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Smith's Coaches of Potterspury

I am researching the coach operator Smith's of Potterspury, the only known coach operator in our village.

Around 1900, workmen from the Wolverton Railway Works that lived in Potterspury formed a club to purchase a horse and brake to convey them to Wolverton rather than their having to walk each day. Initially, the horse was stabled at Bakehouse Farm on the A5 but after a short time the Duke of Grafton sold them the Rope Walk, a building where the old village craft of rope-making had been carried out. In 1920, the horse-drawn service ended after the horse was sadly struck by lightning and had to be put down. The service was taken over by motor buses operated by Grose's of Northampton. This firm was not new to Potterspury, they had worked a Northampton to Stony Stratford service on Wednesdays and Saturdays through Potterspury since 1919.

In 1927, operations were taken over by John & Ted Smith who bought a lorry for general haulage during the day, and placed benches in it for the Wolverton workers. The business expanded and proper buses were later purchased. Operations were originally based at the Forge in the High Street (Smith's family were blacksmiths) but later from a yard adjoining 9 Woods Lane (later renumbered 1) at the same location as the Rope Walk. John had financed the business but later left. Ted's son was involved with the business from 1961 and assumed control when his father died in 1972.

The Ian Allen "Little Red Book" for 1973/4 shows the following:
Postal address: 1 Woods Lane, Potterspury
Phone: Yardley Gobion 273
Proprietor: I Smith (this was Ivan Smith, I understand)
Vehicle
s: 5 coaches (Bedford and Ford, with Plaxton and Duple bodies)
Licences held: Stage Carriage and Express
Livery: Blue and ivory

The "Little Red Book" for 1982/3 shows the following:
Postal address: 1 Woods Lane, Potterspury
Phone: Yardley Gobion 5422173
Proprietor: I Smith
Vehicles: 5 coaches (Bedford and Ford, with Plaxton and Duple bodies)
Licences held: Stage Carriage and Express
Livery: Blue and ivory

Apart from the Wolverton service (registered as an Express service after the 1930 Road Traffic Act, but made Stage Carriage in 1972, other Express services were worked from New Bardwell and Wolverton (later from Deanshanger) to Plessey's electronics factory at Towcester, and from Potterspury to the Pianoforte Supplies works at Roade.

The business closed down in 1992.

A sizeable 1970s-looking house now exists at 1 Woods Lane and was probably the home and office of the business. The adjoining yard, entered via the High Street, has now been built on - aptly named "Coach Yard".

If anybody has any additional information, or even photographs, I would be really interested to make contact - you can contact me through the Home Page of this site.

 

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