Tape 170. Talk by Bryan Everitt about Moore’s, bus and carrier company of Kelvedon

Tape 170

Bryan Everitt gave his talk about Moore’s, the bus and carrier company of Kelvedon, on 3 April 1995 to the Witham History Group.

See also Bryan’s book “Moores: the story of Moore Brothers of Kelvedon, Essex”, published in 1998, which contains many of the illustrations mentioned in this talk.

The original recording of this talk is held at the Essex Sound and Video Archive. To listen to the recording, please contact them at ero.enquiry@essex.gov.uk or 033301 32500.

[???] shows words that are not clear enough to interpret and so have had to be omitted.
[?] after a word shows that its interpretation is not certain.
Later explanatory additions by JG or the transcriber are in square brackets [e.g. explaining locations etc.]

Side 1

[Introduction of BE, not noted]

It was most appropriate that we did it in 1995, since it is the 180th anniversary of the founding of the company. I also hope the end of the year will see the publication of my book. I do realise some of you may have arrived here tonight with some trepidation, wondering what on earth a talk about buses could all be about, after all aren’t they the things that you get on, pay your fare, and get off again, some time later. Is there very much more to it than that? Well, I hope we can bring you some pleasant surprises. Mark you, if you’re a bus enthusiast, you’re going to know the answer to that anyway. Before we make a start, I’d just like to introduce you to John, who’s got the best job of the night, because he’s just going to show you all the lovely pictures we have, we hope.

And, so by way of an introduction, and so that we can all feel we are on familiar ground, I would like to show you this picture, which I hope you will all recognise. Now this is one of a pair of double deckers purchased in 1961. This particular one is preserved and owned by Joe Long. It is garaged at the Canvey Island bus museum, and is often on display. Now when you go and buy a double decker, or a bus for that matter, it’s a little bit different to going and buying a car. You choose with a car, the make that you want, you go along to the appropriate showroom, decide the sort of model you want, and the only thing is, which is the worst job of all, then you’ve got to pay for it.

With a bus it’s a little bit different. You have three major decisions to make, because there are three main components. The chassis, which in this case is produced by Guy Motors of Wolverhampton, and when we talk about the chassis, we mean the underframe, rather like the foundations of your house, on which everything is mounted. And Guy Motors therefore, would supply the chassis, the steering, the gear box, the rear axle, the wheels, the tyres, the brakes, and the batteries and the lighting. So you made up your mind you’re going to Guy Motors. The next decision you’re going to have to make is to say, well what sort of engine do I want, and in this case the engine fitted is a Gardner. And that’s an oil engine, so now we’ve got a chassis and we’ve got an engine. We now have to decide what sort of body we want, and who we’re going to get to make it. In this case it is Massey Brothers of Wigan. Now, it’s possible some of you may have remembered chassis’ coming through Witham many years ago, with a driver just sitting on a temporary seat, out in the open, on his way to Eastern Coachworks at Lowestoft. And he’d probably wear goggles because there’s no windscreen, or anything like that. And so that, I hope, has given you a little bit of start, and refreshed your memories a little bit.

But perhaps your memories go back further than this, and here we have a Guy single decker, once again a Guy chassis as before, a Gardner engine, but this time the coachwork is by Dupont. Those buses, you have even gone to school on them, or even to work at some time.

But  perhaps your memories go back even further than that. And here we have a Guy double decker, with its very very austere appearance, and these were purchased during and shortly after the Second World War. They also originally had wooden seating in, but they were replaced after the War, and as soon as materials allowed them to do so. You might be surprised that they were used on all the main services, but as new stock arrived, they saw service on less important routes, and ultimately were renovated for works and school services, as well as providing a back-up at peak passenger times.

Having got this far, you may be thinking to yourself, ‘Ah well, we must getting somewhere near the beginning of motorbuses, and soon we shall see an open-topper, as they are referred to today. And you would be absolutely right, even to the extent of having solid tyres. And here is Moore’s first double-decker. It was taken when new, in April 1914, and as you can see with the Moore family standing proudly in front of their new possession. Those seated on the top deck are mainly Moore’s employees. This is their steam bus, which was built by Thomas Clarkson in Moulsham Street, Chelmsford. And here, that’s worth pointing out the Moore family. That is Basil Moore; he was the fourth generation of the family, Horace Moore, William Moore, all brothers of the fourth generation, and here we have Edward Moore, who was the third generation. And on the extreme right, the first steam driver, Bob Richardson.

Looking at this picture, it wouldn’t be too difficult to imagine that we could be getting somewhere near the beginning of our story. And for a large number of operators this would be true. With the coming of the internal combustion engine, many saw this as an opportunity to get into passenger carrying, and indeed, the many young men coming out of the First World War, with plenty of army surplus lorries available, took such an opportunity. Many bus companies started in this way. But this is what makes Moore’s unique; at the time the steam bus picture was taken, they had already been in business for one hundred years. And so, we need to go back these hundred years to find out how it all began. However, before we embark on this, there are two items which deserve attention, and which I would like us to look at now. The first is very much of a general nature, and concerns the state of the roads in Britain over many centuries. The second is to correct a misconception that arises over the origin of the stage carriage bus, which is really what Moore’s is all about.

And so first, let’s look at the roads of Britain. It is not often realised, that after the Romans left, metalled roads did not re-appear until the beginning of this century [i.e. 20th]. The Romans built some very fine roads, and indeed set up the network of [???] [???]. They were of course built for military purposes, and served the purpose of linking their garrison towns to improve the movement of troops.

Once the Romans had gone, and the same military need was no longer there, the roads fell into disuse, and most of them gradually disappeared, although we still claim some routes are Roman roads. The movement of the population concerned itself in getting to the market, going to church for worship, visiting relations, and reaching the workplace. It is therefore not surprising that the network of roads we find today, and its Anglo Saxon cross-country tracks, are meandering, and give rise to the twist and bends familiar to us all. In more recent times, we find these things straightened, but this is in the interests of safety, due to the volume and speed of present-day traffic. With the disappearance of the Roman road then, our roads were without a proper surface, and in an appalling state of disrepair. Part of this was because of a blatant disregard of the road being a thoroughfare for all to use, and to respect it as such.

One of the first reported road convictions was during the 1300s, when a pedestrian walked into a hole in the road and was drowned. [laughter]. On investigation of how such a large hole came into being, it was discovered that a miller had dug it, to extract the clay. When questioned why he had chosen to take it from the road, his reply was ‘Well, it’s a drop of good clay.’ Various attempts were made to improve the conditions of roads, but it wasn’t until the Turnpike Act of 1695 that any significant improvements became apparent.

Before this, the Highways Act of 1555 provided that every household should make a contribution to the upkeep of the roads. For the poor, this meant that someone, generally the householder, had to spend one day a month working on the roads. Not surprisingly, this did not improve matters very much. You can imagine the build-up of resentment, having been forced to do a job on a regular basis without pay. Enthusiasm and conscientiousness would be very absent in this work.
Farmers and the better-off could contribute by supplying a horse and cart to carry the necessary materials to do the repairs. It was only the wealthy who could escape direct involvement by making a payment.

