Wesley Coaches

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Wesley Coaches of Stoke Goldington was a bus operator in Northamptonshire between 1925 and 1979. It was taken over by York Brothers.[1]

History[edit]

In 1925, Thomas Wesley began operations in a Ford Model T bus, built and modified by Wesley's of Newport Pagnell, an uncle of the family. Other members of the Wesley family would serve as conductors, drivers and engineers. The Wesley's 'Bluebell' Model T vehicles featured a sliding door on the side, an innovation of the period. These buses served a route between Newport Pagnell and Northampton, as well as places such as Olney railway station and Emberton. Other services included excursions to places as far away as Skegness. Around this time, Wesley's owned a fleet of vehicles including a 14 seat 1910 Daimler, and a 20 seater Crossley bus.

In the 1930s, Wesley's took delivery of a De Dion-Bouton 24-seater, one of the best and most advanced touring coaches of the period. The Wesley's De Dion was believed to be the first in the area to feature such fittings as a long bonnet, radio and heater. Further additions to the ever increasing fleet included a B.A.T. 20-seater and a series of Guildfords, some featuring a separate cockpit on the front for the driver.

From then on, a sort of standardisation became apparent, and Wesley's began using Crossley coaches with a variety of bodies. One of these was a thirty by eight feet example built by Yeates of Loughborough, which achieved a transport milestone by being the first coach with no partition between the driver and his passengers, which nowadays is normal practice.

Wesley's services at this time extended far and wide across England, to places such as Devon and Cornwall, as well as tours starting up across the continent.[1]

Between 1955 and 1963, Wesley's purchased Commer vehicles such as the TS3, which formed the mainstay of the fleet for many years. These coaches performed well in all types of duty, including touring in Scotland, the West Country, Spain, the French Riviera, Venice, Switzerland, Germany, Holland and Belgium.

Expansion and improvement was achieved wherever possible, including the transfer of the firm's Northampton office to St. Giles' Street, which is more central for the town. The head office has also been moved from Stoke Goldington, where the vehicles are stabled, to Newport Pagnell.

During the prime years of the 1960s and 1970s the fleet strength averaged between 25 and 30 vehicles. In 1965 small operator R. Coller of North Crawley was taken over.[1] On occasions vehicles had to be hired from other operators (but never from local rivals) for standby duty, in case a Wesley vehicle broke down or was involved in an accident.

In the late seventies, Wesley's Coach Services engaged in negotiations with York Brothers (Northampton) Ltd of Short Lane, Cogenhoe, Northampton. The negotiations were finalised in May 1979, and York's took over Wesley's interests.[1]

References[edit]