IT'S thanks to transport historian Brian Jackson that we can once again bring you a story of a public transport service in Weymouth.

The business of Jeanes Coaches was derived from the short lived business of Henry George Rugg previously a haulier and furniture remover of 114 Abbotsbury Road, Westham, Weymouth, who was granted a Hackney licence in September 1921 to operate an hourly bus service between Weymouth and Chickerell via Abbotsbury Road with a small bus FX7970.

Owing to a family dispute in June 1923 the licence was transferred to Mrs E. M. Rugg. However within a month Mrs Rugg gave up, the Council transferring the licence to Jeanes Bros who were operating a service to Chickerell via Pye Hill. The brothers Percy and Cyril had a garage at the former Military Cinema in Abbotsbury Road and by 1920 under the name White Star Bus Service in a red and white livery commenced a second bus service from Weymouth to Preston, Sutton Poyntz and Osmington Mills which was expanded in 1922.

Cyril Jeanes left the business in 1924 taking Ford bus FX 6416 and setting up as a carrier at Alton Pancras. By April 1924 Percy Jeanes had taken over Mrs Rugg’s premises at 114 Abbotsbury Road where over the pavement petrol pumps were installed, lorries were hired out on haulage work and later furniture vans were added to the business. The arrival in 1925 of the National Omnibus & Transport Company (Southern National after 1929) Jeanes were the first to feel the effect of a capacious company, who in July 1925 took over the Chickerell service operating half hourly, with four journeys extended to Abbotsbury. In July 1926 Jeanes were refused a licence to operate a Weymouth-Dorchester service. In May 1928 National took over Jeanes Preston and Osmington routes, thus bringing to an end Jeanes stage carriage operation, The remaining coach business then ran under the fleet name ‘Gem’ with a yellow livery.

Over the years at least 24 buses and coaches passed through the company, the full details of some lost in the mist of time. They were a heterogeneous collection, a few new, most secondhand. The most interesting of the latter was a McCurd chassis of 1916, formerly a Wilts & District vehicle fitted with a secondhand 26 perimeter seat body from a Southend Corporation bus, the body of tramcar design with a clerestory roof was acquired in anticipation of the proposed Weymouth-Dorchester service. After use with Jeanes this interesting body passed to an employee who for many years used it as a summerhouse at his house in Chickerell.

Following disposal of the bus service, private hire and tours operations continued the latter from the Kings Statue, albeit on a small scale, and with the expansion of Southern National Jeanes transferred their licences to Southern National in October 1937, bringing to an end any bus company having a garage at Westham.

The garage continued to function for motor repairs, filling station and furniture removers, during the Second World War part of the garage served as an NFA auxiliary fire station. Percy Jeanes had three sons in the business, in which further changes took place in 1951, the furniture vans passed to Messer’s Allways of Weymouth, and the former cinema premises at 114-115 Abbotsbury Road disposed of. A former cobbler’s shop alongside the filling station became a cycle shop. In 1961 the two remaining brothers in the business Arthur and Maurice dissolved the partnership, Arthur departing. Within five years the business had passed out of the family and later the site was cleared. Today Gemma Court, a block of flats occupies the site.