Understandably these poor surfaces made travelling very difficult indeed. In summer, because of the dust, it must have been at times like a sandstorm, and in the winter, large stretches of land were subjected to flooding. Now this picture is taken, as some of you may recognise, in Chelmsford High Street, taken round about 1907, 1910, but I’m sure you can see, as the bus comes down the High Street, the sort of cloud of dust that is thrown up, and remember, this is in the middle of a town, so you can just imagine how dreadful it must have been in the countryside.

As I said, in the winter, we were then subjected to large stretches of flooding, and obviously the reason for these ancient tracks keeping to the high ground which we know today as the Ridgeway. It is only in more recent times that river beds have been dredged, so making them deeper and preventing flooding on a large scale. Again, we have to remember that the track or road surface was formed by people, animals and carts, just treading down the natural soil. No attempt was made to construct a road as such. Even rivers had to forded, although wooden bridges could be found in places, but then the repair of the bridge was often in contention. Without a single authority prepared to accept responsibility for them, it was not unknown for a surveyor to report a bridge in a near state of collapse, and then have to wait until appeals[?] of money made, so that the local carpenter could repair it. But they still had to rely on the generosity of his nature. All of this is pretty well recorded history, but what is not often covered are the hills that had to be climbed. By this I do not mean such well-known hills as Porlock in north Devon, or Telegraph Hill near Exeter. It was not so much the length of the hill, but the gradient. Perhaps some of you can remember short sharp hills, as the one leading to Rivenhall Fox, or those by Durward’s Hall. Today, they’ve either been removed, or, as at the Fox, the gradient eased. You might say ‘What about Maldon Hill?’, or Brook Street at Brentwood, but I would like to come to those later.

Present-day motorways are constructed in a very similar manner to the railways, but for totally different reasons. Here, the hilltops are cut off and the valleys filled in, to give a level road, all in the interests of safety and ease of travel. I well remember just a few years ago, when we were holidaying in the Cotswolds and stayed on a farm, the track to the farm was off a main road and rather looked like a roller-coaster. We found our car really struggling to get up the short but very sharp hills. Because the road was very narrow, it was impossible to get up any sort of speed to give a start up the hill. Similarly, coming down the other side demanded severe braking. Well, after a few days I mentioned this to the farmer, who said his farm road was the old Cheltenham to Cirencester main road. This made me realise just how hard the journeys of the earlier traveller must have been, and the hard effort placed on the horses.

As I said earlier, after the Romans had left, roads were not metalled until this century. For the metalled road of today we have to thank Tom Macadam, who had the bright idea of using crushed stone as a surface. Whilst it was an improvement, it was not a complete answer. At this time the stone was compounded, but it lacked a bonding agent, and therefore easily broke up. Also there was still plenty of dust in summer. It wasn’t until tar was introduced as the agent, did we get a long lasting satisfactory surface. Today we know this of course as tar macadam. I hope this gives some idea of the appalling road conditions that horse-drawn traffic had to face, and the sort of things that Edward Moore would meet when he started his business in 1815.

We now need to look at the origins of the stage carriage bus, and confuse this with the stage coach. When Moore’s entered a donkey and cart in the Kelvedon Carnival procession, celebrating the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935, it had a banner proclaiming that they started in 1815, and that W E Moore was a pioneer of transport. When I started to look at the history of Moore’s, I was puzzled how W E Moore could be proclaimed a transport pioneer, when in fact stage coaches had been operating since the 1600s. So how could this be? If there was a distinction, what is the explanation for this. What we really need to understand is that firstly, to travel on the stage coach it was very expensive, also the journey had to be pre-booked, and the coach only stopped at fixed points such as a post house or inn. From this, I’m sure you will recognise a connection between this and the express coach of today.

If that is so, what are we then seeing is the predecessor of the stage carriage bus. It is the carriers’ cart, and that is exactly how Edward Moore started his business. Whilst the principal role of the carriers’ cart was the conveyance of goods, as the name would imply today, it would take passengers as well. It wasn’t a very comfortable ride, though, just a board across the back or side of the cart for sitting on. There was no means for pre-booking, nor were there fixed picking-up or dropping-off points. It meant sharing a ride with the goods, but for a small payment, you could do this even for a small journey. So if this was a recognised form of travel, what made Edward Moore unique and set him apart from the rest? If we look at a timetable from the thirties, we see Moore’s claiming to be the oldest established passenger transport in the eastern area. And here I’ve blown up a timetable which was given out free in 1934. And here we see at the top proclaiming ‘These services are operated by the oldest established operators of passenger transport in the eastern traffic area’. From my researches so far, I have no reason to doubt this statement.

So what do we know about Edward Moore? What prompted him to start this enterprise which was quickly successful, and led to continuing success through five generations of family, and for almost 150 years of passenger-carrying. Edward Moore was born on the 9th of November 1788 in Hatfield Peverel, and he was the third generation in his family to carry the name of Edward. He was the third child born to Alice and Edward Moore. Edward senior was a farm labourer, as was his father before him, and young Edward was destined to follow in their footsteps on leaving school. The family were extremely poor, and we know that young Edward’s parents more than once had to apply to the poor relief of the parish. On one occasion, money was given to buy a pair of shoes costing three shillings. The fact that they did not have to do this after 1815, is an indication of young Edward’s success, and his generosity to his family. At some point young Edward decided to leave Hatfield Peverel and move to Feering. What prompted him to do this, my researches have not yet established. Perhaps it was the attraction of a young lady, for on the 29th of September 1812 at the age of 24, he married Mary Ann May in the parish of All Saints in Feering. Another three years to pass before we see the start of the carriage business. We know that up until 1815 he was still farm labouring. And so what was his family like. Let’s just take a look. In 1813 his wife presented him with a daughter, would you believe, Mary Anne. Sadly Mary Anne was to only live ten years.

I do not know the cause of her death, but in those days the death rate in young people was very high. In 1815, Edward and Mary’s second child was born, and this was William Edward. So in one way and another, 1815 was a momentous year for the Moore family. As we’ve already seen, this was the year in which the carrier business was started, and remember, there was no-one he could turn to for advice. But undoubtedly he had good foresight and perhaps above all, determination. Perhaps we should now look at what his carriers’ cart might have looked like. This picture shows the cart being hauled by donkeys, but whether this was strictly true in 1815, is difficult to say. We certainly know donkeys were used during the 1800s, but exactly when, is the question. It is said that donkeys were used because of post horse licences costing £39 a year, which they couldn’t afford, or didn’t wish to. In 1815 and in the immediate years after, there is no question of a post horse licence being required.

