BLUE BUS SERVICES (TAILBY AND GEORGE)

             BLUE BUS PHOTOGRAPHS                     BLUE BUS ARTIFACTS                     1976 FIRE



During the pioneering days of rural motor omnibus services in the 1920s a fledgling service began between Burton and Derby. The route passed through Newton Solney, Repton, Willington and Findern and saw fierce competition with the already established Trent Motor Traction service. The vehicles in use then appear somewhat primitive to the modern eye. Reputedly, on at least one occasion, the combination of poor weather and the climb up the valley side between Burton & Newton Solney required the passengers to get out and push. The regular driver, a chap named Jack Dean was apparently quite a character - beginning a tradition of friendliness with which the Blue Bus was to remain synonymous.

This early start gradually grew, via a series of partnerships; Jack Dean and Arthur Allen then Jack Dean and Percy Jowett Tailby followed by Jack Dean, Percy Tailby & Harold George and finally, in 1927, Tailby & George. The service these men provided had become known as The Blue Bus Service and in about 1930, the company moved their operation to premises on Repton Road at Willington. The company had expanded their operation to include a second route between Derby and Burton, this time via Etwall, Egginton and Stretton. On 9th October 1939, the company became Tailby & George Ltd. and entered a period of steady, reliable and, above all, committed service, continuing under the branding of Blue Bus Services. Passenger numbers were such that during the Second World War, the company began operating double-deck vehicles requiring special low height vehicles due to the 13ft 6in headroom of the railway bridge in Willington. Despite the odd scrape (and one quite heavy thump on the Twyford Road railway bridge in 1968) the double-deckers were very successful.

The seriousness with which the Blue Bus company regarded its duty to its passengers was not lost on the local population and the company was a much loved part of Willington village life. Staff were urged to bear in mind they were providing a service and without the customers there would be no job. Politeness was the watch-word with passengers each receiving an individual 'thank you' as they alighted. The company outgrew the original garage which was on the east side of Repton Road and new premises were built on the opposite side of the road, opening in June 1956. The low stone wall on either side of the entrance to this garage can still be seen just on the village side of Saxon Grove. Throughout much of their history, the company were loyal to Daimler as suppliers of vehicles, which was rewarded by Tailby & George being heavily involved in the trial of a prototype vehicle during the 1960's and receiving two of the first vehicles off the resultant production line.

Since the untimely deaths of their spouses in 1955 & 1958 respectively, the company had been run by Mr. Tailby & Mrs. George. Percy Tailby died in 1956 leaving Katherine George as sole proprietor until her death in 1965. Tailby & George Ltd. then passed to Douglas & Bunty Marshall, the latter being the daughter of the Tailbys.

By the 1970's public transport was in a state of serious decline. The railways had been decimated by Beeching and the majority of the bus industry was either nationalised (i.e. Trent) or in the hands of the local council, as in Derby and Burton. Small independent companies like Tailby & George faced fierce competition from the bigger companies. On 1st December 1973, the then proprietors of the company, Mr. & Mrs Marshall made the decision to retire.   After much speculation the operation of the Blue Bus Service passed from Tailby & George Ltd to the Derby Corporation.

Blue Bus Services (Tailby and George) Willington - Fleet which passed to Derby Corporation Ominbus Department.

