Lincoln buses

Words by:
Alan MIddleton
Featured in:
December 2017

Lincoln had operated a horse tram service from 1882 to 1905 and an electric tramway service from 1905 to 1929. The first motorbuses were purchased by Lincoln Corporation in 1920. They were a batch of eleven Dennis CAB models, normal control saloons with solid tyres.
The handsome bodies were built by LL Motor Bodies of Louth and were of the rear entrance layout seating twenty-six passengers. Slatted wooden seats were fitted forward and aft of the bulkhead thus dividing the saloon into two compartments with twelve seats in the forward section and fourteen in the rear.

The driver’s cab extended to the full width of the vehicle with a door on each side and one in the bulkhead through to the saloon. An extra seat was fitted alongside the driver and it was a rare treat for any schoolboy (rarely girls) to be allowed to ride ‘up front’ with the driver.

Large route number boards were fitted on the roof at the front and rear with the destination names also displayed on boards below the side windows. The fleet livery was light green body panels, cream window frames, white roofs and black mudguards. Large gold leaf fleet numbers, shaded in black, were applied and the company title, ‘City of Lincoln Omnibuses’ also in gold appeared along the body side panels.

A new depot had been built on Burton Road, near the top of Mount Street, to house the new fleet. The manager of the tramways, Richard Hoggard, appointed in 1920, became the manager of the Burton Road depot on 10th January 1921 whilst still being, officially at least, the manager of the Bracebridge tramway depot. In practice, after the opening of the Burton Road depot, responsibility for the tramways service effectively passed to the City Electrical Engineer, Stanley Clegg.

The first two buses started to operate on 19th November 1920 on Route 1 to Burton Road. This was a circular service which ran in both directions. Buses set out from St Mary’s Street next to St Mary le Wigford Church and travelled via High Street, Silver Street, Lindum Road, Pottergate, Minster Yard, Priorygate, Eastgate, Bailgate, Newport, Rasen Lane, Burton Road and returned via Yarborough Road, Hampton Street, West Parade, The Avenue, Newland, Mint Street and High Street to St Mary’s Street. The clockwise service used the same route with the exception of Mint Street, using Guildhall Street instead.

Route 3 to Monks Road started in February 1921 and ran via High Street, Silver Street and Monks Road, terminating at Hartley Street, but the route was later extended to the end of Monks Road. In March 1921 a trial service to Wragby Road started running on Fridays and Saturdays only, to serve the new St Giles estate that was being built in the northeast part of the city. The trial proved successful and by July 1921 Route 5 to St Giles was operating six days a week. Housing development was taking place in the southern part of the city in areas around Newark Road, Skellingthorpe Road and Doddington Road.

Twelve new vehicles were added to the fleet from 1925 to 1927. These smart little twenty seaters, with bodies built in Lincoln by Bracebridge Motor Bodyworks, introduced one-man operations to the city for the first time and they were soon running on Route 4 to Doddington Road Bridge at its junction with Newark Road, via Boultham Park Road and Rookery Lane. For a number of years an independent bus operator, Mr Corten, ran a service to Skellingthorpe village and also served Swanpool Garden Suburb.

Lincoln Corporation eventually took over the business and Route 6 began operating, but only as far as Swanpool.

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