We now have to decide from whence Edward Moore operated his carriers’ business, and here we have a clue. This is a picture of the Valley in Feering, and at the side you can see there are some outbuildings, part of which were probably used, you might ask why the Bell[?] inn. Well, those outbuildings, I’ve spoken to Gray and Sons, who owned the inn in those days and still do now. And those outbuildings at the side probably were stables. And that’s why one thinks that maybe that’s where young Edward put his cart and his horse. Well, the reason that we have shown the Bell[?] inn, and why we perhaps assume that the outbuildings were used for his horse, we know that he became licensee at that inn, in 1816. I think this is another indication of his business acumen, since Gray and Sons the brewers, who owned the inn and still do today, would not have entrusted Edward to run their public house without an ability to sell himself, thereby keep the beer flowing, and so producing the profit needed. Without doubt, these qualities were already being applied to his carriers’ business.

By 1825 we know the Moore’s cart was operating to Colchester to Chelmsford twice a week, with passengers on board, and a restricted speed of four miles an hour, the journey would be tedious, taking between two and a half to three hours in each direction. This assumes there were no diversions along the route to deliver or collect routes. These services were operated to coincide with market days in each town. As we’ve already seen, William Edward, Edward’s son, was born in 1815, and in the population census of 1831[sic], we find he is listed as a carrier, and therefore he had already joined his father’s business. In fact, by 1844 Edward had handed over the reins to his son. As the years rolled by, the family was facing increasing competition. Some fell by the wayside quickly, where others lasted longer, but none were present at the end of the century, and able to [???].

So far we have looked at how the stage carriage services all began, with the carriers’ cart running regularly to Colchester on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Chelmsford on Tuesdays and Fridays, which as I said before, were run to coincide with market days in those towns. What we now need to look at is the way in which the business was expanding in other directions. As carriers, the Moores would be prepared to convey goods either as large single loads or individual consignments, as the customer required. I am sure you will recognise this as the private hire side of the business. Not only would this apply to the cartage of goods, but the carriage of people also. By 1843 the railway had arrived in Kelvedon, giving more opportunities for expansion. If we now look at Moore’s horsedrawn fleet in 1876, it consisted of a brougham, which was a one-horse closed carriage, a phaeton, which was a four-wheel open carriage, and a cab, and that would have been a closed carriage with luggage provisions on top, and five horses. Now that picture of that carriage is the only carriage I know that exists of Moore’s. It could have been a [???] but it could have been a cab. You can just a see the outline of a luggage rail along the top. But it was fairly common of carriages of those days, I just wish we had a better picture and perhaps even more of them. And so, with the five horses that you can see, there was one for each carriage if the demand was high, but no sign of the donkeys. We know donkeys were used to haul the van to Chelmsford, but by this time, they had obviously gone. As we said earlier, donkeys were used because of William Edward Moore’s refusal to pay the licence of £39 a year for post horses.

Now this is a bit confusing, because during William Edward Moore’s ownership, Moore’s did not appear to be in the post horse business. We now need to ask ourselves, what do we mean by post horses. To answer that, we need to first look at the stage and mail coaches, since this should help us. The coaches often travelled long distances and therefore there was a need to change horses at frequent intervals. This was carried out at a posting house or inn, such as the Spread Eagle, or was it called the Blue Posts in those days [no, they were different, JG]. Or the White Hart, where the passengers could also rest and take refreshments. Because the coaches operated very much on a regular basis, it is not surprising they entered into contracts with the staging posts, where horses would be reserved and available to the operator. These stopping places then arranged for the horses to be stabled and fed, and then be made ready for the return journey some time later, perhaps the next day. With horse changes taking place about every twelve to fifteen miles, it is not surprising that a huge industry was built up over the years.

These then were the post horses. Moore’s became part of the industry, but on a much smaller scale. Let’s just consider an example. We could have a lady in her private coach being driven by her coachman, travelling say from London to Colchester, or even Ipswich. Perhaps the last change of horses was Chelmsford, with a further change needed about Kelvedon, with Moore’s being the choice. Moore’s post horses would be fixed to the carriage with their post boy riding postillion, but with the coachman still riding in his place on the carriage. Assuming the next stop was about Colchester, the horses would again be changed, where the post boy and his horses would either wait or return to Kelvedon. Horses would also be provided in this way to the local fire brigade, or under contract to the Post Office for collection and delivery of mail. The local vicar would hire a pony and trap for visiting some of his flock. I mentioned earlier the difficulty of coaches, carriages and waggons climbing the steep hills, such as Maldon, or Brook Street, Brentwood. Here, jobmasters, as they were called, or a coaching inn, would provide additional horses to haul the heavy load up the hill. As you can imagine, these would be in greater demand during the winter, under severe winter conditions. So this huge industry, which reached its zenith in the early to mid 1800s, fell into decline as the railways advanced. And by the end of the 1800s had all but disappeared.

And so, with the disappearance of the stage coach, so the omnibus started to appear in rural districts. Firstly as a feeder to the railways. Moore’s first omnibus operated from Kelvedon to Coggeshall, and this started in 1881. It was still a horse-drawn affair, taking between eight to ten passengers. It probably looked something like this. This particular picture is taken outside Southend Victoria railway station. I don’t know who the operator of the horse omnibus was, possibly some local person there. But that’s a typical rural type of horse omnibus. Possibly that one might take about six to eight people, and again you can see the luggage grid on the top, but this one has a single horse only. For outside passengers they could sit beside the driver there.

We now have a timetable dated 1884, and as you can see the service was operated to coincide with arrival times at Kelvedon railway station. Now this is very interesting. The original of this unfortunately is stuck in the owner’s book, and it was stuck there many many years ago. With his permission I tried to lift it to see if there was something written on the underside, and there was. Moore’s, for reasons that I haven’t fully established, I’ve only heard the Moore’s side, they were in great dispute with the Great Eastern Railway over their omnibus service to Coggeshall. Whether the Great Eastern Railway had intentions of running a bus themselves, I don’t know. There is a Great Eastern Railway enthusiasts’ group, and the Board minutes are published from time to time, but unfortunately they haven’t yet been released for this sort of date. And on the reverse side of this timetable, I was just able to glean that there was writing on the back which said that anybody, that passengers could only be picked up at the station if they had booked the cab in advance.

And so by 1884 you can see down at the bottom, we also see times GER timetable, so by 1884 the rift between the railways and Moore’s had been healed, and to such an extent that their times were given in the GER timetable. However, we mustn’t assume this brought to an end the carrier’s cart to Colchester and Chelmsford, although by the 1880s the cart had been replaced by a van. And we do have a photograph of exactly how this looked. For those who couldn’t afford the railway to Colchester and Chelmsford, there was always the carrier, as there had been fifty years earlier, although slightly more comfortable now. The passenger who was not ashamed to have her picture taken is Alice Cobbold, and the driver there is Horace Moore. Whether there were other passengers sitting in the van, who didn’t want to have their picture taken, I really don’t know. I think the time has arrived now, where we should pause for a moment with a story, and explain the arrival of C and E Moore in our picture.

