Saturday, 26 November 2016

Fragility Civility Visibility

Four Horsepower Sixteen Seater Double Decker
When fbb visited the Isle of Wight Bus Museum a few weeks back, his guide revealed a secret which your noble blogger was obliged to keep until news was officially released. The embargo was lifted last Thursday.
The vehicle has been stored on the Island for many years and the museum has had a secret but near-hopeless desire to obtain it for display for a long long time. It is is remarkable condition ...
... having been kept in various shed since it ceased operation.
So a very early "Round the Island" vehicle! The coach found its way to Osborne House after its immediately previous owner, a descendant of the Vanner family, handed over their property to English Heritage.
And the Museum was chuffed to bits!
It is intended to built a special display building to ensure that the coach is both protected and presented in a fitting way.

Something of the history of the vehicle is available on-line (here) and fbb has taken just a few snippets. The original article was written by Joy Mason and published in the Wootton village magazine.
It made two trips daily from Ryde to Newport and back until 1890, when the coming of the railways lessened its value.

'Civility' would stand by the Lion Hotel on the corner of Garfield Road and collect the passengers. When fully loaded, about sixteen people would have climbed aboard.

Junction of High Street and Garfield Road today

One can imagine the pleasure of bowling along the quiet country lanes with just the jingle of harness and crack of whip, the fragrance of the hedge rows untainted by petrol fumes.

First stop from Ryde was at the Old Toll Gate over the brook which formed the boundary between the Brigstock and Fleming estates, just before one reaches Binstead. Here, passengers would be again collected or dropped as they were at the Sloop Inn further on at Wootton. This hostelry was then tenanted by the Vanner family, and, if the load was light, the two lead horses were uncoupled and stabled until they could be picked up on the return journey.

By the time this handbill appeared (click on the image to enlarge) ...
... Civility was in the day trip business rather than as a regular "bus" service. The top route ran from Ryde via Whippingham Church, Osborne and "East Cowes Park" (now obliterated by housing) ...
... to Newport and Carisbrooke, returning via "The Downs" and Havenstreet. The round trip fare was four shillings (today about £25!).

For about £30 you could take the alternative trip to Ventnor and Back.

When fbb was on the Island a museum personage arrived with box after box of archive material in his boot. This included timetables, accounts, handbills and notebooks; enough to provide a keen historian with years of useful research.

Together, coach and archives represent an enormous contribution to the Museum's ability to chart the long and interesting history of Public Transport on the Island.

Now all they have to do is to obtain a team of four horses! Apparently then committee might be satisfied with two, as per the Wootton magazine article quoted above. The nags would be plastic!

fbb has even researched a source.
Get your order in quickly chaps. Stocks are low!

It's all on the internet.

And Talking of Twit Feeds ...
fbb likes to keep in touch with bus companies in his area and nearby. In particular he has been hoping that Buses of Somerset might announce what services they will be operating over the Festive Season. No reply has materialised via e-mail - but First has a poor track record in replying to fbb.

They never have done!

So a quick look at the Twits of Taunton. There was a cheerful intro to the day's events.
Thanks for the bright greeting and italic smiley [:)] to Twit-er "ES".

Have Southampton published their seasonal service? Maybe, but there was an interesting Twit to enjoy.
Thanks for the bright greeting and italic smiley [:)] to Twit-er "ES"

Well, there's a co-incidence. Their Twitterati bod in "Shampton" is also "ES". fbb wonders? Portsmouth?
Thanks for the bright greeting and italic smiley [:)] to Twit-er "ES"

What about the lads and lassies at Weymouth and Dorchester?
Thanks for the bright greeting and italic smiley [:)] to Twit-er "ES"

Does fbb sense a touch of the odour of ratus ratus?

Either that or Enid Saunders, Ernest Simpson, Elias Sandwich and Evelyn Spittlehouse were all on duty at the same time.

Hey ho, such are the delights of good local public transport information.

 More snippets tomorrow : Sunday 27th November 

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