Posts Tagged ‘charabanc’

Reverend Sturton

July 25, 2013

John Anthony Sturton was Vicar of Market Lavington for more than thirty years at the start of the twentieth century. It seems amazing that we know so little of this man.

He was born in Little Bedwyn  in 1874 so he was a Wiltshire man.  His Father was Vicar of Little Bedwyn. In fact church service seems to have been a norm in the Sturton family. Certainly John Anthony followed in his father’s footsteps and on the 1901 census we find him as a clergyman in Lyme Regis, living in lodgings, so probably a curate. He became Vicar of Market Lavington in 1906.

By 1911 he was in Market Lavington with his mother and a brother who was also a member of the clergy.

John Sturton married in 1916. He and his wife, Iva, had no children.

We have a couple of photos of Reverend Sturton and this is one of them.

Reverend John Sturton, Vicar of Market Lavington, on his motorbike at Salisbury.

Reverend John Sturton, Vicar of Market Lavington, on his motorbike at Salisbury.

This is said to be a charabanc trip from Market Lavington in the 1920s. The picture was taken in Salisbury. It looks as though Reverend Sturton has joined the party on his motorbike. He has a youngster in his sidecar.  The bike, by the way, is a BSA. The lamp on the sidecar looks as though it might be an acetylene one. We have a lamp like it in the museum.

We have not positively identified any of the people on the charabanc but we wonder if the large man sat next to the driver might be Fred Sayer who owned the bus company.

After he retired in 1940, John lived in Easterton. He died in 1945. He is buried in Market Lavington churchyard. Iva joined him there in 1958 and his brother, Thomas, followed in 1960.

Fred Sayer takes a ride

June 11, 2013

Yet another bus?

We are quite big on buses at Market Lavington Museum – certainly as far as photos are concerned. The reason is simple. Coach trips, to the coast, from the area passed through Salisbury where a ‘comfort’ stop was made. A Salisbury photographer snapped the people and had prints ready for sale when the coach returned in the evening and made another stop. People, happy and relaxed after a day out bought the images and many have found their way to the museum.

But this one is special.

A charabanc trip from Market Lavington in the late 1920s

A charabanc trip from Market Lavington in the late 1920s

Now why is that special? It certainly isn’t for the charabanc for we don’t see the front end, although no doubt some will find that chain drive fascinating. And I’m afraid we only know the identity of one of the people on board – but that man makes this a special photo.

Fred sayer, who owned the Lavington and Devizes bus company is one of the passengers

Fred Sayer, who owned the Lavington and Devizes bus company, is one of the passengers

This is Fred Sayer. He’s special because he owned the buses. We believe this photo dates from the late 1920s.

Fred had many buses. The Lavington and Devizes Motor Services Company could carry up to 600 people on outings in their own fleet of vehicles. It was a huge business for Market Lavington.

But Fred still remains a bit of a mystery to us at the museum.

Our basic information is that Frederick Herbert Sayer was born in about 1880 in the Bath area. He married Mabel Weston and they had a son, also called Frederick Herbert. In 1911 he was a bus driver in Stroud, Gloucestershire but soon after he moved to Market Lavington. At some point he progressed from being a driver to owning the company. He ended his days in Cheverell in 1934.

We know that the younger Frederick Sayer married Jess Trotter whose family ran The Volunteer Arms in Market Lavington.

Please do get in touch if you know anything about this man or his family.

An Easterton Chapel Outing

January 23, 2013

The good folks who were members of the Methodist Chapel in Easterton are off to the seaside. And, praise be, it seems as though a sunny day has been delivered to them for this rare, once a year treat. The year in question was 1927 and the date was June 4th. Back in those days this was known as Whit Saturday.

Easterton Chapel outing en route to Bournemouth on 4th June 1927. The bus belonged to the Lavington and Devizes Motor Service.

Easterton Chapel outing en route to Bournemouth on 4th June 1927. The bus belonged to the Lavington and Devizes Motor Service.

The photo was taken in Salisbury. Southons, whose shop we see behind the bus still have a furniture store in Salisbury. These charabancs had limited facilities and a badge on the front suggests they were limited to 20 miles an hour so the travellers would already have endured more than an hour, crammed into the little vehicle. What the coach trade seemed to call a ‘T and P’ stop was essential. And whilst stopped, an enterprising photographer could take a photo for collection on the return journey. On this occasion we know the destination was Bournemouth. That’s about 28 miles from Salisbury so that would take another hour and a half.

As yet we have not identified passengers on the bus but we have an inkling that the driver was Harry Hobbs.

However, the bus has managed to get its registration plate in the picture HR 7537 and that gives experts a chance to know more about it. The charabanc is a Crossley X type and was part of Fred Sayer’s Lavington and Devizes Motor Service fleet. Fred had probably acquired the chassis from the war department and the body work may have been added by Fred or another local builder. This bus was registered to Fred’s company in November 1922. It is believed to have been out of Fred’s use by January 1929.

Wouldn’t it be good if we could get as much information about passengers? Over to you!

Who, where and When?

July 2, 2012

A Charabanc Trip

Today we have a real request for help. We have a collection of nine photographs of charabanc outings which were given to the museum back in 1985, when we opened. The information given with the photos said they were all trips by the Lavington and Devizes motor company in the 1920s. The headquarters of this substantial business were in Market Lavington. But, except for a couple of recognised drivers, our information ends there.

We can take guesses. The photos were probably taken in Salisbury where enterprising photographers were able to have prints for sale when a trip returned from a day at the seaside. We can also guess that drivers were local men.

But now over to you. Can you tell us anything about this charabanc, or the people travelling? Please email the curator if you have any ideas.


Now the images.

Charabanc from Market Lavington with passengers and driver. They are probably in Salisbury – early 1920s

Harry Hobbs

May 9, 2012

This is a photo we have seen before – one of several we have of charabanc trips, taken in Salisbury. On the previous occasion (click here) we named all of the people on the photo. This time we are concentrating on the driver, standing in front of his charge. He was Harry Hobbs.

Harry Hobbs certainly had a varied life.

He was born on 5th February 1902 in Shoreditch in East London  and named Henry Charles Hobbs. His parents were John and Emily and the family lived in East London at the time of the 1911 census.

Just why or when they moved to Market Lavington, we don’t know but in 1926, when the photo above was taken, Harry lived with his parents John and Emily at the Workman’s Hall in Market Lavington where Emily worked as the caretaker. Harry, by that time, was clearly a bus driver. He worked for Fred Sayer who was running an extensive bus service in Wiltshire and had a large fleet of those early coaches known as charabancs.

In 1932 Harry married Phyllis M Pike, the daughter of a Market Lavington butcher. In 1934, their daughter Patricia was born.

Soon after, Harry had a very serious bus accident. He was not driving but was on a slow moving bus in Market Lavington market place. The driver stopped suddenly and Harry fell, tumbling to the front of the bus. His leg injuries were extensive. He spent months in hospital and was advised he’d never walk again.

His wife’s father – George Pike, the butcher, bought a grocery business, opposite The Green Dragon  for Harry and his family, so that they could have some sort of income.

In the event, Harry recovered and was able to walk. He spent the rest of his working life as a shop keeper, retiring in 1969 .

As well as his shop, Harry was well known as a very active member of the Congregational Church.

 Henry died, suddenly, whilst out for a walk, in 1977.