SHARP  OF  BOSTON

Operating from Boston to Freiston Shore


Please note this is a site of historical record and does not contain current service information


Originally Charles Alfred Sharp, this business became A (Eric) Sharp of Boston. The Freiston bus route is believed to have been acquired from Battle in 1950. At some time in the earlier days the base was in Sutterton, where the former charabanc belonging to Thorougoods was based.  Sharp's bus service operated from Boston to Fishtoft and Freiston, and typically the fleet would be six Bedford vehicles in a red and cream livery, including OBs and OWBs.  A family business, Eric and wife Mary, and in 1954 the bus service was popular enough to require the provision of three vehicles on the route. In 1964 the fleet numbered five, all Bedfords, three OB, one SB and a 7-seater. A visitor noted their immaculate condition and turn out.

The Sharp's business was sold to coach firm Hogg of nearby Benington in 1978. This was Hogg's first foray into bus operation (they also ran the petrol filling station in Benington). With express service deregulation in 1980 Hogg introduced a twice weekly service from Boston and Spalding to London (this was continued by Brylaine until 1999). In turn the Hogg business, founded in 1958, with depots at Peck Avenue in Boston, Benington and Coningsby, was sold to Brylaine in 1990.  The Coningsby depot had been acquired by Hogg with the nine vehicle business of Milsons of Coningsby (established 1923) in 1979.

Illustrated below is an undated timetable from this operator.  There are handwritten additions on the back giving additional journeys on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays during the school holidays:

        9.00 am and 4.30 pm  Boston to Freiston Shore

        2.20 pm  Freiston Shore to Boston

 

As may be seen from the timetable there were three route variations (a) via Fishtoft and Hawthorn Tree (b) via Freiston Village and Hawthorn Tree (c) via Fishtoft, Halfway House and Hawthorn Tree.  Lincolnshire Road Car service 63 also ran between Boston and Freiston Village, but on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.  On those two days most of Sharp's runs went via Fishtoft rather than Freiston.  As can be seen the depot was in Pipe Office Lane in Boston - next to where the bus station now is.  The departure point for the Freiston service was a little way away across the river in Main Ridge, off the Market Place.

There were attempts in earlier years to make Freiston Shore a seaside resort but these were short-lived, and today Freiston Shore is a thriving RSPB Nature Reserve.  This is the biggest example of such a project in the United Kingdom and over 150 bird species are recorded here each year. 

Always a popular spot to visit for Bostonians however, as evidenced by journey possibilities in the timetable for trips outwards from the market town of Boston as well as shopping and market day (Wednesday) trips into town.  The Plummers Hotel, which was bult in the mid eighteenth century, was once derelict.  Twentieth-century land reclamation has altered the shore line and left this high and dry, now several fields from the shores of the Wash.  Happily it now is once again a thriving business.


timetable


This Bedford / Mulliner OWB BUX854 had just returned from  Freiston Shore and is parked in Main Ridge, Boston, adjacent to James Ely's Office, just past the Masonic Temple (you can make that out on the left to the rear of the bus).  Originally fitted with wooden slatted seats for 32, at one time owned by Westercroft Coaches of Halifax.

bux854


GORDON SHARP REMEMBERS

The first of many tales and clippings regarding Sharp's Coaches.

Many years ago, whilst suffering a bout of ill health my Grandfather Charles Afred Sharp (Eric's Dad) remarked to the then young Eric, one day I'll buy that piece of land yonder and open a garage on the site. He did and then started Sharps Coaches there too, the legend across the back of the Bedford Coaches later read Chas. A. Sharp - nobody ever did catch Charlie, he was too quick. Reputed to be the first dealer to sell Model T Fords in Lincolnshire.

press clipping Sutterton


Eric Sharp (my dad) got into photography, he snapped everything, in fact I once questioned him over his obsession with bus pics, he just remarked that they might come in useful one day, and so they have.   The first is a view of the garage forecourt at Sutterton where the former charabanc belonging to Thorougoods was based, he shot this one through the office window with a box brownie he had from his time in the RAF.

sutterton garage

The next two show CHJ one of four Bedford OBs, the first is the bus in its overnight storage position at the depot in Pipe Office Lane, Boston, behind it you can just make out UNX another more modern Bedford bus (big stuff it was a 41 seater).

at the depot in Boston

The second picture of CHJ415 shows Mrs. "Daisy" Preston, who was employed to keep an eye on the children who went to the "Backward School" - today we would refer to them as Special Needs Children - things were a bit less PC then. Eric took on the contract and was in contact with a chap called Donald Pears (not the singer) who co-ordinated the service, I have  feeling he had a daughter, who when would have been referred to as mentally handicapped (this as I mentioned is in less PC days when that was the common term for special needs kids). Here in Stratford-upon-Avon (where Gordon now lives) we have a special needs school, I think it's the Mary Correlli School and naturally a coaching service is provided to collect and return young people of this requirement, as Sharp's had done all those years ago in Lincolnshire. I don't remember where the school was, possibly in the Holbeach area of Lincolnshire, but I know this was a regular service for many years, referred to by Eric and Mary as the 'School Service'.

CHJ again

VAD617 in the third picture is when the company was expanding, it was the 'new' coach - Eric wouldn't have them referred to as buses, they were public transport, his were coaches and we were in the coach business - the Lincolnshire Roadcar and Mr. Hogg (who eventually purchased the business), were bus proprietors. Anyway the 'new' Coaches were big stuff  52, 60 and 75 seaters. VAD was preceded by UNX (the coach in the shadows on picture 1 above), but superseded by a Diesel from B-Line Transport, a Crossley Diesel which arrived in green livery, which came to grief after a trip to Wicksteed park - Bill Crozier (the driver) had it blow up on him - driven far too fast as usual knowing Bill. I rather think the full fleet ended up numbering 11: Four Bedfords OBs, One Crossley Diesel (52-Seater), Two more modern Bedfords (one 52 and a 75-Seater) and 3 Bedford Dormobiles.



expansion  -  VAD
The Bedford Dormobiles were part of the expansion, Prison Officers were transported to the North Sea Camp (formerly a borstal institution and now an open prison at the village of Freiston) and for the transportation of Pilots to Freiston Shore who would then go by small craft to pilot boats into Boston dock. Coarse Fishermen were also taken on trips in these little workhorses, which earned their purchase price over and over again. Eventually the aforesaid trade dried up and the vehicles were sold on to "gangers" who used them to transport women to work on the land picking 'tates etc. Actually, it's just hit me like a brick, that picture of the Dormobile was taken in Stratford-upon-Avon, Eric and Mary used it to visit me, the first summer I moved here!

dormobile




Charles Sharp (Gordon's grandfather)
Eric Sharp (Gordon's dad)
charles sharp eric sharp


with many thanks to John Brogden for the loan of the timetable,

and special thanks to Gordon Sharp for the photographs and family reminiscences;

and incorporating also information from articles and publications

by Roy Marshall and David Kaye found in the libraries of Lincolnshire



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