SHARP OF BOSTON
Operating from Boston to Freiston Shore
|Please note this is a
site of historical record and does not contain current service
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
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
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
may be seen from the timetable there were three route variations (a)
Fishtoft and Hawthorn Tree (b) via Freiston Village and Hawthorn Tree
Fishtoft, Halfway House and Hawthorn Tree. Lincolnshire Road Car
63 also ran between Boston and Freiston Village, but on Wednesdays and
only. On those two days most of Sharp's runs went via Fishtoft
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.
|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.|
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.
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.
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).
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'.
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.
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!
Sharp (Gordon's grandfather)
Sharp (Gordon's dad)
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