A History of My Lady Coach, Crich
by Nigel Turner
Following WW1 service, Gervase Edward Taylor purchased an ex-Army lorry (probably a Dennis 30cwt) and installed benches and hoops in the rear; while his wife Elsie fabricated a canopy to protect passengers. He was a licensed carrier and used the same vehicle to transport items in the Crich area.
Outside Jack H Smith, the butcher, is a photograph with Gervase Taylor at the wheel of a Dennis 30 cwt, dating from the early 1920s. Jack Smith was the brother-in-law of Gervase Taylor.
It appears from the garlands festooning the butchers shop and “Sunday-best” attire of passengers that the photo was taken on a festival day – it would be good to receive information about the date and possible nature of the festivities.
This bus was described in the Dennis Bros Limited catalogue as the Dennis 30cwt "Standard 16-seated Motor Coach". The specification included:
2. Dennis 30 cwt Saloon Bus
This bus was described in the Dennis Bros Limited catalogue as the Dennis 30cwt "Standard 16-seated Saloon Bus". The specification included:
3. Dennis Ace/Willowbrook
My Lady Coach evidently had good service from their Dennis 30 cwt coaches and in the mid 1930’s purchased a brand new Dennis Ace with a Willowbrook body (see the coachwork sticker in the window). Eileen Turner, daughter of Gervase Taylor recalls accompanying her father to Loughborough to collect the Dennis Ace from Willowbrook coachworks.
Almost every Dennis Ace (nicknamed "The Flying Pig") was built between 1934 and 1936, with only a few stragglers being made after that date. From the ages of the children in the photograph it is estimated that this photo dates from 1934 or spring 1935.
Again, Gervase Taylor is standing at the extreme right of the photograph with his wife, Elsie (kneeling and wearing spectacles) and children Gervase, Eileen and Barbara just right of centre.
It has not been possible to accurately identify the Dennis Ace above, but research has revealed that ARA 370 (a Derby registration, dating from 1934) had a Willowbrook 20-seat body, and entered the fleet of Newbury & District in 1940. It was withdrawn by Newbury in 1946 and its fate is unknown.
My Lady Coach owned and operated two Bedford OB’s with Duple "Vista" C29F bodies, which sported a two tone brown livery (Gervase was colour blind)! Services operated were an hourly Saturday afternoon and evening service to Ripley, and a Friday only service between Crich and Derby.
LRB 158 was a Bedford OB with a Duple "Vista" C29F body and was bought new by My Lady Coach in 1948 and sold in 1967 to someone in Devon. It was later scrapped.
ORB 45 was a 1950 Bedford OB with a Duple "Vista" C29F body and was bought new by my Grandfather Gervase Taylor of My Lady Coach in 1950. It passed to Silver Service in 1969 who ran it for a few months, including a “farewell run” to Haworth in Yorkshire, before it was finally scrapped.
During this era, My Lady Coach continued regular Ripley and Derby services, and Oakerthorpe and Swanwick pit miners transport, but business developed and grew to undertake school runs, cubs/scouts, brownies/guides transport, sport team transport and other private hire trips. Excursions to destinations including Skegness, Spalding Tulip fields and occasionally Blackpool became increasingly popular, as well as “Mystery Tours” to more local beauty spots.
The final vehicle acquired by My Lady Coach in 1967 (from Jones of Market Drayton) was a Bedford VAS with a Plaxton C29F body - registration VNL 51. This coach was also sold to Silver Service in 1969.
Some coach tickets:
My Lady Coach on Bullbridge, Saturday 9 August 1969