Derby Fleet No 

Registration No 

Make 

Chassis Number 

Body Make 

Seating Capacity 

17

ORA819M

Bedford YRT

CW454751

Duple

C53F

18 

ORA818M

Bedford YRT

CW454725 

Duple 

C53F 

23

7000HP

Daimler CRD6

60000

Weymann

H44/33F

24-25

324-325YNU

Daimler CRG6LX

60003/54

Northern Counties

H40/33F

26

ARA762B

Daimler CRG6LX

60603

Northern Counties

H40/33F

27

JRB481D

Daimler CRG6LX

61216

Northern Counties

H41/31F

28

NRA49J

Daimler CRG6LX

64410

Alexander

H44/31F

30

SRB425

Daimler CD650

18333

Willowbrook

L27/28RD

31

YRB483

Daimler CVG6

18880

Willowbrook

L27/28RD

32

465FRB

Dennis Loline I

135Y1

Willowbrook

H37/33RD

33

303GRB

Dennis Loline I

136Y1

Willowbrook

H37/33RD

34

702PRA

Daimler CVG6

19491

Willowbrook

L27/28RD

35

YRB203G

Bedford VAL70

7T460118

Willowbrook

DP56F

36

BRB674G

Bedford VAL70

7T459067

Willowbrook

DP54F

37

CRA882B

Bedford SB5

96296

Duple

C41F

38

KRB426D

Bedford VAL14

6827558

Duple

C52F

39

NRA680D

Bedford VAM14

6865626

Duple

C45F

40

TNU687F

Daimler SRC6

36024

Plaxton

C51F

41

FRA631H

Bedford SB5

9T470648

Duple

C41F

42

ORB883K

Bedford SB5

1T485152

Duple

C41F

43

DXE137J

Bedford YRQ

1T482715

Willowbrook

B45F

44

EXE276J

Bedford YRQ

0T481598

Willowbrook

DP45F

If the fleet number is underlined there is an illustration attached - just click on the number.

Nos. 17-18, 23, 24-28, 30-44 ex-Blue Bus Service, Willington (new 1973 (17), 1973 (18), 1960 (23), 1962 (24), 1962 (25), 1964 (26), 1966 (27), 1971 (28), 1953 (30) 1955 (31), 1957 (32), 1958 (33), 1960 (34), 1968 (35), 1969 (36), 1964 (37), 1966 (38), 1966 (39), 1967 (40), 1970 (41), 1971 (42), 1971 (43), 1971 (44).
Withdrawn 1974 (30), 1975 (33, 35-37, 43), 1976 (17, 18, 23-28, 34, 38-42, 44), 1977 (31-32).



BLUE BUS SERVICES UNIFORM BADGES (CLICK TO SEE A FULL SIZE IMAGE)



             


The transaction cost Derby Corporation £212,039, for which they gained a fleet of 25 vehicles and a tremendous amount of 'Goodwill'. The passing was mourned by locals and bus enthusiasts alike. Careful and skilled maintenance of the fleet had meant that as well as a steady programme of new vehicles, older examples were still available for duty, leading to a certain nostalgic charm whilst maintaining a more than functional day-to-day service. Transition to Derby Corporation (Derby Borough Transport from 1974) was slow but steady. A gradual integration of the fleet, livery and, notably, working practices took place such that by early 1976 the future of Willington as a bus depot was questionable. At best the garage was likely to retain the ever growing private hire business with the Burton - Derby service buses moving completely to Derby. Thus the writing was already on the wall for Blue Bus Services to become Derby Borough Transport's private hire brand when fate leant a helping hand.

The last vehicle into the garage had been parked up and the garage locked at 2305hrs on the night of Monday, 5th January 1976. For many it had been the first day back at work after the long new year holiday and, as was normal practice, the entire fleet had been fuelled on returning to the garage ready for the next days work. In all 19 buses and a van were in the garage when, at 2325hrs smoke was reported issuing from the building. By the time the fire service arrived the entire garage area was engulfed and the fleet was wiped out. The premises were destroyed along with a number of unique and historic vehicles as well as the spirit of Blue Bus Services. Derby Borough Transport hastily acquired replacement coaches to maintain its services and private hire commitments but all operations were now centred on Ascot Drive garage in Derby. Two former Blue Buses which were at Ascot Drive awaiting disposal were reinstated after the fire, but were subsequently scrapped when the unexpected need for them was ended by replacement vehicles.    

      Very little of Blue Bus thus remains.

Well not quite 

Since I wrote this I have been contacted by Mrs Bunty Marshall - (nee Tailby), and she informs me that she is still going strong. So there is still somebody from the fondly remembered Blue Bus Services remaining.

She has also very kindly supplied me with a picture of Blue Bus Services employees, taken c1967.


Click to view a larger image.

 


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