The other bus operators in the area

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

The rural eastern end of the county of Dorset was comprised largely of the area overseen by the erstwhile Wimborne and Cranborne Rural District Council.  Two of the main operators serving this part of the world are described more fully on separate web pages, Victory Tours of Handley, and Toomer of Crichel.  If we take as our area of research for the purposes of this web page an area of Dorset to the north of the A31, west of the A338 and south of the A354, we can identify several operators who played their part in earlier days, especially in the 1930s.

Victory Tours, a long established Dorset business run by several generations of the Adams family, was based for many years in the substantial village of Handley in the far north east of the county.  The origins of the business go back to 1921 when Cyril Adams acquired a Thorneycroft bus and brought it back to his home village, adopting Victory Coaches as his trading name.  Their routes were established primarily in pre-war years and reached Salisbury, Shaftesbury, Blandford, Wimborne, Bournemouth and, for two years only from 1947, Ringwood.  Most activity was concentrated on market day trips and Saturday shopper services, with the main Salisbury route gaining a daily service in 1948.  Activity grew in 1952 with the take over of the tours and excursion business of  J Robins & Son of Shaftesbury and their licences. Further growth came in April 1957 with a similar take over of the tours licences of  W Otton & Son of Cranborne (who had been bus operators too until 1952).

Ernest (Ernie) Toomer set up in business in the same year as Adams, 1921, operating from his home at Manswood.  He used his one bus to provide a service from the Crichel villages and Witchampton to both Wimborne and Blandford.  Until 1939 the Wimborne route ran on Tuesday and Friday and the Blandford route on Thursday and Saturday.  In 1939 Toomer acquired the business of Richard Stedman of Moor Crichel whose service paralleled much of his own Wimborne route, but running every weekday.  The two routes were combined in July 1939 and from that date the Toomer service to Wimborne was operated on six days a week whilst the Saturday service to Blandford was discontinued.  An additional route operated from 1949 to 1953 to provide connections from the villages to Wilts & Dorset services to Salisbury.

Little is known of the operations of Richard Stedman.  He held licences for a twice daily (except Sunday) route from Moor Crichel (White Farm) to Wimborne Square via Witchampton.  He was operating prior to the introduction of road service licencing in 1931 and sold out to Toomer in 1939.  Frustratingly few further details have been found despite some years of research.  Even the published Notices and Proceedings of the Traffic Commissioners do not help as each licence renewal was 'unmodified' and therefore required no information to be given.


Another operator interacting with Toomer was Edward Henry Lyne of Tarrant Rushton, who paralleled part of the Blandford route.  Again the operations preceded the introduction of road service licencing and a licence was held by E H Lyne for a service between Tarrant Rushton and Tarrant Monkton and Blandford.  Fred Lyne took over from his father Edward in 1935.  A timetable (handwritten) dated February 1937 shows Fred Lyne to be a man of diverse interests, "coal and coke merchant, carrier and contractor.  6 and 8 seater saloon cars and 14 seater coach for hire.  Sand and gravel supplied.   Tarrant Rushton.  Phone Blandford 241".  There were two return journeys each Thursday and Saturday, at timings not dissimilar to Toomer's.  In 1932 Lyne took over the five days a week route of Reg Vacher of Stickland, who had run from Turnworth and Stickland to Blandford since the 1920s.  However this route was really the wrong side of Blandford for Lyne and in 1933 it was transferred to another Stickland operator, Lewis Sprackling.  For a short time, from September 1933 to June 1934 only, Lyne ran a Tuesday return journey to Wimborne Market from Tarrant Rushton, travelling via Tarrant Rawston. Tarrant Keyneston, Tarrant Crawford and Shapwick.  This replaced the service of H L Palmer, the Shapwick operator, of whom little is known, but was not a success.  Things might have changed for Lyne in 1939 when Toomer withdrew his Saturday Blandford service, but Lyne's services ceased at the outbreak of war.

Lyne's timetable, current as at February 1937
Thursday   Saturday
Rushton 9.40, Monkton 10.10, Keynston 10.30, Blandford 11.00   Rushton 9.30, Monkton 9.50, Rawston, Rushton, Keynston, Blandford Market Place 10.30
Blandford 12.45, Keynston 1.00, Rushton 1.05, Monkton 1.20   Blandford 1.00, Keynston, Rushton, Rawston, Monkton 1.45
Monkton 1.30, Rawston, Rushton, Keynston, Blandford 2.00   Rushton 5.30, Rawston, Rushton, Keynston, Blandford Market Place 6.00
Blandford Sheep Market Hill 4.00, Keynston, Rushton, Monkton 4.30   Blandford 8.45, Keynston, Rawston, Rushton 9.15
Toomer's Thursday timings for comparison   Toomer's Saturday timings for comparison
Monkton 9.55, Keynston 10.25, Blandford 10.45   Keynston 10.00, Blandford 10.15
Blandford 2.30, Keynston 2.40, Monkton 3.15   Blandford 12.45, Keynston 1.00
    Monkton 5.30, Blandford 6.00
       (nb Lyne did not serve Monkton on Saturday evenings)
    Blandford 9.30, Monkton 10.05

