TRANSPORT historian Brian Jackson has been in touch following publication in Looking Back of an old street scene in Abbotsbury Road, Westham, Weymouth.

Brian pointed out that, interestingly, the pre First World War street scene shows Weymouth's first bus service.

It is the only known illustration of a horse bus in Westham.

This was the first bus service in the town which was started by the Weymouth Omnibus Company registered in April 1885, Brian tells us.

The horse bus had two services, Franklin Road to the Guildhall and the Guildhall to Lodmoor Hill, and by the end of the month a number of Lodmoor journeys were extended to Spa Road, Radipole, all journeys terminating at Radipole from December 1898.

All services to the Guildhall travelled down St Thomas Street whilst the return services proceeded up St Mary Street.

The following May, adjustments were made to the Dorchester Road service whilst the Westham service was doubled from six to 12 journeys.

Very little is recorded of the company. By 1900 H.J. Young had become the owner, residing at Overdale House, also Overdale Terrace (now 14-22 Holly Road had been constructed on part of the site.)

Young originally came from the Sherborne area. By 1893 he occupied Lynch Farm west of Weymouth trading as a farmer and horse dealer, also branching out into the haulage business tendering for work with Weymouth Town Council.

By the time H.J. Young left the farm he was operating a horse drawn char a banc during the summer months to Sutton Poyntz and other places of interest.

The horse bus service was operated by three two-horse double decker buses, two seating 26 passengers. The other had 24 seats, eight horses being employed for the work.

The commencement of the Great Western Railway motor bus service between Radipole Spa Hotel and Wyke Hotel via the town centre in June 1905 obviously affected the Radipole service although the Westham route remained.

Unfortunately Young was suffering failing health and the business was sold by auction in October 1907.

The three horse buses and five bus horses were sold for £97 14s to Henry Carter of Rocky Knap, Radipole.

Robert Young passed away on January 6 1908 and by a twist of fate, the new owner having moved the business to Rocky Knap and renaming it The Weymouth & General Omnibus Company, also had to retire through ill health.

The business passed to Mr Henry Jesty, a livery stable proprietor of Crescent Street, the bus operation moved back to Holly Road where stables were rented from Mrs Young.

The service continued until the end of September 1912 when it ceased, the horses and buses being sold, it is rumoured one of the horse buses ended up in the garden of the Kings Arms pub at Portesham for a number of years.

The following month Mrs Young sold the premises and left the neighbourhood.

The Holly Road premises then entered into the early motor char a banc trade, firstly under Mr E. W. Puffett, then Victory Tours before ending its days as a motor repair garage.

Today only Overdale House, Young’s residence and numbers 14-22 Holly Road, remain as a memorial to Weymouth’s first bus service, which even in the days before the motor car could still be a precarious venture.

*Thanks to Brian for sharing this information and images with us.