We said that Edward Moore, the founder, handed over to his son, William Edward, in 1844. It is said that William Edward didn’t advance the business very much. If true, this is hardly surprising, since his wife gave birth to eighteen children. [laughter] It’s amazing how he had time to work at all. But then, men must have been tough in those days. William Edward sadly died aged 50, in 1865, of tuberculosis. For the next two years his wife Anne carried on the business, until William Edward’s two sons, Charles and Edward, took over in 1867, aged 26 and 22 respectively. If we now take a look at Charles and Edward’s business card, we see they are jobmasters as well as carriers. As we have seen, a jobmaster hired out horses and provided the livery stables. It was Charles and Edward who built the Temperance Hotel in Kelvedon High Street, later to become Roslyn[?] garage. This was built in 1879, and apart from accommodation, it ultimately had provision for twenty horses and carriages. And here, the picture that I showed you a little earlier in the carriage house, you can just see the outline of it. We do know who the two people are the front. The one on the left is Ernie Dale[?] and he was about eighteen years old at that time, and to the right is Jimmy Pitchford[?]. Probably stable boys, post boys who would go out on the horses and ride postillion when necessary.

So, I think you’ll all agree the business was expanding at a very rapid rate, or as they would say today, they were increasing their market share. Whilst this being far from the end of the horse era, for it was to continue well into the 1900s, Charles and Edward decided to retire in 1905. And so in that year, Charles and Edward sold the business to Charles’ three sons, Horace, William and Basil. Thus threw the boys into the business at the dawn of the motorbus, which the drivers of the horse-drawn vehicles found difficult to get used to, and initially disliked them so intensely. However, this seems to be a good place to take a break, and perhaps a very well-earned breather. [applause] I don’t know if there’s any questions at this stage that anyone would like to ask, or have you been [???].

Fred Gaymer:    Donkey power, we’ve seen horse power, [??] combustion engine.
BE:    Well, the thing about the donkeys was that Moore’s apparently used the donkeys in uniform, that is three – two and one. And that was [???]. But I haven’t been able to pin a time down yet when the donkeys were [???]. They were certainly used, there’s no question about that, but precisely when is the difficult … It’s amazing how things are said, after many years, and you find that what was said was correct, but it was used out of context, and it doesn’t really quite fit in, so you really have to take note of what was said, and then apply it to the overall history and to see in fact, in that way you can see how it’s progressed. And I’m afraid sometimes you come to a quick stop for a time.

Jane Jones:    Donkeys would need quite a bit of experience to control them, wouldn’t they, cause you know they have those fun donkey races, whereas the donkey could turn right round in the middle and go in the opposite direction.
BE:    I know, I think [???] well disciplined.

Fred Gaymer:    Before the tar got used for the roads, they used to water the High Street in Witham, maybe twice a day, to help keep the dust down.
BE:    Yes, they did, yes, they did that in almost any town, it was absolutely dreadful. And of course you got to winter and you had this terrible flooding. You see, people don’t realise the extent of the flooding that took place at that time. Where during the winter the route would have to follow a different place, simply because they just couldn’t get through. You see all the rivers have been dredged, deeply dredged over the last ten or twenty years, and so large-scale flooding in pretty well [???] now.

John Newman[?]    Where did Moore’s really start off, not [???] garage, did they?
BE:    No, they started, well I understand[?] the [???] theory[?], simply because he was one who would be there …
Questioner:    They started down Swan Street?
BE:    No, that to Swan Street later
Questioner:    That’s where they started [???] [???] told me.
BE:    Yes, that’s true but it’s not completely true. The reason being, you know, if you look at directories, of round about 1830, Edward Moore, who was the founder, was living in Feering, and it shows the Colchester services actually starting from Feering, so that backs that one up. He did come to Swan Street, I agree with you entirely, but that wasn’t where he actually started.
Questioner:    So where [???] garage was, that was the farm[?], wasn’t it.
BE:    That was the [???] [???].
Questioner:    That was the farm, [???] near the station.
BE:    Yes.
Questioner:    [???]
BE:    [???].

Jane Jones:    Is there a Quaker burial ground somewhere …
BE:    Yes there is.
Jane Jones:    Where is it?
BE:    Well, that’s a little bit on the Witham side of where the Moore’s premises were, [???] still there.
Questioner:    That was up the back that Moore used as a store-room.
BE:    That’s right, that was the meeting house. And that was bought by Moore’s round about the 1950s. But the covenants that were on that building were unbelievable. There’s no amusements allowed, anything like that whatsoever. Of course that was because it was a meeting house, obviously. And in the selling of that property, as I say, they put very very strong covenants, I haven’t got it here. You’ll have to buy the book to find out. [laughter]
[Inaudible chat to end of side]

Side 2

Bryan Everitt continues:
Over there with his back to the camera and talking to Basil Moore, furthermore he’s got an ordinary hat on, so it seems a very very funny way in which to take a publicity shot. But anyway, last year, another picture turned up, and this solved many of the problems. It confirmed what we suspected, it was a posed shot, there is the National driver having woken up now, conductor gone back to his own bus, where he should be, the Moore’s driver now sitting where he should be, and the Moore family, William Moore and Basil Moore, looking ahead at the camera, as indeed all the other people are in the bus.

But there is still a mystery to this picture. As I said, the National does not have any registration in there and we’ve looked at that under a magnifying glass, and there’s no number there, whereas you can see Moore’s one there is very very clear. The other puzzling thing is, it has a Coggeshall destination board up there, and we know that the National Steam Car were not running to Coggeshall in 1914. But what is even more intriguing is that that destination is covering another one up, and you can just see the end of an ‘N’ there, and perhaps the outline of a ‘D’ there, and some people have concluded that must be Nayland underneath there. Well that’s an even greater mystery because Colchester depot did not open up until 1920.

So all in all I think one can conclude without a doubt that Moore’s were one of the very first private operators in the area to buy a steam bus. Obviously Clarkson[?] were making the maximum of that, and what is interesting is that the livery of the Moore’s bus is exactly the same as the National. So without a doubt the Moore’s bus was supplied off the production line, in other words one of the National buses being stolen, if you like, and the only thing they really changed was along there where you can see that one reads ‘The National Steam Car Company Ltd’, and here Moore’s is ‘Moore Brothers, Motor Proprietors, Kelvedon’, and really there’s still some strange detective work really needed to establish exactly what those strange destination boards were doing there. Other interesting thing is you can see the waterproof covers on the National top deck, can you see them, which people would put over their laps to try and keep them dry. And in fact if you look at the Moore’s bus there, you can see the same covers, and they’ve even got stencilled on ‘Moore Brothers’. To stop people stealing them I presume.