F W Lyne's fleet
   acquired disposed of   notes
PR8683    1927 Dennis 14 seater    by 1/34    c1935 from Greyhound Weymouth; to Green Whitchurch Canonicorum
RU6979    Bean charabanc    ?    ? first registered on 30th March 1928, owner unknown
RU4263    Sunbeam motor car    ?    ? first registered on 1st December 1926 to a Mrs Jesty (licenced as PSV) 
TA5173    ?    ?    ? private car (licenced as PSV) 
RD1796    6 seater    ?    ? (licenced as PSV) 
MG3576    Chrysler 5 seater    ?    ? (licenced as PSV)

Lyne also had a Chevrolet TK1658 supplied to him new by Selbys of Parkstone, Dorset, in November 1928; it was last licenced to E H Lyne in 1933 as a lorry.

The PSV licenced cars were big enough to carry small parties.  Thanks to Michael Marshall and Roger Grimley for the vehicle information.

H L Palmer of Shapwick is listed in March 1932 as the operator of two market day services from his home village, one to Blandford via Tarrant Crawford and Langton on Thursday, the other to Wimborne via Pamphill on Saturday.  These originated in 1928 with Henry Thomas Hales and then passed to Palmer.  The two routes were discontinued in November 1932, possibly they lapsed with the advent of Lyne's service to Wimborne.


Turning back north again, the Otton business was based in the village of Cranborne.  The timetable below shows the routes of Percy Otton t/a William Otton & Son.  They were established by 1920 and are often best remembered for their 1934 Commer bus ALJ398 with its illuminated sign upfont.  William Otton had been a grocery shop manager in Lyndhurst and bought the Beehive Stores in Cranborne by 1915. The grocery stores passed to Sid Otton and William expanded his interests to include transport. Percy Otton (March 1896 - 1970) took over the business from his father in 1933. Some of their fleet enjoyed many years of service with them. There was little change over the years, apart from fares revisions, eg the last one made in April 1951.  The bus routes were withdrawn in late 1952 - perhaps when the Commer expired? - but they continued as coach operators for a few more years.  Adams (Victory Tours of Handley) and Otton worked together on schools with some sub-contracting.  The business was sold to Adams in April 1957, and one Bedford OB EFX337 was transferred.  Afterwards the firm continued as motor dealers in Cranborne, later Verwood, and then in modern times relocated to Old Sarum near Salisbury where they traded as Ottons Landrover.

Ottons fleet
  acquired disposed of notes
PR694    Buick 20 seater   new 11/1919      1929 became a goods vehicle
PR9313    Ford        ?          ? New July 1927 to Castle, Cranborne. May have been a taxi not a coach. Last licenced as a van in 1931.
TK3228    Chevrolet 14 seater
 new 25/7/1929    Withdrawn Last licenced 23/7/1939 as a goods vehicle with J.R.Thake, Creech Hill, Wimborne St.Giles.
TK6988    Bedford WTB dual purpose    new 10/1931    07/1956 20 seater, new to W.Otton & Son of Cranborne.  Last licenced on 30/9/1955. Scrapped by Charles Trent & Sons of Parkstone.
ALJ398    Commer Centaur / Waveney
   new 12/1934    06/1952 20 seater / scrapped 1952
EFX337    Bedford OB / Duple
   new 03/1950    01/1957 29 seater, to Adams, Handley

Thanks to Michael Marshall and Roger Grimley for the vehicle information.

From an entry in the Motor Transport Year Book for 1937/8 we have the following: W.Otton & Son, The Garage, Cranborne. Operating Bus Services; also Excursions & Tours. Rolling stock, 2 Sun Saloons 20 Seaters (1 Commer & 1 Bedford); 1 Chevrolet 14 Seater Bus; and 3 Private Hire Cars.


Another significant operator in this area from at least 1923 through the 1930s was Edward (Ted) Hastings Saunders trading as Sunflower Coaches, Camel Green, Alderholt.  One of his vehicles was TK 2889, a Chevrolet LQ Charabanc (chassis LQ 54563).  It was first registered on 17 June 1929 and was supplied new to by Norman Pitt & Co (the licence was refunded on 31 January 1940 to its last owner: Cyril.H.Thomas, Shelbourne Garage, London Road, Calne, Wiltshire).
Saunders fleet
acquired disposed of notes
PR6915 Reo 26 seater new 18/5/1926       ? sold to Pitt, Amesbury
TK2889 Chevrolet new 17/1/1929   by 1937 from Pitt, Amesbury, later as lorry with Thomas, Calne to c1940
MW5642 Reo 20 seater  1/1932 to H&D 1937 new to Haines, Downton, 12/9/1929
MW7965 Reo 20 seater new 6/8/1930 to H&D 1937 sold with business to H&D

Thanks to Michael Marshall and Roger Grimley for the vehicle information.

