The First World War had been over for less than two years when the "Roaring Twenties" arrived. Britain’s industry was getting back on it’s feet, and there was no shortage of jobs for those men who were fortunate enough to return sound of body and mind from the bloody fields of Europe.

Hatfield Main began full production in the Barnsley seam in 1921 and Stainforth’s population increased in accordance with the colliery’s need for mineworkers to toil in the black depths below. Around the area several other mines were either in operation or in the planning stages, and miners came from all over the British Isles to find work in Doncaster’s incipient mining industry

Several local entrepreneurs realised the opportunities presented by this immigrant workforce and their families, in that the growing local population would imminently require a public transport service.

By the end of 1922 there were no less than five different transport companies operating from premises in Stainforth, and servicing routes between Doncaster, Stainforth, Dunscroft, Armthorpe, Thorne, Goole and Hatfield.

This page will take the briefest of looks at the beginnings of these local pioneers of public transport and the links at the end will guide you to other sites which cover this subject in even greater detail.

T.Severn & Sons Ltd - Cressy Motor Services
Originally from Cresswell in Derbyshire, Thomas Severn arrived in Stainforth intending to set up his haulage business to carry coal from the new colliery. At weekends he converted his lorries to buses and by April 1922 he was competing with Blue Line, Reliance and Roe to carry fare paying passengers between Stainforth and Doncaster. He named his company "Cressy Motor Services", as a reminder of his Derbyshire origins.

By the mid 1920s the Cressy buses were operating an additional route between Thorne and Doncaster, along with Renown, Premier and Felix Motors. In the 1940s this route was altered to take in the nearby Lindholme air base.
By the 1950’s the company, instantly recognisable in it’s green and cream livery, was operating several private contracts, including football specials to Doncaster Rovers, and several works services, such as to the Rockware Glass factory at Kirk Sandal and Hatfield colliery from Dunscroft.
In 1954 the company moved to a new depot on Bootham Lane, Dunscroft, from where it continued to operate until 1980.

Felix Motors Limited
The name of the Parish family is synonymous with Stainforth’s waterside history, and it was one Ernest Parish who, in 1921, operated one of the village’s first bus services from his garage on East Lane.
Some of the village’s older residents may remember seeing the Felix buses, with their crimson and cream livery, complete with the Felix The Cat cartoon character logo on the side.

Felix The Cat
The company operated from it’s Stainforth premises until 1930, when it relocated to a depot in Park Lane, Hatfield. From there Felix Motors Limited ran services between Thorne and Doncaster, incorporating Hatfield, Hatfield Woodhouse and Lindholme, as well as other contract and private hire services, such as local school runs, the Doncaster Rovers home express, and a special St. Leger Race service.
In 1941 the Felix company took over another local company, Smith’s Renown buses, who had their headquarters on Main View, (Flat Tops), Kirton Lane.
Ernest Parish died in 1957 and the company continued to operate until 1976, when it was sold to the South Yorkshire PTE.

Blue Line
Formed in 1922 by Richard Wilson, the company first operated a service between Armthorpe and Doncaster, carrying fare paying passengers in an eight seater Ford. Some of the first vehicles were given names such as "Blue Bird" and "Blue Canoe", and then in 1927 a double decker, the first in the fleet, was named "Blue Line".
In 1930 the Blue Line company acquired "Gwen Motors", otherwise known as "Samuel Morgan Ltd." Samuel Morgan had set up his company in 1921, and by 1930 had established several other routes, including a Doncaster to Goole service. After this acquisition the Blue Line company traded under the name of "Blue Line (Samuel Morgan Ltd.)"

Blue Line at Christ Church, Doncaster © John Platt

Three years later Blue Line took over another Stainforth based company, that of William Lowe, and made attempts to acquire the business of Albert Braim.
The Parish Register for April 1922 has an entry for a garage on East Lane jointly owned by Samuel Morgan and Robert Store, but most will recall that R.Store operated his "Reliance" bus company from premises on Church Road for many years. Reliance was operated as a subsidiary company by Blue Line from April 1949.

The company was to benefit from the closure of Thorne Colliery in 1956, when they were contacted to ferry the miners to and from other collieries around the Doncaster area. In later years they had other private hire contracts, such as school runs. For almost sixty years the Blue Line buses were a common site between Stainforth, Doncaster and Goole, resplendent in their dark blue livery, with the single paler blue stripe across the middle.

In 1979 Blue Line and it’s subsidiaries were taken over by the South Yorkshire PTE and the depot on Church Road was closed. It is now in the hands of the Isle family, being used for the repair and maintenance of HGVs

The Blue Line bus fleet will always hold a special place in my heart, as I have wonderful memories of times spent on the back seat of a Blue Line bus. I also recall how, as a child in the early 1960’s, I would stand beneath the immense front grills of the Guy buses where they were parked at the depot on Church Road, and look up at the chrome indian chief’s head which adorned the radiator cap. I still remember every detail of those proud features, as the chief stared steadfastly at the road ahead.
I also remember, as many others will, how cold and draughty those buses with the open platforms at the rear were, particularly on cold wet winter mornings.

GUY Mascot © John Platt

In the 1960’s and 70’s the bus for Thorne could be caught at the first stop on the route, which was on Emerson Avenue. The bus returning from the previous trip would drop off the last of it’s passengers near Dutton’s shop, and then go into the depot on Church Road. Five minutes later the bus would reappear and start the journey afresh, picking up those passengers waiting at the Emerson Avenue stop first. Passengers would board the bus by the open platform at the rear, and then either enter the lower deck through an opening to the left, or climb up the twisting stairway to the upper deck. Fares were collected by the conductor, who, with his/her ticket machine strung around his/her neck, would come swinging along the isle, hanging onto the chrome poles as the bus lurched around the streets.
After the introduction of the one-man-bus, which meant the demise of the humble clippy, the double-deckers on the Stainforth to Goole service were replaced with single deck coaches.
These coaches still bore the Blue Line livery and were in use right up until the SYPTE took over the service. Follow the link to John Platt's "Blue Line" site to see a photograph of one of the coaches, along with many others from the Blue Line fleet.

W.Roe - Roeville
A mention must also be made of the Roe family, who operated their private hire bus company from their premises on East Lane for over two generations. Their private contract buses were a common site around the streets of Stainforth, and there will be many in Stainforth who, like myself, traveled to the continent aboard one of Roes luxury coaches.


This is John Platt's unofficial web site of Blue Line buses

British Bus & Coach Enthusiast Magazine Website

Solent Blue Line - The Blue Line fleet may be just a memory in Stainforth, but the name lives on with this Hampshire based company.




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