Monday, 16 November 2015

The Blue Bus Service




Until the Blue Bus Service started around 1922, villagers walked to Windsor, and schoolboys to Eton. If they were lucky they got a lift on a horse and trap, or cart. The first bus was quite small with a bench seat each side for the passengers. This, and subsequent buses up to the 1930s, were entered by steps and handrails at the back. The service was very popular as it ran at all times and in all weather. It frequently pulled up at any point between specified bus stops to pick up or drop off passengers and always found room for everybody. Late buses after the cinemas and shops closed were often packed with as many standing passengers squeezed together as were seated. In the mid-1930s, another service known as 'The Marguerite' (cream and brown livery) plied the same routes between Windsor Castle, Eton, Eton Wick, Dorney and, less frequently, to Maidenhead. The Marguerite service only lasted a few years. Ultimately the increase in family car ownership slowly forced the successful Blue Bus Service into decline.

Among the popular drivers with the Blue Bus Service there were, as well as Bert and his son, Ted Jeffries, John North, John Bell, Bill Mitchell and Gerry Austin. Gerry is pictured standing in front of one of the Blue Buses (the man on the left) in the photograph. During WWII, Gerry drove ambulance vehicles for London Transport, often bringing wounded servicemen from the docks. After the war he drove the Blue Buses, and then worked for the council, often sporting a top hat for special occasions.


Blue Bus Service proprietor,
Mr Bert Cole on his retirement in 1966.

3 comments:

  1. My first view of Eton Wick in September 1960 was from the wonderful Blue Bus!

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  2. I too remember seeing the Blue Bus from my dad’s John Wallis Drycleaning van when helping him on his round through Eton Wick & Dorney back in the late 1950s & 1960s. Very different days as l later, for a couple of years, worked with Alder. Valley Buses operating out of Maidenhead and would often take the 22 Service out of Slough through Eton Wick/Dorney/Dorney Reach, where l once was caught by Jock, an Inspector, running early on a remote stop after Palmers House, thank goodness he like me... such were the days.
    Michael Dixon

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