Twin Peaks and Toastracks - Early Motor Public Transport in the Sidmouth Area, by Roger Grimley

Twin Peaks and Toastracks - Early Motor Public Transport in the Sidmouth Area, by Roger Grimley
Twin Peaks and Toastracks - Early Motor Public Transport in the Sidmouth Area, by Roger Grimley

Published privately by the author, 46 pages. A4 size staple bound booklet (N5222)

This privately published A4 size booklet provides a fascinating history of public motor transport in the Sidmouth area of East Devon, and is illustrated throughout with several small black and white photographs

From the introduction: East Devon consists of a number of long ridges divided from one another by the rivers Otter, Sid and Axe and the Branscombe and Beer brooks, all of which flow into Lyme Bay. The cliffs are of red sandstone but as one travels east from Torbay the blush is less deep and at the gates of Dorset the cliffs are almost snowy white. Away from the coast the landscape is pastoral with a profusion of wild flowers in the hedges during the spring and summer.

The principal occupations of the inhabitants were fishing and farming but tourism developed early, receiving a boost when Napoleon closed the continent to British visitors. Sidmouth's climate and surroundings recommended it as a fashionable place of residence many notable people, including royalty, resided for longer or shorter periods. The town was transformed as hotels, lodging houses, golf-links, bathing establishments and shops sprung up and the rapid development at that time has left the town with a plethora of attractive architecture.

Sidmouth was served by a number of coach services but the advent of (relatively) fast coaches was not always received with enthusiasm. One man deplored the increase in the number of stagecoaches. Such easy travelling, he said, would encourage country gentlemen to come to London merely to have their hair cut, or for some similarly frivolous purpose!

The coming of the railways brought more visitors and tourism became an important part of the locaI economy. However, Sidmouth was not to become a holiday resort, popular with the masses. Great care was taken to ensure it remained select and those who sought the pleasures of mass tourism were not encouraged. People who came to Sidmouth did so through a love of the quiet pleasures. They enjoyed the quaintness of the cottages and the ty of the surrounding countryside and a wide range of horse drawn vehicles were available for hire in the town, ranging from bath chairs and donkey carts to carriages and waggonettes.

The coming of the motor car brought new opportunities as those capable of dealing with mechanical intricacies of the early vehicles provided faster journeys and the opportunity to travel greater distances. Motor coaches now provided daily programmes of excusions and tours and gradually a network of motor 'bus services spread across East Devon. This resulted in some intensive competition between local proprietors and larger parries from outside the town while the Sidmouth Urban District Council attempted, vainly, to maintain some form of order and to ensure that the protagonists remembered the long suffering public.

This booklet.... tells the story of those who owned, drove and rode on the early horse-drawn and motor vehicles plying for hire in Sidmouth from the early years of the nineteenth century until the 1950's, when the last local proprietors sold their services larger organisations. These include the Deans, the Burgoynes and the redoubtable William Albert (Bill) Dagworthy, who was at the forefront of transport in the town for many years.

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