CRICH PARISH

which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell.

My Lady Coach

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.
With increasing demand from Crich residents for transport to Ripley and Derby, miners transport to Oakerthorpe and Swanwick pits, and local trips and excursions, in the early 1920s Gervase bought a Dennis 16-seat saloon bus and established My Lady Coach, in what is believed to be Crich’s first bus/coach service.  

 
1. Dennis Standard 16-Seated Motor Coach

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.

My Lady coach in Crich Market Place

This bus was described in the Dennis Bros Limited catalogue as the Dennis 30cwt "Standard 16-seated Motor Coach". The specification included:

  • Framing of selected and well-seasoned English ash and oak

  • Bottom tongued and grooved yellow deal

  • Heel boards and seat framing of American cotton wood

  • Doors to all seats on near side and to off side of front seat, fitted with slam lock and rubber silencers. Dennis patent hood (Patent No. 1773) with all-weather side curtains

  • Steps covered with linrubber and brass edging.

  • Leather upholstery. Spring cushions, and backs hair stuffed

  • Optional pneumatic tyres

 

2. Dennis 30 cwt Saloon Bus

My Lady Coach appears to have purchased a replacement Dennis 30 cwt in the mid/late 1920s. The photograph below shows Gervase Edward Taylor standing extreme right of picture (notice his height compared with his passengers; and also that all the men are smoking).  

My Lady Coach 1920s

This bus was described in the Dennis Bros Limited catalogue as the Dennis 30cwt "Standard 16-seated Saloon Bus". The specification included:

  • Pillars, rails, cross-members and runners are of selected ash and oak

  • Exterior panels of 22G steel, rear corner panels beaten to shape, and interior panels constructed of three-ply birch

  • Floor of 3/4 in. red deal, tongued and grooved

  • Outer roof supported on ash hoopsticks

  • Optional pneumatic tyres

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.

My Lady coach 1930s

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. 


4. Bedford OB/Duple

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.

Photograph courtesy of the Malcom Wood collection

My lady coach at Cromford

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.


5. Bedford VAS/Plaxton

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:

Tickets courtesy of Glynn Waite

my lady ticket1 my ladt ticket 2 mya lady ticket 3

Photo Tim Jeffcoat

My Lady coach on Bullbridge 1969

My Lady Coach on Bullbridge, Saturday 9 August 1969

 

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