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Carriers And Coaches

There is not much history written about the early carriers and horse-drawn or early-motorised bus services in the Island. From the mid 1850s George Beazley ran the Newport to Ryde carrier service with a Mr Vanner using the Rose and Crown in Newport as his base. Furmidge also ran a daily service from Wootton to Newport in 1859. His base in Newport was The Swan. At the turn of the century Tutton from High Street Ryde ran the service daily to the Rose and Crown, Newport. From the 1920s Walter Dimond ran the service from Ryde to Newport (1924) and Harvey Hunter from Wootton to Ryde. The Millmore family of Ryde provided a service, which lasted until 1960.

Horse-drawn coaches operated between the main towns in early 19th century. In 1846 the ‘Rocket’ ran between Ryde (Pier Hotel) and Newport twice daily with the ‘Princess Royal’ from Newport to Ryde (Yelf’s Hotel). In 1905 the Isle of Wight Express Motor Syndicate Ltd., based at 80 Union Street, Ryde (later Pier Street).

Inauguration Of The Island Motor Car Service

Thursday 13th April 1905

This was the day on which the I.W. Express Motor Syndicate Ltd. formally came into being and four vehicles departed from Ryde for various centres around the Island.

Picture of Isle of Wight Bus Service 1905
Isle of Wight Bus Service 1905

A lunch to celebrate the event was held at the Crown Hotel with members of the syndicate and guests present. The Mayor Ald. A. Millward proposed a toast to the new company and its success in the future. He also said that this was no new idea as a scheme had been put forward some 10 years ago for an electric tramway from Ryde to Seaview, but this failed to get off the ground due to strong opposition.

Picture of Start of Isle of Wight Bus Service 1905
Start of Isle of Wight Bus Service 1905

During a recent stay in Brighton he (the Mayor) had been using the buses to Hove and wished there was such a service on the Island. When he returned, one of the first people who came to see him was a gentleman interested in developing a similar service, after discussions he had agreed to become involved. So, since October of last year much work had been done and the results could now be seen. Seven ‘cars’ of the latest Olympia pattern had been ordered but unfortunately only four had been delivered to date. They had recruited the best drivers they could find from all over the country and the vehicles had also been adapted to allow the carrying of parcels and mail. After a toast to the Mayor, lunch was concluded and the party went to witness the start of the service.

Starting The Service.

Picture of Awaiting Commencement of Isle of Wight Bus Service April 1905
Awaiting Commencement of Isle of Wight Bus Service April 1905

There was a large group of people gathered on the Esplanade to watch the start of the service. This was done by Lady Adela Cochrane, she got in the first car and ‘turned the key’ then all four ‘cars’ drove along the Esplanade, round the Canoe Lake and back. The four ‘cars’ then left for Newport, Cowes, Shanklin and Bembridge.

The service started running the following day on the advertised routes but due to the lack of buses it was not possible to operate the full service. As a result the management decided to suspend the service until the other vehicles had been delivered. This was not before some of the vehicles encountered problems due to the wet weather. One car sank in a newly made road near the headquarters in Ryde and a tyre came off. A second car took a wrong turning and got stuck in mud and had to be extracted with the help of horses and people.

Notes: 1. It is believed that the company’s headquarters were at 80 Union Street, Ryde [later Pier Street].
2. From 1906 they were using Milnes-Daimler single decker vehicles on a service from East Cowes, Ryde, Seaview and Bembridge.
3. The company ceased to operate in 1907.
4. We believe that the attached photographs are of this period.

Later Douglas MacKenzie, transport pioneer and joint founder of Southdown Motor Service started to provide the service, this eventually becoming the Southern Vectis of today.

Buses On Island 1934

Arrived on the Island in 1934, Dennis Lancet 510 buses. These had Eastern Counties bodies built at Lowestoft with sliding roofs, leather seats, moquette patterned trim and livery originally Southdown style green and cream. DL9700 along with DL7386 an AEC Reliance 214 carried Black Watch troops from Coppidhall Farm, Havenstreet into Wootton or wherever needed, the War Office requisitioned these along with other vehicles and drivers in the 1940s.

Source: Isle of Wight County Press

This page was last edited on: 26th January, 2022 17:50:23

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