Search

Norfolk farmer’s son was grain-handling innovator

PUBLISHED: 11:08 03 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:08 03 May 2017

Urban Curson holding the Sandringham Royal Warrant to The Queen at Sandringham which was presented to the company in 1989. Picture: Ben Burgess & Co

Urban Curson holding the Sandringham Royal Warrant to The Queen at Sandringham which was presented to the company in 1989. Picture: Ben Burgess & Co

Archant

Norfolk farmer’s son Urban Curson, who has died aged 91, was a leader in the grain-handling revolution on farms across eastern England.

For more than 40 years with Norwich-based agricultural engineers Ben Burgess & Co, he installed state-of-the-art grain storage and handling systems.

An only child, Urban George Curson was born in 1925 at Great Dunham, near Dereham, just as farming’s fortunes hit an all-time low.

As the industry slowly recovered from this and with the growing interest in mechanisation, he joined a milking equipment specialist, Boddy’s, then based in Norwich.

Later he worked for agricultural engineers including J & J Wright of Dereham, and finally the rapidly-expanding Nuffield tractor dealership, Harstons of Fakenham.

After it collapsed, he was recruited by the firm’s founder, Ben Burgess, in 1960 and threw himself into the newly-formed grain storage division.

Over the years, dozens, if not hundreds of blue tower silos for either grain or grass silage were erected on farms in the 1960s and 1970s.

During his career, grain moved from handling by hand in coomb sacks of 18 stones of wheat or 16 stones of barley to bulk movement into bins and then flat storage.

He also successfully promoted the firm’s damping worm used to add moisture over-dry grain, which improved the milling process.

Mr Curson, who became joint managing director with Malcolm Fuller in 1985, retired in 2001 aged 76 after 41 years’ service.

Another highlight of his career was the first grant of a Royal Warrant in 1989 to agricultural engineers Ben Burgess & Co. This sealed the firm’s long association with the Sandringham estate, which had been initiated by Ben Burgess in 1932 when a Marshall tractor was demonstrated and sold to King George V. And the firm was to supply tractors to King George VI and latterly John Deere models to the Queen’s estate.

He was also instrumental in planning the move out of the heart of the city from Rose Lane and King Street and designing the new headquarters on Europa Lane, Trowse, which was opened in 1992.

For many years, he held various branch posts in the East Anglian branch of Institution of Agricultural Engineers.

He played golf at the Royal Norwich, where he was a member, and also at Bawburgh.

After the death of his wife, Grace, several years ago, he married Reva, who survives him.

A funeral will be held on Friday, May 19 (11.15am) at Earlham Crematorium.

Other news

An elderly dog riddled with a spinal disease was found abandoned at the back of a mid-Norfolk hotel, wrapped in an old curtain and left alone to die.

The second North Norfolk Business Awards, which celebrate the best businesses in the region, are now open for entries - and businesses are being encouraged to put themselves forward to win one of the prestigious titles.

08:11

A Norwich City footballer has joined calls for fans to take part in a minute’s applause during the Canaries’ game against Aston Villa in memory of Bradley Raper.

26 minutes ago

A council which spent millions of pounds on buying a golf club has now made a decision about its future in secret.

Most Read

An elderly dog riddled with a spinal disease was found abandoned at the back of a mid-Norfolk hotel, wrapped in an old curtain and left alone to die.

Read more

The second North Norfolk Business Awards, which celebrate the best businesses in the region, are now open for entries - and businesses are being encouraged to put themselves forward to win one of the prestigious titles.

Read more
Norfolk Chamber of Commerce
08:11

A Norwich City footballer has joined calls for fans to take part in a minute’s applause during the Canaries’ game against Aston Villa in memory of Bradley Raper.

Read more
Todd Cantwell
26 minutes ago

A council which spent millions of pounds on buying a golf club has now made a decision about its future in secret.

Read more
Harry Clarke

Norfolk hospitals depend on the European Union for more than one in 10 doctors, new figures revealed, as uncertainty over Brexit threatens to worsen the crisis in the NHS.

Read more
Theresa May

Most Commented

An elderly dog riddled with a spinal disease was found abandoned at the back of a mid-Norfolk hotel, wrapped in an old curtain and left alone to die.

Read more

The second North Norfolk Business Awards, which celebrate the best businesses in the region, are now open for entries - and businesses are being encouraged to put themselves forward to win one of the prestigious titles.

Read more
Norfolk Chamber of Commerce
08:11

A Norwich City footballer has joined calls for fans to take part in a minute’s applause during the Canaries’ game against Aston Villa in memory of Bradley Raper.

Read more
Todd Cantwell
26 minutes ago

A council which spent millions of pounds on buying a golf club has now made a decision about its future in secret.

Read more
Harry Clarke

Norfolk hospitals depend on the European Union for more than one in 10 doctors, new figures revealed, as uncertainty over Brexit threatens to worsen the crisis in the NHS.

Read more
Theresa May

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Dereham Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Dereham Times weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy