ID: ML2021_009_074 / Ron Green

TitleMersea bus services
AbstractI was born in No. 6 Council House in Barfield Road and as soon as I was able, I spent a great deal of time looking out of my front window at the passing traffic. It was the mid-1930s and much of it was horsedrawn but there were also buses from four different companies passing by.

Firstly the Primrose Bus service - three single decker Guys which had come second hand from London General Omnibus Company. The familiar open topped double deckers had gone by around 1930. I can claim I went to Colchester on one of these singles.
Then there were the buses of A W Berry & Sons. They were Colchester based but claimed to have ran the first timetabled service from Colchester to West Mersea using a horse-bus which was later replaced by a Daimler Wagonette. Berrys also ran a service to Brightlingsea and I also rode on that, probably the same day as the Primrose ride.
The picture shows Berry's Wagonette outside the Peldon Rose in 1905.

Thorp's buses traded under the name of Reliance Coaches and were based at the Griffon Garage (now the site of Tesco). They ran from West Mersea to Colchester and also had a service from Wigborough to Colchester.

Last but by no means least were Underwoods (Blue and Cream) buses and coaches. Originally an East Mersea business it transferred to West Mersea about 1932 with the building of a new garage which still stands in Kingsland Road.

Phil Underwood was the first to sell out to the Eastern National Bus Company and our picture shows the fleet lined up on Glebe Corner on the last day of 1934. It passed to Eastern National the next day. He had to sign an agreement not to run buses for the next 20 years and as many of us can remember he had a fleet of coaches when that time expired. The Eastern National took over the Primrose and their Garage in High Street which is now MICA - as you sit in the main hall at MICA you may still see the ghosts of buses that once lived in there.
By the end of 1937, Berrys and Thorps had also sold out to Eastern National - whose successors still run one of the services to Mersea.

Published in Mersea Life September 2021 page 74.

AuthorRon Green
PublishedSeptember 2021
SourceMersea Museum