Rivalry and Retaliation - Early Motor Buses around Chard and Ilminster, by Roger Grimley

Rivalry and Retaliation - Early Motor Buses around Chard and Ilminster, by Roger Grimley
Rivalry and Retaliation - Early Motor Buses around Chard and Ilminster, by Roger Grimley

Published privately by the author, 48 pages. A4 size staple bound booklet (N5215)

This privately published A4 size booklet provides a fascinating history of public motor transport in and around Chard and Ilminster in South-west Somerset, and is illustrated throughout with several small black and white photographs

From the introduction: The Blackdown Hills, on the Devon Somerset border, stretch from Taunton in the north to Honiton in the south; from Ilminster in the east to Cullompton in the west. They consist of steep ridges and high plateaux dotted by villages, hamlets and farms.

Running north to south are the valleys of the Rivers Yarty, Culm and Otter and the hills are bisected by the two main London - Exeter highways, the A30 and the A303 that run east to west and meet on the hills above Honiton. The main north - south road link is the A358 between Taunton, Chard and Axminster along the lower land to the east of the hills.

The early horse drawn stage and mail coaches avoided the Blackdowns by taking a southerly route from Salisbury through Dorchester and Axminster to Honiton. Later they went by way of Crewkerne and Chard, then along the ridge road through Stockland to Honiton. The Turnpike Act brought improvements along the line of the A30 through Yarcombe and then as motor traffic developed the A303 through Amesbury and Ilminster became an alternative route.

The London & South Western (later Southern) Railway tracks from Waterloo Station in London passed south of Yeovil, through Crewkerne, dipping to the south of Chard and on to Axminster, Honiton and Exeter. A branch line was established between Chard Junction and the town, a distance of some 2 miles and other branches linked Axminster with Lyme Regis and Seaton Junction (between Axminster and Honiton) with Seaton town. The Great Western Railway also had branches from their main line to Ilminster and Chard and to Yeovil.

These arrangements meant that at least one change of train was necessary tor passengers travelling between Taunton, Ilminster and Chard in the north and Axminster, Seaton and Lyme Regis further south. This resulted in long journey times and a great deal of inconvenience. As road motor transport developed omnibus proprietors were not slow to provide a more convenient service and the Taunton - Ilminster - Chard - Axminster - Seaton route developed into a major cross country link.

The National Omnibus & Transport Co. Ltd. established services over a wide area of eastern and south western England, moving into Somerset in the 1920's. Here they encountered strong competition from local firms and there was intense rivalry with some rather unusual methods employed to gain an advantage. The pioneers of motor passenger transport enabled country residents to see places they had never been able to visit before and allowed them access to the bargains and wider range of goods available in the towns. Not only were people carried, produce and packages could be taken or sent to market and urban traders consigned items to country customers.

The motor bus and charabanc thus became an important part of everyday life and we tell the story of those who owned, drove and rode in the early motors in the area where Devon, Dorset and Somerset meet....

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