As you can imagine then, if the simple steam bus was literally the only one in the area, and remember I’m saying the National did not come out in this direction at all at that time, it caused quite a stir, and generated a lot of interest. We have a timetable of its service, when it operated Colchester on Wednesdays and Saturdays via Coggeshall, and via Tiptree on Tuesdays and Fridays. The fact that it was steam driven, and the only one outside of Chelmsford, excited a great deal of interest and indeed, a Miss Blyth from Tiptree, who was a Sunday school teacher, composed a poem about the bus journey to Colchester for her children. And here it is, and I’d like to just read it out to you. It is entitled ‘the ABC of the Tiptree bus’.
‘A for anticipation of Colchester town.
B for the bus, at Tiptree renowned.
C for the crush, which sometimes is bad.
D for the dust, which makes us so mad.
E for the engine, which goes at some pace.
F for the fumes, unpleasant to face.
G for the gossip, which goes on inside.
H for the hats which crush on the ride.
I for the infants who never keep still.
J for the jolts on Hecklebridge[?] Hill.
K stands for Kelvedon Place, where we start.
L for Layer Marney, a small rural part.
M for Moore Brothers who take all the [???].
N for ‘No room unless you’re a [???]’.
O for the outside, which truly is grand.
P for the patience required when you stand.
Q for the queue which waits at the store.
R for the rush when the bus starts at four.
S for Shrub End, with clock on the church.
T for the talking, which gets worse at Birch.
U for the umbrellas you can never find.
V for the victims who get left behind.
W for the windows, through which you can glare.
X for the exit, by way of the stair.
Y for the yearning to go once again.
Z for our zest, which never shall wane.’
[laughter and applause]
Lovely, isn’t it.

Now, I thought you would like to see this picture of the Moore steam bus outside Pinkham’s. [JG’s photos M500 and M1453] An article about this picture appeared in the ‘Braintree and Witham Times’ some years ago. It’s very difficult to say when this was taken, but the bus had been in operation for some time, because of the condition of it. I think you can see it’s getting a little bit dirty and a little bit ropy after previous pictures we’ve seen. It was possibly taken about 1915, 1916, but it might have been a little later. Descendants of the Pinkham family were able to identify some of the people in the picture. Apparently the person with bowler hat was Mr W Pinkham, with his little dog Curly. The person to his left was Rebecca, his wife, and the person the other side was his son Leslie, who ultimately took the business over. The person in the straw hat is a Mr H Keeble, whom I believe became a manager much later, and in front of him, there we are, in front of him is his sister there. And that’s all the information I’ve been able to glean.

Now if the charabanc, which it obviously is in front of the steam bus, was a Moore’s, then certainly it was after 1915, because the only large[?] on the charabanc Moore’s owned was a Thorneycroft purchased from Holmes and Smith in Southend, in 1915. And this is what it looked like, while still in Holmes and Smith ownership. Now, you can see at the back right at the bottom, Holmes and Smith Ltd., Southend and Westcliff, and you can see the title of their firm was the ‘Royal[?] Red Motor Coach’. Once again you can see doors all along the side to get access to the longitudinal seats, and also the two steps needed to get up inside.

Although the vehicle was second-hand, Moore’s must have been very impressed with its performance and reliability, because they went on to buy more Thorneycroft buses. This particular example was owned by A W Berry at Colchester, and when this picture was taken in 1919, it had just come into Moore’s ownership. In fact they were so anxious to get it into service, that they just painted the Berry name out, added Moore’s and their phone number. Now that’s quite interesting, I’m sure you can see right there where Moore’s is, is where Berry’s name obviously was, and they cram in below, ‘Telephone Kelvedon 6’. Now, no other bus of Moore’s had ‘Moore’s Motor Omnibus Service to Colchester and District’. That was clearly a title that Berry’s used. And the addition of the telephone number is quite interesting, because I’d hoped I could date some of the Moore’s publicity by seeing if it gave a telephone number or not. However this doesn’t work out. The telephone arrived in Kelvedon in 1908, when the exchange was a sub-exchange of Witham. Witham was obviously of great importance in those days. Witham and Maldon exchanges having operated from 1905. It is interesting, since neither Moore’s business cards, nor timetables, included a phone number in 1915. Clearly this form of communication was still in its infancy. Of course the exchange was not manned twenty-four hours, but only a few hours a day. However, by 1919, the number seemed worthwhile adding, due to increased use of the phone, although generally for business purposes only.

As we move into the 1920s, we should see how Moore’s were expanding their services. As we’ve already seen, from 1914 they were providing a service from Kelvedon to Colchester four times a week, connecting Coggeshall and Marks Tey for two of those days, and Tiptree and Birch for the other two. However by 1926, this had increased to five days a week on both of these routes. There was not service on Thursdays because of early closing in Colchester. They also opened up a service in 1919 from Kelvedon to Coggeshall, Earls Colne, Halstead, and Braintree, but on Wednesdays only. There was only one trip, leaving Kelvedon in the morning at 9.45, and arriving at Braintree at 11.15. As you can see, things were now speeding up. Heavy vehicles were now allowed to do twelve miles an hour. [laughter]. The return journey left Braintree at three thirty p.m. By 1928 a service had opened up from Braintree to Colchester for one day a week on Wednesdays. Also on Fridays, a main road service was started between Kelvedon and Colchester.

So whilst we saw Moore’s services expanding at the end of the 1920s, and therefore their vehicle fleet increasing, we also saw the competitive element really hottening up. I mentioned earlier that many prospective busmen had seized the opportunity of using surplus army lorries, and having bus bodies mounted on them, whereas others bought ex-London open-topped double deckers. Small fourteen-seater buses were beginning to appear, as new operators believed passenger carrying was a lucrative business. These then were the times of the pirates, where every possible tactic was employed to gain passengers. Cutting fares, running a few minutes ahead of the rivals, ignoring a single waiting passenger and heading for the next stop whereby three, four or five people might be waiting. [laughter] Needless to say, these pirates did not work to a recognised timetable, but appeared to gain maximum traffic and therefore profit, always assuming their bus was still working. Some operators’ vehicles received little or no maintenance, and were probably already clapped out when they were first bought.

Although District and Borough Councils had the powers to licence all vehicles plying for hire within their boundaries, generally they restricted them to carriages and taxis. It wasn’t until the 1920s that they decided to apply these powers to buses also. However, not all local authorities did so, and when they did, they exercised them to differing degrees. Moreover, some Councils had other good reasons for introducing licensing, in protecting their own transport undertakings. For example, Colchester had a tramway system, and here we see their licensing powers taking effect. This is a conductor’s badge, issued by Colchester Borough, and as you can see, the Borough arms sitting there at the top of the badge. These were obtained from the local police station, and there would have been one very very similar for the driver also. The vehicle too would have had to have a plate, and if you look at some old pictures of the backs of buses, because they’re not very numerous, because people don’t take the backs of buses, you’ll often find an oval white plate, which meant that that had to be fitted if they were to enter in the boundaries of that particular town. If they entered more than one town, and they had they had applied their powers of licensing, then they needed more than one badge, as did the conductor and the driver. The other thing too that the Boroughs were able to do, was to impose their own fare structure, and this applied to anybody entering the Borough boundaries. This one is issued by Colchester Borough. I’ve chosen this particular one as I thought it’ll be here for you to look at afterwards if you’d like to. But basically, this is the one for the route entering the Borough at Lexden, and finishing up at the old bus park. And all of those fares are laid down so that anybody entering the Borough who picked up or dropped off passengers had to charge those fares, that was laid down. So this particular route covers Lexden to the bus park, but it would have applied to any route coming into Colchester. And as I say, the operator would have had to conform with those fares.

