150 years of Transport history…
Sean Donald Preston is the current Managing Director since the loss of his Father Don, in 2008.
The Preston family have been involved with transporting goods by road, originally with horses based around agriculture & are recorded as Ploughmen and Carters, for as many generations as can be traced. From at least the 19th century they were based around Church Crookham in Hampshire. In 1945 the family relocated to Blackstone in Sussex, just a mile from our current HQ.
In the mid 20th century as motorised transport grew & agriculture became modernised and workforces were reduced due to mechanisation, Don & his brothers moved out of farming into areas as varied as land clearance, flood management, road transport, brick making, motor mechanics, demolition and quarrying.
Don Preston began his working career as a fitter/driver and quickly progressed to operating the biggest earth moving kit around. He was always very proud of his time spent working on infrastructure projects as varied as the M1 motorway, Spaghetti Junction (M6), thousands of kilometres of gas storage & transmission pipelines including large sections through the rugged mountains and marshlands of Wales and water management projects such as Ardingly reservoir. He was regularly involved in moving machinery weighing 70 + tonnes using the pre motorway road network of Britain in the 1960’s and it was a challenge he relished. In 1972 he bought his first truck of his own, primarily for site work. As soon as Sean could walk, he was either pulling levers or up his neck in the oily bits of lorries and machines.
In 1991 Don & Sean moved to the site of our current base and focussed on the repair & maintenance of HGV’s.
1997 was a big year as it was when Southdown Engineers Ltd was registered as a limited company and it was also the year we began our long involvement with JONES & IRON FAIRY cranes, plus we put our first beavertail truck with crane on the fleet.
In 2001 we started roadplatehire.co.uk which under the Southdown umbrella has become the worlds foremost provider of road crossing & trench plates plus other allied non-mechanical plant.
With our expanding & evolving fleet we have one of the most comprehensive ranges of Lorry loading Crane/self loading/off loading transport businesses in the region.
We now currently operate around 30 trucks, trailers, forklifts & associated support vehicles.