Two Lincolnshire operators long gone

letterhead goslings

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

For current travel information and timetables visit the council website LincsBusInfo


The pleasant Fen village of Mareham-le-Fen in Lincolnshire lies strung out along the A155 road between Spilsby and Coningsby. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book and has had successes in the Best Kept Village competition winning seven times in total between 1969 and 1983. Gosling was the local garage proprietor, trading as T H Gosling & Son, with his premises on the main road at the eastern end of the village. Founded in 1922 the firm also ran a modest number of bus services to the nearby market towns of Horncastle, Boston and Spilsby, departing from the Royal Oak in Mareham. The timetables were conceived to meet the needs of shoppers and market-goers, but Gosling did not have the routes to themselves as Road Car service 15 also ran seven days a week from Horncastle through Mareham-le-Fen and Revesby to Boston.

Amongst the early vehicles was one supplied new to them, FW2378, a 1931 Bedford WLG with Rainforth B20F body. Eric Bawden notes that Gosling can lay claim to possibly being the very first operator of a Bedford PSV as they took delivery of Bedford WLG (goods chassis) FW 2378 with Rainforth body in 1931 before the WLB (bus) chassis actually went into production. It stayed in their fleet until about 1947 when it left the road and ended up in a ditch with a twisted chassis frame amongst other damage. But it was recovered and put into store where it remained until the 1970s when it was purchased by the late Nick Lord who carried out a ground up restoration, including stripping it back to a bare chassis and having the frames straightened. It was then rallied in the original Gosling livery by Nick until his untimely passing in his mid forties. It is currently preserved as an exhibit at the Lincolnshire Aviation Centre, East Kirkby - a village that the bus would once have served. Whilst in preservation it was was photographed at Brighton in 2004.

A later vehicle was Leyland Tiger PS1 half cab FBE865. Another known vehicle in the fleet in 1955 was Leyland CPO1 Comet GBE81, with Rainforth C32F body; delivered in 1949 and sold in March 1960. Coincidentally the only other Comet built with a Rainforth body was just down the road with Fenwick of Old Bolingbroke. Gosling had had three earlier vehicles with Rainforth bodies - a Chevrolet in 1930, a Dodge in 1935 and a Leyland PS1/1 in 1948. A post-war picture of unknown date below, possibly mid-1950s, from the excellent village website shows six of their coaches and buses on the garage forecourt (the Comet is fourth from the left).

The founder of the business, Thomas Henry Gosling, died in 1947 at the age of 77 years, and his son George Henry Gosling (who was active in the bus business started in the 1920s) in November 1964. The Gosling garage and car dealership business continued in Mareham-le-Fen after the sale of the buses and coaches into the start of the  21st century - a 2006 view of the garage is here - but the site now appears abandoned. The bus routes and two Leyland PS1/1 and a Bedford OWB of the then fleet of six vehicles (three buses and three coaches) passed to H H Milson Ltd of nearby Coningsby in March 1960. 

The Gosling fleet lined up in the 1950s outside the second garage (on the south side of the road through Mareham-le-Fen)
six of Goslings vehicles on the garage forecourt

Gosling's fleet in March 1960 when their bus and coach activities ended

  Bedford Duple OWB 30 seater bus

  sold to Gillards of Normanton
  Leyland PS1 Strachan 33 seater bus

  sold to Milson of Coningsby

  Leyland PS1 Rainforth 35 seater coach

  sold to Milson of Coningsby

  Leyland CP Rainforth 28 seater coach

  sold to Tindall

  Bedford SB Duple Vega 33 seater coach

  sold to Evans of Penrhycoch

  Bedford OWB Duple 30 seater bus

  sold to Milson of Coningsby
with acknowledgement to the information in 'PSV Operators of East Lindsey' by P R White and A Tye

July 1933 timetable of Gosling's Bus Services
(later Gosling's timetables can be found here)
1933 timetable Gosling Mareham-le-Fen

A recently discovered Gosling timetable dated February 1935 (poor quality does not permit reproduction here) shows a modest expansion of routes compared to the 1933 timetable above. On the Monday route to Spilsby one journey is extended back from Mareham to run to and from Tumby Woodside.  One of the Wednesday market journeys to Boston goes via Tumby Woodside instead of Revesby. The road via Revesby has six Wednesday journeys and seven on Saturday to Boston. Horncastle has five buses on a Saturday, three of which run through to and from Boston. A new daily summertime route links Tattershall, Mareham and Spilsby to Skegness twice a day from May to September. On Wednesday and Saturday there are four journeys on this route and one journey is extended from Skegness to Mablethorpe. A Monday evening picture bus runs from Mareham to Woodhall Spa - this may have been short-lived as it is marked as cancelled in the timetable.

The timetable from September 1943 showed little change over the 1933 timetable illustrated above except for the second route to Boston via Tumby Woodside on Wednesday; and a reduction in the number of journeys to Boston on the original route from Mareham via Revesby (from six to five on Wednesday and from seven to five on Saturday). It is known that the Skegness service was suspended during the war with anticipated reintroduction in 1946.

A later timetable from June 1959 again shows only modest change (in fact surprisingly little change over the 26 years since the 1933 timetable illustrated above). The Wednesday service to Boston via Revesby reduced from five to four journeys but a Wednesday service introduced on the alternate route via Tumby Woodside.  On Saturday the Revesby route restored to 1933 levels, increased from five to seven journeys again. The Monday route to Spilsby has gone; but this does appear to have been reinstated after the Milson takeover.