So this really was only a prelude to what was coming. The Road Traffic Act of 1930 provided total regulation for the whole of the bus industry. Traffic Commissioners were installed in each area of control. This area was the Eastern Traffic Area, which was operated from Cambridge. Licensing was total, owners, vehicles, fares, drivers and conductors, all had to be registered. Licences were issued every three years, and could be revoked for non-conformity. To continue after this could mean prosecution. This had a profound effect on all operators, since it brought large expansion of services to an end, and the only hope of enlarging their network of routes, or increasing the frequency of existing ones, was to buy up other operators, and so secure their licences. Moore’s services from Chelmsford to Maldon via Hatfield Peverel, and the extension of the Tiptree to Colchester service to take in Tolleshunt Knights, were obtained in this way. They were originally operated by A V Brand[?] Bluebird Service of Tiptree. They were taken over by Moore’s in 1932. Any intending operator who was not running services by 1930 was unlikely to be granted licences. Regulation was to continue for the next fifty years, until Margaret Thatcher arrived on the scene, and paved the way for de-regulation in 1980.

By 1930, the open-topped double deckers had gone, and Moore’s replace these with single-deck buses, the interiors of which were more up to coaching standards. At this time, Gilford was the favoured make, with either Petty or Wycombe coachwork, having thirty-two seats. This particular shot was taken at Colchester, the old Colchester bus park, that particular body was a Wycombe one, and that was delivered in 1930. Beside it you can see there’s another vehicle, that’s GMC[?], which was also owned by Moore’s, and beyond that you can just get a glimpse of another bus which was also Moore’s, and that was a Gilford, which had a Petty body. And you can just see the curtains at the windows there. And they really did have quite luxurious interiors. If you like there’s a picture, a blown-up picture there of the Gilford, which you’re very welcome to look at afterwards, and through those windows you can see they had a handrail behind each seat, and the ash trays were done in cut glass, as were the lighting bowls. They were quite luxurious. And Hillmans[?] had a six wheeler which even had little vanity mirrors to each person. So Gilford was, they reigned supremely for a few years but died a death in 1934.

By 1934, Moore’s had now switched their allegiance to Albion, and Dupont. They continued to receive this make up until the outbreak of War. Now this particular shot is taken out of Dupont works which were in Hendon, and you can see the placard in the window there advertising Dupont, and this shot was taken just before it was delivered. This particular bus was my father’s, and when we say, you know, a particular person’s bus, it means that they were allocated that bus, and that’s the one they used all of the time. As long as that bus was on the road, so the driver and the conductor would remain with it. As an example, if that was on the main Colchester – Chelmsford service, that would probably start around about half past seven in the morning, at that time, and perhaps come in at eleven or half past eleven at night.

And that same crew would be with that bus all day and every day. The bus would come in one day a week to be maintained and cleaned. The driver would be responsible for checking, getting it greased up, making sure all the oil in the engine was all right, or had to be changed as the case might be, and the conductor would be responsible for cleaning out the interior and other maintenance items that were needed. And I can always remember that on that particular day of the week, my father coming home at five o’clock and it almost seemed as though we were on holiday. [laughter] (Questioner: What year was that?  BE: 1934). Now the, I don’t think that Moore’s, perhaps somebody can correct me, but I think the changing of crews, you know, on a scheduled basis, really didn’t come in until the double deckers arrived, I think that was the time in which the allocation of buses to individual driver and conductor, stopped.

Right, OK, so what we were saying was then, that by the late thirties, due to increased passenger loading, AEC and Leyland double deckers arrived on the scene. But these now had covered tops. This is an AEC Regent, I think it’s Brush[?] coachwork, it was bought second hand and originally was owned by South Wales. That subsequently had a new body put on it, but that’s there as it was bought in from South Wales. And that had a petrol engine in, not oil, they hadn’t gone over to diesel. But there were diesel engines in some of the later Albions that arrived, but not on the double deckers.

From this you can see that there is a whole range of chassis and body work in service, and no real attempt had been made at standardisation. However, this was to arrive very shortly, imposed by chance by the Second World War. The outbreak of War caused many changes. A huge demand for buses to take workers to their factories, the curtailment of certain services, and withdrawal of others. So what we’re talking about now is the smaller bus, which in this case we can see is a Bedford, and that has Dupont[?] coachwork, this was delivered in 1937, Moore’s first Bedford was delivered in 1932, and they had a number of Bedfords ranging from that time, 1932, right through until 1950.

Bedford was a very favoured make with the small, if somebody wanted a small bus, and Bedford of course, was the successor to Chevrolet, where Moore’s had some of those vehicles prior to the introduction of the Bedford name. The outbreak, I can’t remember if I said this, to be honest with you, the outbreak of War saw, caused many changes, a huge demand for buses to take workers to their factories, the curtailment of certain services, and withdrawal of others. In fact at the end of hostilities, some services were never restored, and in fact if you look at those timetables there, there’s one there 1939, and one there 1950, and you will see a number of the services had in fact gone.

And so, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to claim that the 1930s was really the heyday of the motor bus. We’ve already looked at the expansion of the stage carriage services, but if we look at other services on offer, it is amazing what was available. Let’s just take a look at the 1938 programme. Now, this is entitled ‘Holiday Tours’, and these were the August holiday arrangements for 1938. And those range of tours operated from Braintree, very similar from Coggeshall, perhaps a slightly shortened list from Kelvedon, and others from Tiptree. And if we just look and see what was on offer, we find there were day excursions to Clacton on Sea, and they operated three or four times during that week. They left Braintree at nine o’clock in the morning, and left Clacton to come home at six thirty in the evening, all for the princely sum of four and sixpence return. [laughter] They operated to Mersea Island daily, and here again there was two services, one at nine o’clock in the morning, and two o’clock in the afternoon. And here the return fare was two and sixpence. They operated each Sunday to Mill Beach.

