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  WEB NEWS 56  

In this issue of WHOTT Web News we take a brief at Bus service between Bournemouth and Trowbridge, Arthur John Manning and the Plymouth Co-Op.

  Bournemouth - Trowbridge by bus in 1953 - In WHOTTs NEWS 28 Colin Morris described the origins of service 248. Another tale has emerged from Weymouth historian, Brian Jackson.
In the summer of 1953 it was possible to travel by ordinary service bus on a through journey from Bournemouth and Poole to Trowbridge via Blandford Forum, Sturminster Newton, Marnhull, Shaftesbury, Gillingham, Mere, Warminster and Westbury. Service 248 was jointly operated by Western National and Southern National and the timetable for the summer of 1953 showed two journeys in each direction, running daily including Sundays. In the timetable, reproduced below, the stages are accompanied by actual fares, set by the Traffic Commissioners and forming part of the service licence H7313. The fare from end to end was 8/1d single (roughly 40p today) or 12/3d return (roughly 61p) – quite a bargain even at that time. It will be seen that on the fares out from Bournemouth no the column is left blank as far as Durweston. This was to prevent passengers boarding and alighting within this distance, thus offering protection to the Hants & Dorset company who also ran over the Bournemouth – Blandford section. It will be further noticed that on Tuesdays and Fridays a short return journey existed on the 248 between Shaftesbury and Marnhull at lunch time. Another vehicle would be required for this and further examination of timetables suggests that it was worked by the bus coming in from Yeovil on service 64, arriving at 1pm and not going back to Yeovil until 2.20pm.
  If you want to read the full story, and see all the pictures, then become a member and  receive the quarterly newsletter.  
  The life and times of Arthur John Manning -  WHOTT Member, Allan Bedford, was recently introduced to Arthur Manning by lifelong local Crediton resident and builder, Geoff Lee. Little did he know that here was a man eager to reminisce.
Arthur Manning was born in the mid Devon hilltop village of Coldridge in 1928 (known as Coleridge until the early years of the twentieth century), which is close to the River Taw. The family home at that time was a council house, 2 Southside where, after WW2, Arthur and his growing family lived until moving to Crediton in 1971.
Arthur’s father was involved in rabbit trapping for a living. He also trapped moles which, during WW1, had been in great demand for coats and trousers etc and fetched 2/6d each, a very considerable sum at the time. The rabbits were trapped, tied in braced pairs and taken by bicycle, or more often on the family pony and trap, to Morchard Road Station. At the station they were placed in large hampers with wooden crossbars to suspend the valuable cargo, many finding their way to Birmingham markets. His father kept poultry and later a substantial poultry farm was established and a house built on five acres of land he was able to purchase. Arthur went to the village school until he was 11 and then travelled to North Tawton Council School until fourteen. To reach North Tawton a school bus was provided which Arthur recalls being a small fourteen-twenty seater owned by A E Thomas of Chagford, and the regular driver, Alfie Olding, outstationed the bus at Allerbridge, not far from Coldridge. The vehicle make is forgotten but on referring to Roger Grimley’s book Chagford and Cream, could well have been a Willys Overland or Chevrolet. The journeys to school often involved a stop at a local well to top up the radiator, with stops at other small settlements to pick up more pupils.

A Sunday school outing to Ilfracombe in August 1921, featuring twelve of Arthur's relations. Transport was provided by Lawrence Babbage (corn merchant in Chulmleigh) using his 25/30 horsepower Commer. To quote Roger Grimley's story of Turners of Chulmleigh (A Trip of Sheer Delight). The Commer was not fully occupied in the summer months so in the summer of 1921 the following advertisement appeared - L Babbage & Son are now booking dates for summer pleasure trips with their motor. Sunday school parties catered fro, estimates free


  Coldridge had a small village shop/post office and bakery which has long since vanished. The village baker a Mr Rounsley, invested in a brand new Bedford Van around 1936 but this was written off soon after and replaced by an elderly Austin heavy twelve which the baker’s brother in law, Charlie Burrows, converted into a van, of which more later. Charlie Burrows’ workshop was in the old village blacksmiths premises, where traditional crafts such as farm wagon building, repair and cartwheel making were still practised. He was also in great demand for his fencing, building, plumbing and coffin making skills and on Saturdays sometimes the village barber too!  
Coldridge Post Office, shop and bakery circa 1908 with local school children.
Arthur attended here between 1933 and 1939
Coldridge, the same location October 2014
  Plymouth Co-Op - The Plymouth Co-operative Society can trace its origins back to 3rd January 1860 when a group of local businessmen gathered in one of their premises in Ebrington Street. By the end of the year they had opened two small shops in Catte Street and Kinterbury Street selling food and essential provisions and had enlisted over one hundred members. They had also made a reasonably good profit and decided to encourage the education of its members and their families by setting up a library. Books were bought second-hand and donated. By 1872 the library was opening on Thursday and Saturday evenings between 8 and 10pm and some 600 volumes were available. An Assistant Librarian was appointed in 1876 with a quarterly salary of 10 shillings (50p!).

Inspired by the Rochdale Co-operative movement the Plymouth Society did all that was philanthropic. On 10th March 1863 Albert Edward, the future King Edward VII, married 18-year old Princess Alexandra of Denmark. To mark the occasion William Derry, Plymouth’s Mayor, erected a clock tower close to the Theatre Royal and the drinking fountain at its base was financed by the Co-op. On 14th June 1886 Co-operator II, the Society’s second funded lifeboat was launched at West Hoe and from that summer until 1893 served at Ilfracombe.

The expansion of the Co-op marked pace with Plymouth’s growing population. With the commercial development around Devonport and Stonehouse and the demand on labour, resulted in the Co-op needing to diversify to satisfy the needs of many. In 1865 a coal business was started, followed in 1868 by a Bakery in Neswick Street and a footwear department the following year. In 1870 a drapery store was opened in Cornwall Street and in 1881 the Society bought its own trading schooner, Plymouth, that had come on the market. In 1882 the Co-op opened its own dairy in Treville Street and in 1888 purchased Poole Farm. An abattoir in Stonehouse was next to follow in 1900 followed two years later by a funeral service. The Society built new houses in Peverell from 1902 and began its first mobile shop the following year.

The Co-op was now catering a diverse range of commodities and to enable these different departments to function efficiently, it was an obvious step to provide its own transport too. Hand and horse-drawn carts had been the only way to achieve this in the late 19th century but by 1908 the Plymouth Co-op had placed its first steam lorry on the road. In 1906 the Co-op established a new bakery at Peverell and two years later bought up a local flour mill. In 1918 the opportunity to take staff on outings in horse-drawn brakes had changed to petrol driven charsabanc and this developed into a fleet of vehicles offered to the public for day trips.

100 Years Ago

Replacing the Panther

Better by Miles

Synopsis of discussions at Trustees' July and October meetings

Just the Ticket 23

Points of View

Future Activities

The Panther replacement - Volvo B10BLE with Wright Renown body


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Web News 55

Web News Index

Web News 57


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