In 1934 the business relocated to Verwood and was then known as Verwood Motor Services. Saunders also held a range of tours and excursion licences with a widespread pick-up area including Verwood, Alderholt, Woodlands, Horton, Crichel, Gussage All Saints and Witchampton.  All the operations passed to Hants & Dorset Motor Services in January 1937, with two Reo 20-seaters, MW7965 and MW5642.  Various routes were operated, with a lot of emphasis on offering a range of travel opportunities to the villages in the Gussage All Saints - Wimborne St Giles - Cranborne - Alderholt axis.  There was a licence restriction on all services limiting provision to two vehicles maximum per departure.  There may have been a degree of competition between Otton and Saunders as both ran from Cranborne through Wimborne on the same two days a week (Monday and Thursday).  Both charged 2/- single and 3/- return in the 1930s.  Only Otton offered fares from the villages to Wimborne, Saunders having no intermediate fare stage between Witchampton and Bournemouth.  Perhaps this was to protect Stedman's daily service from Crichel and Witchampton to Wimborne.

Saunders services Stage licence
Gussage All Saints - Wimborne St Giles - Cranborne - Alderholt - Ibsley - Gorley - Stucton - Fordingbridge - Southampton

Fridays leave Gussage 9.00 am, leave Southampton 6.15 pm.  Journey time 2 hours.

Alderholt - Cranborne - Wimborne St Giles - Woodlands - Verwood - Ringwood

Wednesdays leave Cranborne for Ringwood 9.40 am, 1.40 pm; leave Ringwood for Cranborne 12.45 pm, 3.45 pm (55 minutes)

Saturdays leave Alderholt for Ringwood via Cranborne 5.30 pm; leave Ringwood to Cranborne and Alderholt 8.30 pm (70 minutes)

Cranborne - Crendell - Cripplestyle - Alderholt - Ringwood 

Wednesdays leave Cranborne 10.00 am; leave Ringwood 3.30 pm (75 minutes journey)

Gussage All Saints - Wimborne St Giles - Cranborne - Alderholt - Sandleheath - Fordingbridge - Salisbury

Tuesdays leave Gussage 9.10 am; leave Salisbury 3.45 pm (90 minutes journey)

Saturdays leave Gussage 9.00 am and 5.00 pm (75 minutes journey); additionally 2.00 pm Wimborne St Giles - Salisbury

Saturdays leave Salisbury for Gussage 3.30 pm and 9.15 pm; additionally 12.00 Salisbury - Wimborne St Giles

Alderholt - Verwood - Woodlands - Horton - Edmondsham - Cranborne - Alderholt - Sandleheath - Fordingbridge - Salisbury  

Tuesdays leave Alderholt 8.40 am; leave Salisbury 3.45 pm.  Journey time 2 hours

Fordingbridge - Sandleheath - Alderholt - Cranborne - Wimborne St Giles - Gussage All Saints - Witchampton - Hinton Martell -Wimborne - Bournemouth

Mondays and Thursdays leave Fordingbridge 8.50 am; leave Bournemouth 6.00 pm winter or 7.00 pm summer ( time about 2 hours)


Until September 1930 Russett Bros & H Venner of Poole, trading as Poole & District Motor Services, operated a route from Wimborne via Holt to Woodlands.  They were taken over by Hants & Dorset and the Woodlands route formed the basis of the H&D extension into the area we are examining.  Reinforcement of their operating interest in this area came with the takeover of Saunders routes in 1937.  Living at 'Rosegarth' at Ebblake near Verwood, Ted Saunders became one of their drivers with a vehicle outstationed there and remained in their employ at least during the 1940s.  The H&D October 1941 timetable shows them operating these routes:

              28 Wimborne - Cranborne via Holt, Horton, Verwood, Woodlands, Gussage All Saints, Wimborne St Giles

                    (on Tuesday, Friday, Sunday 2 return journeys Verwood-Wimborne (Sunday 1), plus 2 return journeys Woodlands-Wimborne;

                    this was also the basic pattern of service on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, with the addition of 2 of the journeys (3 on Saturday)

                    extended from Woodlands via Gussage and St Giles to Cranborne.  Thus no Tuesday market service to Wimborne from Cranborne

                    by H&D - still the preserve of Adams Victory Motor Service from Handley, until introduction of the 97 in December 1948).