There were also evening tours, and that was very very popular in the thirties, to go along and find the bus at Braintree waiting in the bus park at six thirty p.m., sometimes where they were going would be advertised, other times it would be known as a mystery tour. And what would you believe, one and sixpence return, that was. There were also, and this applies really right back to 1932, they were operating from Yarmouth, and Lowestoft and Yarmouth, as well, and one route would be via Bury St Edmunds, and the other, and coming back it would be via Ipswich, so you got a different set of scenery. And that applied also to Lowestoft. Felixstowe, they were running, again on Tuesdays, and that was five and sixpence return, Southend on Sea, not surprising. But then the surprising thing was, they were running a service for Lowestoft and Yarmouth on a Saturday. And here you bought a period return, and the object of that obviously was, holidays were beginning to get into, becoming popular now, so you could go down to Lowestoft or Yarmouth on one Saturday, and obviously come back the next, you only got a week’s holiday in those days. And here again, if we look, for Lowestoft it was twelve and ninepence, and for Yarmouth it was fourteen shillings. So that was really what was available from Braintree. And Coggeshall was very very similar, Kelvedon slightly less, and slightly less again with Tiptree. So, you know, it really was quite amazing what was available.

Also, the private hire side of the business wasn’t short of a few customers either. This was the first outing of the Coggeshall Co-op in 1937. [‘Ooh’s from the audience] As you can see, almost all the buses are Moore’s, all very smartly turned out. Yes, that’s quite a good picture I think, on the Market Hill of course at Coggeshall, I’m sure you recognise that. All the buses up on this side are Moore’s. There’s one different one there which might have been Blackwell’s of Earls Colne, or perhaps Hicks, not really sure, but all of those are certainly Moore’s. You can presume that most of them would be Albions, there might have been an AEC in there, but they certainly were dominated by Albions. And if you look on the [???] there, you can see the row of drivers, can you see them there, all in, turned out in their nice white coats, and white dust caps on their hats. A lot of people must have been employed by the Co-op in Coggeshall, mustn’t they. [muttering from audience, one probably says ‘members’].

Now, before we leave the 1930s, there is one point that should be mentioned. On October the first, 1932, Moore’s became a limited company, and from then on was known as Moore Brothers, Kelvedon, Ltd. Horace Moore became the director, and William the secretary. These brothers were the fourth generation of the family in the bus business.

By the early 1940s, Moore’s were getting into a desparate state for new or replacement vehicles. The vast majority of bus manufacture was made over to War work. However, there were one or two minor exceptions, but these were under strict government control, both in manufacture and release to operators. The first bus to be released, or unfrozen, which was the correct term, was this Bristol, with a Dupont[?] Utility body. This was delivered in 1942. It was the first and only Bristol that Moore’s ever owned. It was delivered in a matt grey finish, that some people might call battleship grey, those who worked in Marconi will know what that looked like, and they also would have had wooden seating, and again it was very very austere appearance.

And you will find that the other Utility buses that we look at, the coachwork is very similar indeed. Thereafter, the only double deckers to be delivered during the War were Guys, which was Moore’s introduction to this make. This one was delivered in 1945. All were fitted with Utility bodies, having a very austere look, and wooden seats. Although these buses had bodies from different coachbuilders, they all look very similar. The quality was very poor, either unseasoned timber being used for the framework. Single decker replacements were supplied by Bedford, who also had Utility bodies.

Although soon after the War, the wooden seats were replaced by upholstered ones, but this didn’t change the appearance of the vehicles, which were really dreadful. You only have to look at this bus in Colchester bus park, to realise how awful it was. This was the first Guy to be delivered. Here you can see that the garage staff had made an attempt to stop the leaking front windows on the top deck, and it really didn’t enhance its appearance. It was fairly common practice in the bus industry to fit replacement bodies on the old chassis, but apart from one or two minor exceptions, Moore’s hadn’t done this before the War. However, they really got into their stride during the late fifties, with a replacement programme for most of their double deckers. The differences made can be seen from this photograph, which is exactly the same chassis as previously shown. I think we’ll all agree it looks totally different. It’s got a very nice rounded shape to it, it was produced by Massey Brothers of Wigan, who were supplying most of the coachwork for Moore’s at that time. Moore’s I think chose Massey because both Colchester Corporation, and also Southend were takers of Massey Brothers coachwork, and they really did produce some very fine service.

During the late fifties and early sixties, a number of new double deckers and coaches arrived, which really had a modern look. Here are some examples. Now you can see on this one, they’re beginning to cover the radiators up now, with an ornamental front, 20 PVX, that was delivered in, have it in just a moment, 1959, no change, a Gardner engine and the body work was by Massey. You can see another Moore’s bus with the Utility coachwork to the right there on the stand, and I think you’ll agree it’s totally different altogether. They really were very very smartly turned out.

The next picture we have is of the same bus in America. One or two Moore’s buses were shipped out to America, and this is one of them. I think this one, but I’m not a hundred per cent sure, was in service on the east coast of America, but eventually it got shipped out to the west coast, where they then altered it, and it really did look hideous. They mounted a huge bumper on, I suppose to conform with Californian law, but you can see the 20 PVX, they still retained that at that stage. Also the bonnet was elongated because they fitted a much bigger engine in it, and it really did look a mess, but nevertheless it was still very nice to see some Moore’s buses going international.

The next one we have, this is a Guy saloon, again, Guy chassis, Gardner engine, but this time the coachwork is by Straughan[?], and again Moore’s had a number of single decker buses with Straughan[?] coachwork, and slightly different to Dupont[?]. The bus to the left of it, as you can see, is a Leyland, which belonged to Blackwell’s[?], and also a double decker the other side of that, which also most probably belonged to Blackwell’s[?]. And here we really have a flamboyant looking bus, don’t we. We’re really getting into the American stride now, with mouth organ fronts, and very very flamboyant outlining along the side, and these little corner windows here in the front. This coachwork was by Yates of Loughborough, and Moore’s only had one of those. The chassis, by the way, I should have mentioned that, that was Connor, a Connor Avenger with a diesel engine in it. So quite a difference, I think you’ll agree, to some of the buses we’ve seen earlier.

Therefore, by 1960, Moore’s had a very up to date fleet. The old buses had been disposed of, and those which still had life in them, received new bodies. And so the firm seemed to be in good shape, having progressed from a single horse and cart to a fleet of some over forty motor buses. Both Harold and Percy Moore had succeeded to the directorship, after their fathers had died in 1940 and 1956. Neither Percy’s son Kenneth, not Harold’s daughter Patricia, had entered the business. Percy Moore’s illness of Parkinson’s disease, was beginning to appear, and one can only presume the cousins faced the dilemma during 1962 of what to do for the best. Staff considerations must have figured prominently in their minds, for some had served fifty years with the company. This line-up of staff, which featured in the ‘Braintree and Witham Times’, in April 1952, shows six of the seven staff whose combined service amounted to 243 years. I don’t know if anybody here would recognise the faces, I know the Moore’s staff here would, but apart from that … That one on the extreme left is Harry Went, George Mayhew, my father Hubert Everitt, George[?] Newport, Alfred Taylor, and once again, Jimmy Pitchford comes into the picture. And the person who was missing off the picture which build up to the 243 years, was Frank Clarke, because he happened to be away for that day.

