Book Will Document History Of Scilly’s Buses

Don Williams (left) and Charlie Gibb

A new book documenting the history of buses on St Mary’s, and sharing stories about the people that drove and serviced them, should hit the bookshelves next year.

It’s been researched by Reverend Charlie Gibbs and Don Williams, with help from published author Brian Constable.

Charlie is a bus addict and, when his church duties allow, sometimes deputises for community bus driver Steve Sims.

He says the book is not just about the vehicles, but also the people who drove and used them. They’re keen for people to come forward with their stories, photos and memorabilia like bus tickets, for inclusion in the book.

From Radio Scilly

Charlie and Don talk to Keri Jones about their upcoming book

But their research has already uncovered some fascinating facts, like the earliest bus service, which was drawn by a horse and launched by Holgate’s Hotel in 1902.

The first motorbus appeared in the 1920s, again for Holgate’s, and was brought over by Tom Langsworthy from Penzance.

The ‘Flying Greenhouse’ from 1946

And some islanders might still remember going to school on Jack Townsend’s ‘Flying Greenhouse’ a former ambulance converted to a bus in 1946 by islander Horace Nicholas that “looked like someone had taken a van, cut the body off and put a greenhouse on the back.

Don says they’re still trying to fill a few gaps, particularly whether there were any other buses on the islands in the pre–war period other than those operated by Holgate’s Hotel.

Charlie says they’re hoping to pull everything together by the end of the year and hope to publish the book, as yet untitled, next year.


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