Colwill's Magnificent Greys - Early Public Transport in North Devon and North Cornwall, by Roger Grimley

£9.99
Colwill's Magnificent Greys - Early Public Transport in North Devon and North Cornwall, by Roger Grimley
Colwill's Magnificent Greys - Early Public Transport in North Devon and North Cornwall, by Roger Grimley

Published privately by the author, 48 pages. A4 size staple bound booklet (N5225)

This privately published A4 size booklet provides a fascinating history of public motor transport in North Devon and North Cornwall in the early days of motoring, and is illustrated throughout with several small black and white photographs

From the introduction: The coastline of North Devon from the border with Somerset east of Lynmouth to illfracombe is singularly rich in colouring and varied in outline, then around Barnstaple and Bideford the valleys of the Taw and Torridge abound in river scenes of rich and quiet beauty. Nearing Clovelly, the coast is clothed with woodland to the verge of the cliffs but westward of this, into Cornwall, wood is comparatively scarce as towering cliffs are interrupted by "mouths" that form openings to the sea. Inland as a farming district where even the main roads were narrow, winding and often hilly. The principal towns and market centres were Barnstaple, Bideford, South Molton, Torrington and Holsworthy.

This was an isolated and remote part of the country until the advent of the railways when the Victorian tourists, always attracted by romantic scenery, came in increasing numbers. Hotels and boarding houses sprung up in former fishing villages and Ilfracombe became a fashionable resort.

To enable the holidaymakers to fully enjoy the charms of the district services of horse-drawn vehicles were inaugurated, one of the leading proprietors being Samuel Colwill with his teams of grey horses. Until the Great War of 1914 - 1918 the district largely relied on the trains and horse traction for transport, carriers serving virtually every community and providing a means of conveyance for goods and passengers. After the war there was a rapid increase in motor transport and by the early 1920's a local guide noted that 'the ever expanding road motor services have greatly added to the advantages of Barnstaple as a centre'.

During the 1920's various operators competed for the patronage of travellers but most noteworthy among them was Colwills (Ilfracombe) Ltd. and later Hardy Colwills. Later Southern National bought out many local proprietors and became the dominant provider of motor bus services over a wide area of North Devon.

In this publication we chronicle the trials and tribulations, the determination and resilience of the Colwill family, one of the pioneers of road passenger transport in North Devon, and their successors who struggled to establish motor services across a large rural area in North Devon and North Cornwall.


The condition of the booklet is generally very good. The card covers are clean and bright, the staple binding is tight and intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. There is a small price sticker on the rear side cover.
Condition New