Posts Tagged ‘Lavington and Devizes Motor Services’

Lavington and Devizes Motor Services

December 3, 2014

The long awaited book about our local bus company has now been published.

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Laurie James has put together a fantastic book which is much more than a history of the vehicles. It is a social history which helps us to understand the way life was lived in the early years of the twentieth century.

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Let’s allow the book’s blurb to tell the tale.

Lavington & Devizes Motor Services (L&DMS) was not a typical West Country rural independent bus operator. Across Britain, many village-based concerns made the gradual transition from carrier to running buses and coaches, with many of those originally using horses progressing to motorised propulsion either just before, during or after the end of the First World War. In general, they ran one or a few modest services to the nearest town(s), often only on popular days such as that when the market was held. By contrast, L&DMS quickly established from 1920 a daily network of bus services across a large part of central and west Wiltshire.

L&DMS was a fascinating early operator, a pioneer in some respects, only touched on to date in published transport histories and this book sets out to remedy that omission, as we turn the clock back 100 years and more, to the dawn of motorised passenger transport in the Wiltshire town of Devizes and the village of Market Lavington. The story is as much about changes in the way of life as it is about the developing bus industry in rural Wiltshire.

Of course, inside the book you’ll find many photos of real local interest – many of which you may already have seen on this blog. Here are a couple of examples of people, rather than buses (of which there are plenty of photos).

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Of course the people featured here are Fred and Mabel Sayer. Fred started as a driver and then acquired his own company to run services. Mabel was his wife and they took an active part in local life.

The book starts in horse drawn days and takes us through the history of a number of local operators but Lavington and Devizes Motor Services features most. We learn that the company was ‘laid to rest’ in 1937 but the book continues to explain how more modern services still operate over the old routes.

It’s a fascinating book. It would make an ideal Christmas present for local folk as well as for bus enthusiasts.

Three Brass Bushes

June 21, 2014

Good fortune continues at Market Lavington Museum so today we’ll take a look at what might be called the Holloway haul of acquisitions. These were documents saved from the Holloway builders’ office at some point in the past. Holloways were a West Lavington firm but they traded with Market Lavington and Easterton people and of course, it is these documents that concern us.

Actually, and quite understandably, the owner wishes to keep the majority of his original documents. He has loaned them to the museum for copying. This, of course, is something easily done with photos and paper documents.

What we look at today is a bill from Lavington and Devizes Motor Services.

Bill from Lavington and Devizes Motor Services in 1923

Bill from Lavington and Devizes Motor Services in 1923

So what information can we glean from this? I suppose first we can say that each brass bush cost half a crown (12½p in present money). I’m afraid we don’t know what the bushes were used for but presumably it was to assist in the smooth running of a vehicle or piece of machinery.

We can see that at the time of this bill (July 1923) the telephone had arrived and the local bus company had phone 13. The proprietor was, of course, Mr F H Sayer who we have met before on this blog (click here).

We can see that the bus company had motor char-a-banc, buses or lorries for hire. We believe they were adept at removing one body from a vehicle chassis and replacing it with another according to need.

And we can see they ran a motor repair business doing repairs, overhauls and supplying spares.

We can also see that Mr Holloway was a very prompt payer on this occasion. The bill was raised on the 14th July and settled on the 17th.

For us at the museum it is just lovely to have a record of what must have been day to day activity in the village more than 90 years ago.