A contract of sale was signed with the Eastern National Omnibus Company on the 31st of December 1962, for taking over the business on the 3rd of February 1963, subject to the transfer of road licences. Thus on the 3rd of February, Moore’s appeared on service with notices in the front window showing that they were on hire to Moore Brothers Kelvedon Ltd. This meant that whilst the business was now in Eastern National ownership, the licences had not yet been transferred, but this was to follow in a few days. And so ended the family firm, with 148 years of passenger carrying to its name. In all those years there had never been a strike, but within a year under Eastern National, the Kelvedon depot was involved in a dispute.

However, let this story not end on a low note. In 1992 I discovered the Essex Bus Enthusiasts Group were planning to make thirtieth takeover commemorative run in 1993, over the Moore’s service routes, using a Moore’s bus. I asked if arrangements could be made to stop in Kelvedon, and pick up any ex-Moore’s employees who might wish to join the run. This was agreed, and I informed the Vicar of Kelvedon, David Thornton, who is also a bus enthusiast. He agreed to publicise the event in the parish magazine. As the bus entered Kelvedon, the driver and those who were already on board, just couldn’t believe their eyes. It was like Carnival day, with people lining the streets. A total of twenty-seven staff joined the run at the old garage in the High Street. It was the first time they had all come together in thirty years. A number of pictures were taken, and these particular ones were taken at Kelvedon, and the legendary hill, Coggeshall. This one, is, as we said, I’m sure you can see, the legendary hill, Coggeshall. That was taken travelling over a route to Earls Colne. And you know, that, I hope, was a memorable day for all the people who joined the run, especially the ex-Moore’s staff. And this one is taken into the entrance of the old Roslyn[?] garage, and as you can see, they had at last all been well-trained, and were not standing in front of the name, nor were they standing in front of the number plate. Well, what was the date of this event? April the 3rd, 1993, just two years ago today. Thank you all very much indeed.


Jane Jones[?]:    How were Moore’s related to Cable’s[?] of Hatfield Peverel, Cable’s[?] garage.
BE:    Not to my knowledge. I know of no connection there.
John Newman[?]:    There was [???] in Cable’s garage.
BE:    Was there?
BE:    What generation was that connection, do you know?
Questioner:    I don’t know, but when was delivering parcels [???] [???].
BE:    Ah, but was he just an agent?
Questioner:    No, he was something to do with them.
BE:    Oh that’s interesting.
Jane Jones:    His wife was something, was married …
BE:    Oh, I’ll have to pursue that, because I’ve got a family tree going back to 1760, so it would be very interesting to see, you know, to see if that fits in.
Jane Jones:    I’ll see if I can find out, if …
BE:    Oh yes, anything like that. When I mentioned about agents, reminded me really, that like most bus companies, they carried parcels, so in a sort of minor way they were still carrying on the carriers’ business. And if we look at Braintree, we’ll see the agent was a Mr Rudkin, Market Square. In Coggeshall there was a Mr Humphries of Market Hill, and Kelvedon of course would be at the garage. But at Tiptree it was a Mrs Moore of Church Road, they had a shop there didn’t they. I don’t think they were any relation, that was just a chance.

Questioner:    About the carrier business, my grandma lived at Rivenhall, and she, if I remember right, she’d drop a postcard to Moore’s, to say that she’d like to be picked up on this market day or whatever it was, and I used to climb aboard with my grandma and have the day in Witham, and were picked up, I suppose on the return journey from Chelmsford. But that with the old ‘Lizzie’[?] called Lizzie[?], (BE: {???]) Yes, that we’d got out of the shed, you’d hardly[?] be able to sit on the seat at that time.
BE:    Well, you know, when Moore’s operated as a carrier into Chelmsford, they stopped at the Kings Head, which was, I don’t think it was a coaching house, it was just a public house, and, which was where Woolworth’s is now, and at Colchester it was the Horse and Groom in Crouch Street. They were the two terminals.

Questioner:    I remember the last shots[?], I was a conductor on Moore’s for a long time, and often meet the man who was in the last picture, who comes into Witham for a drink every day, or practically every week, I should say. And I often speak to him, cause he used to come to our club as well. Name of Walter[?]
BE:    I see. That’s right. Well we did try very hard to locate everybody that we could. There were some, I’m very sorry to say, we missed, and had we known, and in the end I was limited to the number of seats I could have anyway, because when I asked if we could join in this run, it was run by the Essex Enthusiasts Group, it was nothing to do with Moore’s in that sense at all. So they then asked me at first, how many seats did I want. And frankly I hadn’t any idea, and I said, well, I don’t know, let’s say twenty. ‘Oh, that’s all right’. And never knew really that I would get up to twenty, well we did get up to twenty, and then I had to ask ‘Could we have twenty-five’, and they said ‘Yes, all right’. Well we got a few more, and I had to go back and say ‘Can I have thirty’. And they said ‘Yes, but that is it, no more, that’s the lot’. And they didn’t really want to fill the bus to capacity, that was one reason, cause we went over all the routes, we went up to East Ford[?] and round, didn’t go to Messing because we thought that was too dangerous, but it went to Crockford[?] Green and all round there. [???] [???] So at the end of the day, whilst we would have loved everybody to have been there, and I know we didn’t have some, as I said, we may have had to have some disappointments because as I said, they restricted us to thirty, and as I said, there were twenty-seven, so we weren’t far off. It should have been thirty but because one or two were ill, they didn’t turn up, and therefore it’s a pity those seats could have been used by somebody else, but there you are.

Questioner:    I remember those trips to Mersea, they were one and six.
BE:    Did I say it was one and six from here then, I’m not sure.
Questioner:    It’d be half a crown today.
BE:    Spot on, it was one and sixpence in 1938.

Polly Wheaton[?]    I travelled on Moore’s buses to school, and the half single from Chelmsford to Witham was fivepence, and a half return was sixpence.
BE:    And that was five old pennies.
Polly Wheaton[?]:    Weekly it was two shillings.

Questioner:    Did any of the buses get to Malta[?]
BE:    Not that I’m aware of, I’ve never been told.
Questioner:    I don’t know if you’ve ever been there?
BE:    Yes, I know, it’s an absolute paradise. ({???]) Of course Portugal as well, took a lot of brand new British manufactured buses, and I don’t …

[tape runs out]

2 thoughts on “Tape 170. Talk by Bryan Everitt about Moore’s, bus and carrier company of Kelvedon”

  1. Gosh,just sat and read the article on Moore’s. I was at the Hostory Group that evening. I think I have the book somewhere.

    1. Hello Linda, I hope you are getting on OK. Thank you for reading that article – I’ve looked at it too, now. I’d forgotten how interesting it is, and how important Moores were/was. I think I heard Bryan’s talk as well – a very lively chap.

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