Book will transport readers back in time

Back cover of The Hastings Omnibus 1832-1914 - illustrated by  David Molineux, SUS-150810-160909001
Back cover of The Hastings Omnibus 1832-1914 - illustrated by David Molineux, SUS-150810-160909001

Local author David Padgham has had his latest book ‘The Hastings Omnibus 1832-1914’ published by Hastings Local History Group.

Written as a companion volume to David Padgham’s ‘Hastings Tramways Centenary 1905-2005’, the book details how Hastings had the first successful fleet of double-deck motor buses in England. Ten Milnes-Daimlers were purchased by Hastings and St Leonards Omnibus Company; they first entered service on March 12, 1903 but their success was ruined by the arrival of trams around two years later.

A spokesperson for Hastings Local History Group says the book, with 140 illustrations, offers a fascinating insight into the horse-bus and pioneer motor-bus services operating in the town before the tramway era, and the personalities behind them, adding: “The book records the human and social aspects of working for and managing public passenger road transport, including as many street scenes as are available for the interest of local residents.

“Great care has been taken to quote accurately and in detail from the local and trade press, enhanced by interviews long ago with former employees and their relatives, who provided many unpublished photographs - including the man who drove the first bus, Benjamin Burbidge (1872-1971).”

The book costs £12 and is available at the History House, 21 Courthouse Street, Hastings. For more information call 01424 424744.