Up Over and Down Through - Early Motor Public Transport in the Seaton Area of Devon, by Roger Grimley

Up Over and Down Through - Early Motor Public Transport in the Seaton Area of Devon, by Roger Grimley
Up Over and Down Through - Early Motor Public Transport in the Seaton Area of Devon, by Roger Grimley

Published privately by the author, 44 pages. A4 size staple bound booklet (N5223)

This privately published A4 size booklet provides a fascinating history of public motor transport in the Seaton, Beer and Branscombe areas 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 the English Cannel. The cliffs are of red sandstone but as one travels east the blush is less deep and at the gates of Dorset the cliffs are almost snowy white.

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. The coming of the railways brought more visitors and tourism became an important part of the local economy but the towns of Seaton and Sidmouth, although only ten miles apart, were completely different in architecture and social history.'

Travel was not made easy by the nature of the roads and one 19th Century traveller complained: 'The high roads in Devon are for the most part excellently made but badly engineered. Anciently the roads were made where the packhorses had travelled and when re-engineered at the beginning of the nineteenth century, instead of being carried along the valley bottoms so as maintain them at a level, or nearly so, the old course was followed so that the highways present a succession of undulations, often with steep hills to ascend and descend'.

Off the main roads things were no better. 'The cross roads and bye roads weave about in a most capricious and provoking manner; and their only charm is in the beauty of the hedgerows being hung with ferns and the banks colourful with wild flowers'. Whether on high road or back lane one thing was certain, the road would go 'Up over and down through'.

Visitors were enthralled by the steepness of the hills, the narrowness of the roads, quaintness of the cottages and beauty of the countryside but opinions varied as to the best way to enjoy the area. 'He who walks sees most of the charms of the county and especially of the coast' but with a caution added, 'if he be wise the visiting pedestrian will have as little as possible to do with the main roads - except where a motor 'bus service will take him speeding over an uninteresting stretch - but will stick to lanes, bridle paths and footpaths' .

Others believed that there was no better way of observing country life than by travelling by the motor 'buses serving villages and hamlets. However, potential passengers were warned that services are liable to change without notice, poster time tables are sometimes incomplete and even those sold to the public had been known to be incorrect. Tourists were recommended to inquire to make sure they were still in force.

As for motor coaches, it was a case from everywhere to anywhere. All the resorts had their own fleets that made trips to every beauty spot and place of interest and many small towns or villages had at least a fourteen-seater that visited dances, whist drives and regattas.

We tell the story of the development of the motor 'bus and char-a-banc services in the area between the Devon/Dorset border, from the advent of motors until the sale of the last of the pioneer operators in the 1970's. This booklet deals with the Seaton, Beer and Branscombe area.

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