Leyland PS1/1 FBE865 outside the garages at Mareham - one of the two vehicles sold to Milson with the bus routes in 1960. The north side garage is pictured but the bus is standing on the forecourt of the south side garage (the latter still stands today but derelict). (LVVS picture)
An undated (but pre-1960) timetable for Milson's routes.
Other Milson's timetables can be found here.

Leyland PS1/1 FBE865 outside the garage at Mareham - one of two vehicles later sold to Milson
pre-1960 Milson timetable
The abandoned site of the original garage on the north side of the road through Mareham-le-Fen. This was opposite the second garage which is seen in the fleet picture above. Housing was built on this site but the postbox still survives. (LVVS picture)
the abandoned garage site at Mareham-le-Fen (LVVS picture)


This business was founded in Coningsby in 1923 by 38 year old Harry H Milson. Starting with one solid tyred Daimler DU4422 vehicle which was replaced in 1931 by a new 14 seat Chevrolet DO9476. By 1939 the fleet numbered four vehicles.  The depot was in Old Boston Road. A network of mainly market day services was established from Coningsby over the years to:

Boston, (Wednesdays and Saturday)
Lincoln (Friday only; withdrawn in 1957 during the Suez fuel rationing crisis)
Woodhall Spa (Monday to Saturday, pre-war; Wednesday and Saturday post-war;; Saturday only by 1960; by 1965 Saturday evening to the Kinema)
Sleaford (Monday only)
Horncastle (Monday, Saturday and school runs; Monday service discontinued post-war)

RAF Coningsby opened in November 1940 and this brought increased numbers of passengers for the Milson business, especially as Boston was a popular evening destination for the airmen. From the nearby RAF base weekend express leave services were started for the airmen from Coningsby which were to run until 1965. Similar leave services were operated from the airfield at East Kirkby also until 1958. The business became incorporated as a limited company H H  Milson Ltd during the war.

The fleet grew substantially in later years, with Bedfords particularly favoured. Three more vehicles came from the takeover of the bus and coach part of the Gosling business in March 1960, including routes from Tattershall to Skegness and Tattershall to Mablethorpe. Gosling's Mareham-le-Fen - Horncastle and Mareham-le-Fen - Boston services were combined to form a through route from Horncastle to Boston, running at least four times a day after Lincolnshire Road Car withdrew their parallel route in the autumn of 1960.  Four or five extra timings were run on Boston market days Wednesday and Saturday. Road Car had acquired their route from Friskney of Horncastle in 1934.

School runs provided work for five coaches in the mid-1960s, serving South Kyme, Bardney, Boston, Spilsby, Walcot and Woodhall Spa. Workers journeys were provided for Tattershall Thorpe Manufacturing. Milson's operated their services using a fleet of smartly turned out maroon, red and cream liveried buses and coaches. In 1966 the all Bedford fleet,, overseen by fleet engineer G W Milson (George William Milson 1917 - 2010) and traffic manager Eric J Milson (botn 1919), numbered fourteen vehicles, six of which were OBs and the other eight SBs.  In time, after running for fifty six years, the business, the nine vehicles and the bus routes were sold in 1979 to Brian Hogg of Hogg's Luxury Coaches of Benington near Boston (founded in 1959 and who had earlier purchased the Sharp of Boston business).

Hogg's were in turn to be purchased by Brylaine Travel of Boston in 1990 who continued to operate through Mareham-le-Fen on their Horncastle - Boston service, operated from their main depot at Wyberton near Boston and an out-station depot (ex-Milson) at Coningsby.

Routes operated by Milson of Coningsby in 1977
Coningsby - Bunker Hill - Bakers Bridge - Boston


Coningsby - Bunker Hill - Antons Gowt - Boston

Coningsby - Tattershall - Haltham - Horncastle


Coningsby - Danbys Bridge - Langrick - Boston

Wednesday and Saturday

diverted via Haven Bank on Wednesday
Coningsby - North Kyme - South Kyme - Sleaford


Tattershall - Mareham-le-Fen - Spilsby - Mablethorpe

Summer Tuesday

Tattershall - Mareham-le-Fen - Spilsby


part ex-Gosling
Tattershall - Mareham-le-Fen - Spilsby - Skegness

Daily in summer (except Friday)

started from Woodhall Spa Tue/Wed/Sat/Sun
Horncastle - Mareham-le-Fen - Revesby - Boston

Weekdays (4 to 9 journeys)

ex-Gosling with enhanced days of operation
Mareham-le-Fen - Tumby Woodside - Boston

Wednesday and Saturday

One of Milsons well loved red and cream OBs. This was their final one,
LTB453 which ran for them till 1970, then withdrawn after 17 years service.
(A 29 seater with Duple Vista body, new in 1949 to Robinson of Great Harwood)

Milson OB

A selection of Goslings tickets (Bell Punch)
Tickets (parcel and passenger) Milson of Coningsby

sample tickets Gosling Parcel ticket Milson of Coningsby
Insert Setright ticket of Milson

Incorporating information from the internet and publications in the libraries
of Lincolnshire - many thanks to the Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society
for use of their pictures and the early tinetable - whilst the letter heading
was found on the
Old Classic Car website. A list of the vehicles operated
by Gosling's can be found in the Winter 2016 issue of 'The ConRod', the
magazine of the LVVS. Any further information always welcomed!

vehicle plate from T H Gosling