              28A Ringwood - Cranborne via Verwood, Woodlands, Wimborne St Giles

                    (Wednesday only, 2 journeys)

              28B Ringwood - Cripplestyle via Alderholt, Sandleheath

                    (Wednesday only, 2 journeys; one bus covering 28A and 28B interworked)

This had developed further post war by 5th December 1948 to be:

             97 Poole - Salisbury via Wimborne, Horton, Gussage All Saints, Wimborne St Giles, Cranborne, Alderholt, Fordingbridge

                    Poole-Cranborne sector: 6 journeys weekdays, 5 Sundays.  Cranborne-Salisbury sector 8 journeys weekdays, with 2 extras on

                    Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday; 5 journeys Sundays.  5 journeys a day from Poole worked through to Salisbury and return.

             97A Wimborne - Cranborne via Hinton Martell, Horton, Woodlands, Edmondsham (some journeys to Verwood and Ringwood)

                    Providing 7 / 8 journeys each weekday between Wimborne and Cranborne via Woodlands, and connecting directly with the 97 at

                    both Wimborne and Cranborne.  Additionally there were 2 journeys a day Wimborne-Verwood-Ringwood, which also acted as

                    garage workings to and from Ringwood depot.  The double run to serve Hinton Martell was omitted by some journeys and that village

                    was only served four times a day.  Sunday service was two return journeys Ringwood-Verwood-Wimborne and one evening return

                    journey Wimborne-Woodlands-Cranborne (all Sunday runs went via Hinton Martell).  The 97 and 97A represented a very significant

                    post war increase in travel opportunities in the area, with some villages that had only perhaps having had twice a week market and

                   shoppers buses now gaining six or seven buses a day.

             98 Ringwood - Gussage All Saints via Verwood, Woodlands, Cranborne, Wimborne St Giles

                    (Wednesday only, 2 journeys; circular, some journeys direct from Gussage to Woodlands. Development of 28A to include Gussage)

             99 Ringwood - Cripplestyle via Alderholt, Sandleheath

                    (Wednesday only, 2 journeys; direct replacement for 28B, same route, same times.  One bus covering 98 and 99 interworked)

The 98 would appear to cover some of the same ground as Adams Wednesday service from Handley to Ringwood (1947 - 1949).  Adams had been recognised as having "rights" in Gussage All Saints as Hants & Dorset (shown in their timetable dated 12th June 1949) gave protection to Adams on Tuesday only at 9.46 am at Gussage towards Wimborne with route 97 "diverting via Amen Corner and not taking up passengers there".  Adams came through Gussage on his morning run to Wimborne.  It may have been the introduction of the through running 97 to Salisbury from 5th December 1948, passing Crichel Golf Turning between the Horton Inn and Gussage All Saints, that gave Toomer the idea of starting his Salisbury connecting service from nearby Crichel and Witchampton.

On the Tarrant and Shapwick roads to the west of Wimborne, by October 1947 Hants & Dorset were operating:

            100   Wimborne - Blandford via Badbury Rings, Tarrant Keynston, Tarrant Rushton, Tarrant Rawston

                    (Monday to Friday 5 journeys, Saturday 6  journeys, Sunday 4 journeys)

            100A Wimborne - Shapwick via Badbury Rings

                    (Tuesday and Thursday only, 2 journeys; these two routes grew into service 25 by June 1950, Wimborne - Blandford,

                     including workspeoples journeys to and from Tarrant Rushton Airfield).


Kelly's directories for the area list other carriers runs, most of which did not become operated as licenced motor services in 1931.  They show the strong influence that the Tuesday market in Wimborne then had on the area.  The entry for Cranborne from 1927 shows Sidney Wareham going to Wimborne on Tuesday; William Otton to Salisbury on Tuesday; and both E H Saunders and James Colborne going to Salisbury on both Tuesday and Saturday.  The 1927 entry for Wimborne St Giles shows only E H Saunders to Salisbury on Tuesday, and the 1939 entry shows only Otton to Salisbury on Tuesday and to Bournemouth on Monday and Thursday.  For Gussage St Michael the listings for 1927 and 1931 show Albert Snook going to Wimborne on Tuesday and Blandford on Thursday and Saturday.  Gussage All Saints for 1927 lists George J Gubbins as serving Wimborne on Tuesday, whilst the entries in Kelly's for 1935 and 1939 show Frank Rowe as the operator of this service (although it is known he had ceased long before!).  Woodlands for 1927 has Joseph Tubbs going to Wimborne on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday; for 1939 the entry shows Sidney Tubbs to Wimborne on Tuesday.  Kellys for 1931 and 1935 lists Enos Walter Monckton as the Shapwick carrier, to Wimborne on Tuesday.